Monday, June 13, 2016

We're Back!

Well it has been awhile since I have to come to write in this little space of mine, but it is for good reason. Richard and I spent 13 whole days traveling around Europe and having the time of our lives. We have been back for a week now, but coming back from a long vacation is extremely overwhelming. Bills to pay, work to be done, cleaning to do, unpacking to organize, laundry to be folded, and a sweet puppy to cuddle. Also, jet lag is one of the worst things to overcome and it took a few days to feel normal again. Plus, I had a crazy work week to come back to so the week off was definitely needed.
But back to our vacation. This trip was everything I wanted it to be and more. Since we were without internet for the majority of the time, we literally had to leave everything behind in the states. We had no way to even attempt to focus on anything else but our vacation. The trip was amazing and yet extremely exhausting. I wore my fitbit every day and the number of steps we took was so crazy. Other than the day we were at sea on the cruise, I destroyed my goal of 8 thousand steps, with my lowest day of steps being about 10 thousand and the highest being 25 thousand. This equals 5-10 miles of walking each day. No wonder I was so tired by the end of the trip!

So while I slowly organize all of the pictures we took on this trip (more than 4 thousand!), I figured I could write up a few overall thoughts on our trip to Europe.

-The language barrier was not as hard as I thought it would be. Most people understood enough English for us to get by and we could understand enough of their language as well. Although, Spanish was a lot easier for us than either French or Italian. Makes me want to learn Spanish fluently.
-We knew that food would be hard for us and I think that was the hardest part for me. It was hard to find food that I would like when we had days that we were exploring on our own. It was made even harder by the fact that we did not have internet(it sounds so dumb but its true). This was one of the main reasons we decided to do a cruise in the first place because I knew it was something I could fall back on if the food on land was not the best. But, by the end of the trip I just made the best of it and found what I could eat and made it work. Richard on the other hand loved everything we ate and had no issues with food at all. Go figure.

-Bathrooms. Finding a bathroom was always a challenge. Most of the restaurants had bathrooms, but you had to buy something to be able to use them and would get a bathroom code on your receipt. And once you found a bathroom there was almost always something wrong with them. Either it was dirty, or the toilet seat was broken (or missing!) or there was no toilet paper or no soap or the sink did not work. I don't think I found a single bathroom the whole time we were there that had all the pieces working properly. And most of the time there were crazy lines for bathrooms too.
-Coffee. There is nothing quite like European coffee. While I am not a big coffee drinker, Richard drinks as much as he can get. The quality of coffee in Europe is so much better than in the states. Everywhere we went we were on the lookout for coffee shops so Richard could get an espresso.
-While the cruise was nice and we got to see a lot in the ports we visited, I don't think we will ever do a cruise again. Since you only get a few hours in each port and most of the sights are far away, the best way for us to make the most of our time was to schedule excursions/tours. Some of them were not so bad, but by the end of the trip we were tired of tours. Our favorite days were the days where we explored on our own or followed our guidebooks (seriously they were the best, more on that later). We are still glad we did the excursions because there was no way we would have been able to see as much as we did had we not scheduled the excursions. It is just the way cruises work which means we probably will not do a cruise in Europe again. Also, the food on the cruise was only ok and was not anything fabulous or worth getting excited over.

-For those who don't know this about me, my love language is quality time. The more time I spend with someone the closer I feel to them. Richard and I had so much uninterrupted quality time that it was good for the soul. I loved being able to explore with him and I would not have it any other way.
-Sleep. With the jet lag at the beginning of the trip and the cruise in the middle, sleep was hard to find. I would have troubles falling asleep and then we would hit rough waters that would rock the cruise ship and it would wake me up. Even with all the walking and moving we were doing, I still had troubles getting a good nights sleep.

-Photography. Richard was in charge of taking pictures with his iPhone while I used my big DSLR camera. So all of the pictures that we posted online so far (or in this post) were pictures Richard took with his phone. He is pretty proud of that fact. It was so fun teaching Richard how to take better pictures and him actually getting excited by it. We would be taking pictures of something and he would make comments about how good the light was or how it would make a great instagram post or get excited about how great a picture would turn out. It made my heart so happy.
I have a lot more to say about our trip, but I will save that for the other posts that I will start later this week. Warning: I have a lot of pictures and posts planned so if it gets old I am sorry. But, I don't want to forget any of it so I have a lot of details to share. Coming soon!



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