Category Archives: Travel

Disneyland Trip: Day 2

Our second day on our trip to Disneyland was spent at the park itself. I won’t go on and on and make this some post about what to do, where to go, what to see because there are so many better ones out there, but I’ll share what we did and what worked for us.

First of all, we made sure to take advantage of the Magic Morning early park entry. We didn’t get there right at 8, but pretty close to it. There was a line already queuing but it wasn’t bad at all. I think we waited 10 minutes at most. Also, we were bad and passed Finn off as under 3, but saved a lot of money by doing so. Something tells me that happens a lot. Next time, we won’t get away with that!

One sad thing during our visit was that the Peter Pan ride was closed. Oh and the only other things we missed at Disneyland were: the Astro Orbiter, Casey Jr. Train, the Disneyland Train, Tom Sawyer’s Island, and Mark Twains Riverboats. I’d say we did pretty well.

I will advise to eat breakfast before you get to the park. At least if you have kids. I don’t know if you are single, coupled, with friends and you have lots of time to do whatever… but we had minimal time to dilly-dally. We had to get in and queue up to avoid as many lines as we could with the little ones so skipping breakfast in the park was vital. Fantasy Land gets packed fast so we tried to do all the rides we could there during the Magic Morning hour. We got right in to Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, but by the time we got out Dumbo was INSANE. We waited like 10 minutes for that which was an eternity for a kid who had never waited that long for anything in his life. Trust me, he learned quick that waiting was the name of the game. It only got longer. Alice in Wonderland was about 25 minutes. We got right in to Snow White and Pinocchio. Tea Cups was maybe 5 minutes. The Storyland one was super crazy and hot baking out in the sun. Anyways, you get the idea. No breakfast in the park could be had (although those Mickey waffles look amazing)! We packed a lot a lot of snacks for the kids and we ate from the carts as we walked. It worked out marvelously. We ate one sit-down meal each day we were in the park in order to keep expenses down but ate lots and lots of churros. My only regret was that I didn’t eat more Mickey pretzels. :( I wasn’t really happy with lunch. We ate between Adventure Land (is that what it’s called?) and Frontier Land at this place with mediocre food. I can’t even remember what I ate, all I know is it cost almost $50 for all 3 of our meals. Then the next spot over after we left we all saw they had chicken fingers and french fries and greasy delicious cheaper food galore. So, my tip would be, don’t eat at the first restaurant you find!!!

Okay, on to the picture show!

This is just to show that our days using the pack ‘n play are over. Finn ended up in our bed every night. On my side of course. You see that tiny spot on the left? That’s where I slept. The Count had the whole rest of the bed.

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This pic on the left cracks me up – it is so fun. You can’t tell him what to do or make him pose for pics. “I do what I want!” And then on the right is 60 seconds later, happy as a clam about to walk down Main Street.Disney_07

I happen to think The Count looks like a super model here.Disney_08

Finn was so nervous the first few rides. He didn’t like them and kept asking to go home. We were kind of nervous ourselves about how the next 3 days were going to go if he didn’t like going on rides, but he warmed up!Disney_09

My favorite pics of the trip ended up being the selfies we took. Here we are on Dumbo.Disney_10

I got so sick on the Tea Cups. That, Indiana Jones, and the Screamin’ rollercoaster at California Adventure were the worst for me. But I still went on Tea Cups twice. Just not with the Count — he got too into it, as you can see!Disney_11 Disney_12

Finn enjoyed the Jungle Cruise and he still talks about it. I took him on it alone while the guys went on Indiana Jones. The line for this ride was quite deceiving. It didn’t look that bad but then it kept going around and around and it ended up being around 45 minutes! It was worth it. Cheesy but good for the kids.Disney_13

After the guys did Indiana Jones, we switched with the kiddos and the girls went on the ride while the guys took the kids to Tarzan’s Treehouse. Finn probably could have stayed there all day.Disney_14 Disney_15

