Thursday, August 27, 2009

We're going to Europe!







Jon and I are so excited to go on
vacation and we leave in about 6 weeks. Our last big trip was in
February 2008 to Nicaragua and we were starting to get a bit stir crazy
around here. We had originally planned to go next spring, but we pulled
the trip forward. This was definitely the fastest we've ever planned a vacation.

We've been doing lots of reading and researching and have planned a
tentative itinerary that includes stops in Brussels, Amsterdam, Paris,
Berlin and southern Germany. We're really fortunate to have two great
friends to visit while we're in Europe: Jodi in Brussels and Catherine
in southern Germany.

We're definitely open to suggestions of must-see things to do, eat
or visit. It's our first time to Europe and we'll take all of the
travel advice we can get. If you have anything to recommend, I would
love to hear about it!



21 comments:

  1. Wow, that's going to be a lot of places to go -- hope you're going for a good long time! Okay, I've been to Brussels, Amsterdam, and Berlin (not Paris), so here are a few suggestions. EVERYONE should visit the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam. The line will look long, but it moves at a steady pace. And is absolutely worth it. I also really enjoyed the Van Gogh museum. The audio tour was really great. I didn't have much time there, but those were definite highlights for me. Try to see the Theater Tuschinski. I hear it's quite an architectural gem, but I didn't get inside when I was there. Oh! There's this great Italian restaurant just by one of the tram stops...I'll see if I can't dig that up (not finding it right now). Let's see, now, Brussels. If you don't already have accommodations there, I would highly recommend the B&B we stayed at -- Chez Dominique. E-mail me about it if you're interested and I can give you the details. VERY affordable (around 80 Euros a night), great location (block or two from Gare Centrale and the Grand Place), and really wonderful people. If you like beer, try the Cantillon Brewery, Rue Gheude 56 Straat. It's a lambic brewery, which you won't find just anywhere. Bit off the beaten track, but fun. Crazy flea market at Place De Jeu de Balle that's fun, and we found a great little place to eat (fantastic sandwiches, salads, etc.) just off the square that was the first reasonably priced food we found in Brussels. Can not remember the name but you walked up a few steps and across the wooden patio/deck out front to get inside. Fresh waffles off the street (better yet, while waiting for a train at the train station) are a must. My mouth is watering now just thinking about it. And our hosts at the above-mentioned B&B recommended a restaurant to us that was fabulous and fairly reasonably priced (considering how much we paid for food in Brussels in general). Viva M'Boma, Rue de Flandre 17 Vlaamsesteenweg, near St. Catherine's church (very close to a metro station). Hard to find because it's in the back of what looks like a little butcher shop or something. Reservations recommended because this is a TINY little place. Chez Patrick at Rue Des Chapeliers 6 is also quite good. If you are looking for a quick sandwich without having to take the time to be waited on, the food at the Royal Museum of Arts cafe is pretty good (even the pre-made sandwiches), and you can eat there without paying to go into the museum if that's not on your agenda. We also enjoyed the Coudenburg Museum -- it's underneath the city. (Wow, I do go on, don't I?) I didn't have a lot of sight-seeing time when I was in Berlin, but I can never get enough of the Gemaldegalerie. Who can get enough of Breugel's "The Flemish Proverbs" (http://www.abcgallery.com/B/bruegel/bruegel8.html)? ;) There are just so many museums in Berlin that I was in about 15 years ago. The new Jewish Museum (http://www.juedisches-museum-berlin.de) is also very good, though it's a bit out of the way of other typical tourist stuff as well. Okay, I'll let someone else comment now!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Neuschwanstein in Bavaria is wonderful!

    ReplyDelete
  3. wow how exciting!
    i've never been to europe either, so i'll just have to live vicariously through you!

    ReplyDelete
  4. j.e.a.l.o.u.s.
    please take lots of pictures.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I am so excited (and jealous) for you! Can't wait to see your pictures when you get back - have a wonderful time and eats lots of yummy food for all of us :-)

    ReplyDelete
  6. So. So. Jealous!!!!! Oh you lucky girl! Take TONS of pics. I've never been to Europe, but I'll ask my girlfriend about Paris. She took her mum and daughters there and to Germany, Switzerland, Italy and other places I can't remember. They rented a car - she said it required ALL her concentration, lol.
    Take a camcorder too. *G*
    Europe - *swoon*

    ReplyDelete
  7. oh what fun! You'll have a BLAST! I love Paris, it's one of my favourite cities. You must go to Rose Bakery whilst you're there (google it for the address), and whilst you're so close, you really should take the eurostar train from Paris to London - it's not every day you can go under the sea from one country to another, is it? (and if you need any tips on London if you go, let me know!)
    Have a great time!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Exciting. I've been to Paris, and my suggestion would be to see the sights - the Eiffel, Sacre Coueur, Notre Dame, etc. - but make sure to leave some down time just to walk around, enjoy the city and gardens and eat. It's a wonderful city. Have a good time.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Have fun! I have no insight for you but to just enjoy :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Oh my gosh! That is so exciting!! I wish I could give you ideas but I have never been. So I am just going to wish you a good luck and have fun!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I am really good at lugging suitcases around--hint, hint!
    You will have a great time, I'm sure. Take lots of pictures!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Oh, what a great trip. I was in Europe 2 summers ago - we were in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany and had a great time. We stayed in Haarlem and took the train into Amsterdam which worked out well for us - only about 15 minutes by train. Haarlem is a wonderful little city. And you must go to Bruges while in Belgium! We stayed at the best small hotel that looked over a canal. Here is a link to our pictures, let me know if you need any suggestions:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/20624555@N00/collections/72157601138978792/

    ReplyDelete
  13. I am so totally jealous! I wish I could offer you some advice and great tips on places to go and see and eat and do, but I myself have never been there. So please, live it up! I hope you guys have the best time ever and please take lots of pictures.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I'm so looking forward to seeing you guys and hearing about your adventures!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Here too.. JEALOUS!!! Woh that's a great trip! And here in Europe.. We welcome you!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Ooh I'm simultaneously excited for you and totally jealous! Hehehe!!

    ReplyDelete
  17. "Cinderella" castle - Neuschwanstein. You. Must. See.

    ReplyDelete
  18. you are going to have such an amazing time! i wish i could come too! my best advice? travel by train as much as you can... it's pretty cheap, trains are nice, and it's a GREAT way to explore europe!

    ReplyDelete
  19. We just moved from Bavaria. In Belgium, go to Brugges - Madame Dumon's chocolates (sp?) Soooo good. If you are an antique person, Tongeren has a great antique market every Sunday. Get the Paris pass, even if you don't go to that many places. If you have time Mont St. Michel is incredible, but a bit away. Love, love, loved Paris. I guess you have a friend in Brussels and Southern Germany. I wish I was going, too. German spaetzle, crepes in Paris, chocolate in Belgium...yum.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for visiting! Be sure to leave your email address if you would like a response from me.