Iberian Road Trip – Segovia and Valencia

We made some ground through Spain on our last few days.  We traveled to Segovia, yet another UNESCO World Heritage site, which has a towering Roman aqueduct.  After a quick stop in Madrid to drop off the rental car, we took the train to our last stop, Valencia, home to Santiago Calatrava’s City of Art and Sciences complex.  Oh, and there was some paella in the mix, some really good paella.

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Port of Genoa

One of the prettiest fish I have ever seen

Almost two years ago, Bobby and I traveled to Genoa to attend the national soccer match between Italy and the USA.  It was a landmark game because it was the first time the Americans ever beat the Italians.  Last week, we returned to the city, famous for its focaccia bread, pesto, and enormous port, to take in several seaside attractions: the Galata Maritime Museum, Genoa’s Aquarium, and a galleon ship called “Neptune”.  Of course, we made a pit stop on the way to the port to eat some “focaccia Genovese;” I had the standard butter and salted version (you can’t ruin a classic) and Bobby chose the pesto.  Neither disappointed!… [Read More]

Hamburg’s Miniatur Wunderland

Double-decker bridge

After seeing Minimundus last year in Klagenfurt, Austria, I officially knew my husband was a little kid in a big(ger) kid’s body.  He loved seeing the miniature models of popular tourist landmarks around the globe and for the entire week that followed, he went around muttering “Minimundus” to anyone that would listen.  So, needless to say, I wasn’t surprised that he was incredibly enthusiastic to hear that Hamburg, Germany had a miniature train museum.  I do have to give him a little credit though.  This isn’t some ordinary train museum.  There are over 13,000 meters (42,650 ft or over 8 miles) of track in the largest miniature train museum in the world and the lines travel through cities in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Scandinavia and the US.  The museum also has future “construction sites” for Italy and France.

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Lyon and the Champagne Region

Cool (but touristy) street full of restaurants and bars

Our two week tour of France, Belgium, The Netherlands, and western Germany began in Lyon, France.  First off, we want to give a big “thank you” to Paul Rogers (OSC ’11) for letting us stay at his wonderful apartment in Lyon, while he is off interning in Paris for the semester!  It was a wonderful place to see the city from.  Lyon is France’s third largest city and due to its cultural and architectural landmarks, it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The city is also known as a culinary capital, boasting some of the best Michelin-starred chefs in the world.  Additionally, there is a great film museum (which we got to see!) in Lyon because the two men, Auguste and Louis Lumière, who created the “cinematographe,” or motion picture camera, spent most of their life in the city.

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Around the World in One Day: Minimundus

Bobby's excited!

On our last day of our Eastern Europe trip (disclaimer: we want to head further east than this in the future!), we stopped by Graz and Klagenfurt, Austria.  Austria is probably our favorite country in Europe, outside of Italy of course, because of its breathtaking beauty and ‘relatively’ affordable lodging and food.   The drive from Slovenia to Austria was amazing.  We got up early in the morning and headed north, where the foliage became more and more colorful.  Did I mention that autumn is my favorite season?  Graz, the second-largest city in Austria, is known as a large university town.  It has 6 universities and over 44,000 students.  I did laugh at this though, because I am an alumnus from a university that has 50,000+ on one campus! :)  The city itself is a UNESCO World Heritage site for its well-preserved Old Town and in 2003, it was Europe’s City of Culture.  When a city gets selected to be the City of Culture, it often builds new structures to welcome tourists.  It’s kind of like getting chosen for the Olympics in this respect, just on a much smaller scale.  You can see this influence with two very interesting and very modern structures: the Kunsthaus Graz (a modern art museum) and Murinsel (a floating platform/amphitheater in the middle of the river).

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