Charlotte and Finn zonked out (yaaaaassssss), so Tiffany and I chilled out in some shade while everybody else (including Brayden who was still going strong!) went on the Buzz Light Year ride in Tomorrow Land.Disney_16

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On the Monorail. Finn — always one hand on each of us. Another great selfie of the 3 of us. :)Disney_18

Finn contemplating the future of tomorrow.Disney_19

And I can’t believe we didn’t get better pictures of Finn’s FAVORITE RIDE on this day. We went on It’s a Small World 3x total during this trip. He just loved it.Disney_23 Disney_20 Disney_21

A final ride on the Tea Cups with Brayden and Julie while waiting to meet up with the dads who snapped this pic of us.Disney_22

There was SO much more to day 1, but this was really the highlights. Our friends T&T and their kids left early this day and then us and J&J had dinner in Tomorrowland watching a Beatles tribute band which was fun and the kids really liked. We left about 8 this night and pretty much crashed, but not before face timing with Grandmas before bed and watching the fireworks from our bed!

Disneyland Trip: Day 1

I need to post about something that makes me sickeningly happy. Right now, that’s looking back on our trip to Disneyland earlier this summer. I still have many other things to back-post about but for now, I’m going to focus on getting our trip to Disneyland up as quickly as possible.

We were gone a total of 6 days. It was for the most part supposed to be a very laid back (travel-wise) trip with 2 days dedicated solely to travel. That part went perfectly according to plan and I will definitely plan for that dedicated travel time in the future.

We left about 10 or 10:30 once all was said and done on a Sunday morning with our caravan of vehicles (3 in total) and made our way to California. I think we arrived somewhere between 3 and 4 but I can’t remember for sure. The Count and I, as well as our good friends J+J stayed at one hotel together across the street from Disneyland (excellent decision) and our other friends T+T stayed at a more ritzier hotel a mile or so away from the park. I’m happy with where we stayed because we never missed the early entrance to the park and were close enough to walk (and no – not even like this-is-pushing-it-kind-of-walking-distance) so that if needed the kids could nap at the hotel (that never happened).

After we checked in to our hotel which I can’t remember the name of right now because my mind is like a big bowl of mashed potatoes, we walked to Downtown Disney. We ate at this little taco/burrito place, kind of like a Chipotle but I can barely remember anything about it other than that there was hardly any seating because if I can tell you one thing about Downtown Disney, it is effing packed to the brim. It’s like an attraction all on its own, except there’s nothing there except really expensive restaurants. So, it’s kind of baffling really. But the kids found it exciting and it was a good transition to what was to come the next day!

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Chico, California

Finally getting around to posting about our trip to Chico last April for my cousin Tia’s wedding reception. Her and her husband, August, eloped but had a big celebration in town. This was a big trip for us because it was going to be the longest car ride that Finn had ever been on and also the longest that The Count had been apart from Finn, as he wasn’t making the drive with us due to school – he flew out for 2 nights at the end.

Overall the drive went good. For a barely 2 year old to sit in a car for 15 or so hours, it went phenomenal. It started with him vomiting in the car no less than 20 minutes after we left our driveway. And then he continued to several more times. He wasn’t sick, so the only thing we could attest to was that it was the first time he drove with his carseat facing forward and he might have been car sick. We kept him busy with toys, crayons, movies, etc. And we stopped fairly often for diaper changes, vomit clean-up sessions, and for stretching! He was a TROOPER.

The party was amazing. Pinterest Perfect, as I put it. It was like something straight out of Pinterest! My cousin and aunt planned everything to a T and it was absolutely perfect and we were so glad to be a part of it.

There were a couple trips to Sacramento squeezed in to pick up the Count from the airport and drop him off, as well as picking up my grandparents who flew in from Georgia. It was a crazy filled to the brim “vacation”. This was also the first time that my grandparents met Finn. Sadly.. no pics! Or at least that I could find. =/

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We went to my aunt and cousin’s cupcake shop that they own in town called the Cupcake Crusader. Sadly, I didn’t take any pics. We also went to Thursday Market which is a big deal there in town. Vendors selling stuff, mostly farmer’s market foods, and then food trucks galore. My aunt & cousin’s cupcake truck being one of them! We were there to get flowers and strawberries for the wedding shindig. These strawberries were AMAZING and HUGE, and Finn loved them. Sadly, no pictures of him stuffing his face with strawberries, either.

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The next morning was spectacular. Finn slept until 10am for the first time ever. Which means, I slept til 10am for the first time in two years. Well actually, I woke up before him and laid frozen in my bed for fear that I would wake him in the pack-n-play next to me. Finally I woke him up because I knew we had things to do!

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The view from breakfast: my aunt’s backyard, complete with her own pond.chico_7

View from the front yard. Yeah, I could get used to this.

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Their two miniature horses. I believe their names are Mickey and Flip. I could be wrong. Flip is definitely one of them. Don’t know which one.

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The massive cat run that my uncle built for their, I don’t know… 9 cats? It’s too dangerous for the cats to be “outside” cats due to the natural wildlife around there, so this is an awesome area for them to hang.

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And because my uncle’s the coolest, bee hives! Save the bees!

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Grandma teaching Finn to play the piano…

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What I did all day the day of the wedding. Made strawberry shortcake biscuits. About 100 of them to be exact.

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The picnic baskets that people would take to the blankets across the property.

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This is where the music, slide show, dancing, and all of the party happened.

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The bride and me (p.s. I miss my long hair so much).

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When it got late, we retired to our room and watched movies. We weren’t out late at the party due to our little guy.

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Deer on the property the day after.

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Breakfast on the last day: one more delicious piece of strawberry shortcake with marscapone whipped cream. Also, Finn tried raw peanuts and had fun cracking them open (seen below) all morning. Which led to the works gastrointestinal situation we could have imagined.

chico_15Parting shot. Every kid is amazed by the windmills. I know I was as a kid.

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And the saddest part of the whole trip. All of the cupcakes that we took home from the Cupcake Crusader cupcake shop… did not make it in that great of condition. Don’t think for a second that we didn’t eat them, though!

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Venice/Burano: Day 2 – Part 1

For our first day in Venice, click herehere, and here.

On our second day in Venice, we decided to try and skip as many tourists as we could (though we were some of the biggest ourselves!) and head out into the Venetian Lagoon to explore a couple of the most popular islands. We skipped Murano, the most famous island known for its glass making, shops, and factories, dating back to 1291. We figured, we’d see enough glass throughout Venice and could spend more time where I really wanted: Burano. Known for its pastel painted fishermen’s houses and lace making, it was truly picturesque. And then we wanted to stop on the oldest island of the lagoon, Torcello, which was established in the 5th or 6th centuries. Talk about history. I have way too many pictures to share of this day, of course.

We started the morning off with a planned quick stop at Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, a minor basilica completed in 1396. It is one of 3 most famous churches in Venice. However, once we got there, we opted not to pay the $10/each to see it. Not that it wasn’t beautiful and most likely magnificent on the inside, but we were sort of churched out at that point and were trying to be more selective of our sights.

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However, it was meant to be because we ran into people we knew. Half way around the globe! Here was my coworker and his pretty lady which we had to snap a pic or nobody would have believed us!

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These were taken from the Rialto Bridge and the surrounding area.

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I could never get enough of this place.

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We headed for the Rialto Market, which in my opinion, is the saddest market in all of Europe. Well, saddest that we had seen. This place has nothing on Germany as far as markets are concerned! And then we stopped by the seafood market, which was not open on this day and instead was just an empty covered area.

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See? No reason to go to Murano — all the glass we needed to see is all over Venice!

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We then hopped on a vaporetto to Burano where we saw some of the more industrial buildings away from the main island and other little islands overrun by green. Can you imagine living here?

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Ahh, our introduction to Burano. And still more glass to purchase here. We did buy an ornament and a miniature carafe set for my mom’s dollhouse.

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And then the picture perfectness began. So, I won’t pretend that I’m some expert on Burano, but we did learn that the houses were painted brightly so that when the fishermen came home, they knew right where their house was. And most all of the shutters are green, I believe that is a requirement, but I can’t find anywhere online confirming what I heard.

I cannot get over the colors, the care that is taken with their front doors, which were sometimes no more than a sheet, their windows and accompanying flowers, and of course I will never get over seeing people’s laundry just blowing about. What a wonderful sight Burano was and filled me with such great awe and respect for this little island and the people who took such pride in their homes. Again, like in Venice, there were no cars, as the entire island can be walked in an hour — which we did. While there, we tried to decide what color house we would own if we lived here. I was partial to blue or yellow and Dan, green.

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That’s a bird cage hanging out of that window!

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Free water, much like many other places we visited in Europe, but Italy especially.

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As you can see from the above pictures, coming to Burano was really the right choice. We walked freely without other tourists or people running into us and could talk, imagine, and goof around without caring that others would see us. The center of the island where all the shopping is, was busy (below) but that was it and it still was nothing compared to Venice. It was a nice little break from the crowds of people.

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The Burano lace. I read that most of the lace for sale on the island is not handmade and is instead made in factories on Venice. If you do find handmade lace, it is distinguishable by how expensive it is. We didn’t buy any because I couldn’t for the life of me think of what I would do with it. Handmade or factory made, it was still beautiful.

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We stopped and had lunch at this little deli where they had maybe 4 tables outside and that was it. You can’t even go inside because it is just a kitchen. We had wine, warm cokes, and delicious pizza (much better than the hotdog pizza the day before!).

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This picture below of the purple houses and the laundry is one of my favorites that we took the entire trip. It just drew me in and I felt like I belonged there. On second thought, purple was definitely my top choice.

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Burano really was like a scene from a movie. Pure magic and one of the highlights of not only Venice, but Italy. There were many moments throughout our trip that we had to pinch ourselves to make sure we were really there and Burano was a big one.

From Burano, we visited Torcello, but that’s a post for another day. I must continue to nurse myself back to health for now as I try to kick my 4th sickness in 3 months.

This is a part of my ever persistent quest to finally blog about our month long trip to Europe in May of 2011. You can read about the rest of our days by clicking on “Travel” at the top!

Venice: Day 1 – Part 3

For the first and second parts of our first day in Venice, click here and here.

The Grand Canal cruise was the most perfect and romantic end to the most epic first day in Venice ever. Seriously, thanks Rick Steves for recommending it (and a million other suggestions). We downloaded his audio tour and both put our headphones on and lost ourselves in Venice for about the 45 minutes that it took us to cruise the canal from the train station to past St. Mark’s Square. It was great and the €6.50 vaporetto (the local water taxi since as I said before, there are no cars in Venice!) ticket price sure beat the €200/hr gondola ride!

After our refreshing nap, we found some gelato to wet our palettes and then headed down to the train station to meet our travel buddies to begin the Grand Canal cruise. Please forgive me for all the cheesy grins but Venice turned out to be our favorite city and we couldn’t stop smiling the whole day and into the night. Venice was unbelievably picturesque during the day, but at night it was magical and enchanting. The way the lights hit the water and reflected back onto the buildings, I felt like I was in a movie or a book and none of it was real. But as the boat would rock and I looked at The Count, it was very very real; everything about it.

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I found this map from Rick Steve’s… I don’t know where, Pinterest somewhere, but it showed everything we saw on the cruise. Rick’s narration was awesome and I couldn’t recommend it more since I would have had no idea what I was seeing on my own!

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At the train station, waiting for our friends and so excited for our first cruise in the vaporetto down the famed Grand Canal of Venice.

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See – Rick Steves audio tour happening. Oh and the Rialto Bridge!

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Hello €200/hr gondola ride.

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The perfect view.

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One thing I loved about Venice was how the water was SO many different colors ALL the time.

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St. Mark’s Square at dusk.

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On a vaporetto stop waiting for another boat to take us back towards S. Margherita. It swayed and rocked with the big waves (caused by all the busy boats and vaporetti)!

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Memorable night. Total cheese.

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This is a part of my ever persistent quest to finally blog about our month long trip to Europe in May of 2011. You can read about the rest of our days by clicking on “Travel” at the top!

Venice: Day 1 – Part 2

For the first part of our Day 1, click here.

Our first day in Venice continued as we headed to Palazzo Ducal, or Doge’s Palace where the Doge’s of Venice ruled for over 1,000 years. This palace had been there since 1340 and it was massive and had an extensive prison with prisoners such as Casanova, who was locked up for being a freemason and spreading anti-religious messages. He’s also one of the few to have ever escaped. I would say that I think overall I’m glad to have said that I saw the palace, the Bridge of Sighs, and the prison, but looking back, I don’t remember much. You aren’t really allowed to take any pictures of all the famous art and architecture that makes it so famous (just the staircase as you walk in, and the prison) and so therefore, my memories of the place are vague and few. It was still beautiful. That staircase to the right (below) is the Giant Staircase.

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A “Lion’s Mouth” postbox for anonymous denunciations of Venice at the Doge’s Palace. Translation: “Secret denunciations against anyone who will conceal favors and services or will collude to hide the true revenue from them”. Very cool!

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The Golden Staircase leading to the Doge’s apartments. There weren’t many furnishings as Napoleon’s army made sure to plunder those.

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Views from inside the Palace. You can see the island of San Michele below.

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And on to the prison. One of the many prison cells, doors, one where Casanova was held and escaped from, a close up of the special hinges that closed them air-tight to prevent anyone from over hearing things from the corridor outside, and also the torture room.

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After the tour, which took a couple hours and was very, very hot with no real circulation except when we walked across the Bridge of Sighs and got a little cross breeze… we were tossed back out onto St. Mark’s Square where the even more throngs of tourists had congregated. Man, when they say to stay away from St. Mark’s, they aren’t kidding. That place was ridiculous. But we still had more to do. St. Mark’s Basilica and Giotto’s Campanile. St. Mark’s Basilica was beautiful. Stunningly beautiful. Gold, tile, paintings, frescoes everywhere. So basically, much like every basilica we saw in Europe. :P

See?

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And then onto the Campanile. We waited in the long line, but I don’t remember it being too horrendous, and happily paid the $9 or so to take the elevator to the top and see the Venice from the rooftops and the Venetian lagoon. Finally no stairs to climb!

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After a long day spent mostly in St. Mark’s we made our way back towards Campo S. Margarita to grab some lunch and to actually take a nap *gasp* since we were very exhausted from our very early train wake up call.

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We found a little restaurant right in our square outside our hotel and had some pizza and cokes. My pizza was great. Pepperoni. Dan’s was… well, interesting. It was supposed to be sausage, but ended up being… hotdogs. He still ate it… when in Europe!

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We went back to our cute little room with a view and had a very refreshing nap and shower to ready ourselves for our Grand Canal tour and to see Venice from the local transportation; the Vaporetto. That’s coming up next!

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This is a part of my ever persistent quest to finally blog about our month long trip to Europe in May of 2011. You can read about the rest of our days by clicking on “Travel” at the top!

Venice: Day 1 – Part 1

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Oh Venice how we loved you. Probably my favorite city. I loved Germany the most as far as countries go, but Venice was my favorite city. Just something so magical about walking through a city that had no streets or cars – that was definitely a one of a kind experience that I couldn’t get back home.

After a pretty awful night sleeping on the train (fought with one of my bunk mates on opening/shutting the window as the curtain slapped me in the face all night with it being open!) and I did not get very much sleep, I wasn’t a very happy camper that morning, but alas I was in Venice. We needed cash so we found a place that we could pull cash out (at an exorbitantly high rate mind you!) and then set out to find our hotel. We stayed in Campo Santa Margarita which is actually filled more with locals than with tourists as it’s a little off the beaten track and that was fine by us. It was really cool to come here and people watch; lots of students. In the morning (at 6:30am!) it was dead with nothing but the people sweeping the streets from the night before, but at night it is loud and rowdy. Very cool.

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After finally finding our temporary home in Venice we set out for our quick 2 days to see and do as much as possible. We found the Accademia Bridge, snapped a few pics of it and just started to become familiar with our surroundings for the next 2 days. Water, water, bridges, bricks, more water, boats, pigeons, alleyways, water again, beggars, and water. It was really surreal.

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I can’t believe I didn’t get a picture of the actual bridge, but us being on it is better. Google has plenty of pictures. We then made our way towards St. Mark’s Square before the hordes of tourists and day trippers from the big cruise ships got there. That was sure a treat to see since we never got to see St. Mark’s (mostly) empty like that again!

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After our quick glimpse of St. Mark’s Square and the Basilica, Campanile, and the Palace, we set out down an alley and found a little cafe for breakfast as we were starved. Food was decent and met our requirements of feeding our bellies and getting coffee into those that needed it!

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We then went back to St. Mark’s Square where you can see the hordes of people wasted no time filling it up. We had our 10:45am Secret Itineraries tour at Doge’s Palace and spent some more time in the square enjoying the view and the water while we waited.

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So as not to overload you on pictures from our day, I’ll split this up into multiple parts and hopefully I can finish Venice before my dear friend Katie goes on her big trip to Europe next week!

Next up: Our tour of Doge’s Palace, Giotto’s Campanile, St. Mark’s Basilica and more!

This is a part of my ever persistent quest to finally blog about our month long trip to Europe in May of 2011. You can read about the rest of our days by clicking on “Travel” at the top!

Munich: Day 5 – Part 2

The rest of our day in Munich was very laid back as we were all feeling pretty emotionally spent after our morning at KZ-Gedenkstätte Dachau Concentration Camp. We went back to the market and found a beer garden where we had a lunch of chicken, more potatoes, beer, and cokes. The usual German fare. Afterwards we just putzed around the market until it was time to get our bags and head to the train station for our long overnight train (in tight quarters) to Venice (!). We loved Munich and can’t wait to go back and explore the rest of Germany! Auf Wiedersehen!

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This is a part of my ever persistent quest to finally blog about our month long trip to Europe in May of 2011. You can read about the rest of our days by clicking on “Travel” at the top!

Munich | Nuremberg: Day 4 – Part 2

For the first part of our day in Nuremberg, click here.

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Our love for Nuremberg continued as we stopped in front of Albrecht Durer’s home, who mapped the stars of the northern and southern hemispheres and produced the first printed star charts. We loved the sculpture of Der Hase (The Hare), in homage to Durer and a satiric take on his watercolor painting, Der Feldhase.

We then walked along the Medieval wall (!) that surrounds the city and past Sebalduskirche, one of the oldest and most important churches in the city.

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Since Nuremberg is known as the toy capital of the world, our visit wouldn’t have been complete without seeing the Nuremberg Toy Museum or Spielzeugmuseum. There were no pictures allowed, but it really was neat to see four floors of the history of toys going back to the Middle Ages until now.

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On our way out of the city there was a little market/festival going on that we were sad to miss, but we had things waiting for us in Munich and more importantly, a train!

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When we arrived back in Munich at 9pm, we had laundry to do so we found a laundromat semi-close by which was easy to take care of. What was not easy to take care of was getting in to the bathroom in the laundromat and I had a bad case of the you-know-what. Not gonna lie. I thought that was going to be the day I had go in an alley in Germany. Luckily, just as I was thinking and feeling the worst, the owner of the laundromat showed up with the key to bathroom and all was right in the world again! I know you wanted to know that story, but these are the things you are faced with while traveling! On a dead commercialized street, no restaurants, no public restrooms, and too far from our digs! Moving on.

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After laundry we went for a late night dinner to the famous Hofbrauhaus (the notorious meeting of Hitler’s newly launched German Workers Party in 1920). Boy was that an experience. Loud. Clinking glasses. Singing. Music from an oompah band. Rude “beer maids”. Yelling. The worst meal of entire trip. But it was an awesome experience. We made the mistake of ordering 4 beers because we thought the waitress was asking us how many people in our party. No, she was asking us how many beers. How many MASSIVE beers. 30 euros worth of beers. Oh well. It was fun, nonetheless and I tried it! Proof below. Dan got to try headcheese based on Andrew Zimmern’s recommendation (he did not like it, Andrew!) as we got a little meat/cheese plate and the only thing edible on it ended up being the bread and butter.

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And then we walked home to the pension. It was really cool to see the city at night, still wet from the rain and mostly empty. Oh and we saw another German spider.

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We went to bed starving and could not wait to wake up and eat some of Christophe’s delicious breakfast at the pension.

The next day would be a somber day as we viewed Dachau Concentration Camp.

This is a part of my ever persistent quest to finally blog about our month long trip to Europe in May of 2011. You can read about the rest of our days by clicking on “Travel” at the top!

Munich | Nuremberg: Day 4 – Part 1

We spent most of our fourth day in Munich/Germany on a day trip to Nuremberg. Often regarded as the most German of German cities, it truly lived up to that. From the time we stepped off the train it felt like we were in Germany. More so than any other city we had been to yet. It was the perfect little Medieval city (with castle and walls and the whole shebang) and throw in the toy capital of the world making it a super fun and interesting day.

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Our first stop was St.-Lorenz-Kirche as we ran right smack into it after getting off the train and into the city center. It was an example of Gothic purity, inside and out. Covered in details. I can’t even include everything from inside the church. Interesting to note that it was pretty much destroyed after WWII by U.S. bombs, along with 90% of the city (since it had unfortunately been chosen as the place of the Nazi war rallies during the 1930’s and many other crimes during that time).

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We then went into a shop upon my insistence and bought a little nutcracker for our Christmas tree. They had a famous shop here called Käthe Wohlfahrt from the famous Christmas/Medieval town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber and I have a real nutcracker from them now! On my tree.

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There were so many interesting fountains and statues. Here’s just a couple. The first one is called the Fountain of the Virtues, depicting the seven virtues of the Middle Ages. I just discovered it is considered one of the most inappropriate fountains in Europe. Score! The second was really cool. It is called the “Ship of Fools” and is based on Sebastian Brant’s 1494 bestseller “Das Narrenschiff”.

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Here we are in front of Hospital of the Holy Spirit; one of the oldest and largest hospitals of the Middle Ages. Lepers were actually kept here away from the rest of the patients and it was founded in 1332. We just thought it made a lovely picture.

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And then we found the city’s main market, Hauptmarkt. I just love German markets. They make my heart happy. Nuremberg’s was especially lovely with the red striped canopies and the contrast of the colorful buildings and roofs. Also below is Frauenkirche and Schöner Brunnena 14th century fountain and one of the city’s main attractions.

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And then there was lunch at this fine restaurant out in an open terrace on this side street off the market. We tried the traditional Nürnberger Bratwurst which is shorter and thinner than other bratwurst sausages along with sauerkraut for Dan and on a roll for me. And tasty. And the most delicious potato soup I’ve ever had. Still. And of course some soft and yummy pretzels, beer, and coke. A perfect German lunch.

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We then made our way to Kaiserburg Castle which was the official residence of the German kings and emperors from about 1000-1500. We took the tour of the unimpressive Tiefer Brunnen (Deep Well) so that we could climb the Pentagonal Tower (the oldest portion of the castle dating back to the Salian kings). The view was spectacular. I just loved all of the German buildings and roofs.

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This graffiti made me sad to see. People are sick. This was inside the tower we climbed which dated back to 1050.

So, that’s enough for this first post of Nuremberg. I’ll be back with the rest of our day in Nuremberg and our evening and night in Munich in Part 2!

This is a part of my ever persistent quest to finally blog about our month long trip to Europe in May of 2011. You can read about the rest of our days by clicking on “Travel” at the top!