Ahhh, the summer. When school’s out and the kids play. And even better, since I work in a school (just one of the many benefits of being a school-based SLP), I have ample time for playing, errr exploring, as well! I already shared a bit about the planning phase here, but I’m excited to give out more details as everything is pretty much finalized as of now!
My summer can be broken down into roughly 5 parts; which I’ll be sharing in more detail below!
Phase 1: Family Time: New York // Southern Caribbean
Let the summer plans begin! I’ll be flying to JFK a few days after school lets out, and I’ll have an entire week to prance around in the city! Okay, well that’s what I wish could happen, and I’ll hopefully make it out there at least once or twice. My sister recently moved to Manhattan so now I have an extra excuse to go. 🙂
I’m so glad that this NY timing worked out – I’ll witness my Grandma blow out the candles at her 80th birthday party (!!!) and pay tribute to my sweet Grandpa at his unveiling.
I also need to get a few adult-ish things getting taken care of, including my eyebrows (which haven’t been done since I moved to SF…the shock, the horror!) and my japanese hair straightening (it just needs to happen, okay?).
After getting lots of lunches with friends and relaxing for a bit in my childhood home, I’ll be flying down to Puerto Rico for a Southern Caribbean Cruise with my mom, dad, and sister (!!!!). The last time we took a proper vacation?! Right after I got engaged to Noah, in 2011! It’s definitely time we feasted on the buffet, indulged in midnight ice cream, and gawked at my dad in the hairy chest contest together. We’ve taken numerous Caribbean cruises over the years together, and I can’t say I’d rather spend the week sipping cocktails by the pool with anyone else. The cruise will depart from San Juan, Puerto Rico, and will make stops in St. Thomas, St. Kitts, Curacao, and Aruba. While we’ve been to a few of these islands before (St. Thomas and St. Kitts), I’m looking forward to properly photographing them and spending some time at the beach without feeling like I need to see everything.
Phase 2: Fly out to London + Tour Eastern Europe
A few days after returning home from Puerto Rico, I’ll be on my way to Munich with a quick stopover in London. The next week and a half will be spent exploring the most scenic parts of Eastern Europe, including Munich, the Swiss Alps, the Italian Lakes area, Tuscany, Venice, Innsbruck Austria, and the Dolomites! We’ll even be stopping at Neuschwanstein Castle (suuuuper excited about this – so glad I found a way to add it in), the capital of Lichtenstein for a brief visit, and Verona for a hot second.
To say I’m excited is a huge understatement. I’ve never ventured to this part of Europe before, so I’m anxiously awaiting my arrival.
Looking forward to lots of gelato, fritole, and getting lost around the canals of Venice! I’ve been wanting to visit Switzerland for as long as I can remember; the quick trip to Geneva in 2008 didn’t even scratch the surface of this stunning country. I’m thinking of making my way to Lauterbrannan, Murren, and Gimmelwald – we’ll see how it goes!
Phase 3: Day Trips around Munich and Athens
The tour will end in Munich, where I’ll base myself for a few days. I’ll be checking out all the main sights (apparently research still needs to be done….) and of course be eating lots of schnitezel and possibly throwing back a pint or two (when in Germany, am I right?). Next, it’s off to Salzburg and the Lakes District of Austria, where I’ll spend a short but sweet day touring the area, before heading off on the Romantic Road the next day!
After some time in Germany, I fly to Athens to get in some exploring of Central Greece and a few islands I’ve yet to visit. (I’m saving the true exploration of Athens for when I meet up with Noah in a few days.) Once in Athens, I’m planning to visit the islands of Hydra (with donkeys as the only form of transportation!), Poros, and Aegina. Delphi and Meteora are also on my radar, and I’m trying really hard to fit them both in!
Phase 4: Mediterranean Cruise with Noah
After doing some exploring on my own, I’ll meet up with my husband, Noah, in Athens (reunion- finally!!!). We’ll be diving into history for the next few days, visiting the Acropolis, Parthenon, Plaka, and Syntagma Square, and eating lots of Greek salad (the feta!) and yogurt.
After a few days in Athens, we’ll board our cruise ship and set sail for the next week. It’ll be SO nice to unpack for once and stay in the same
hotel cabin for an entire week after being on the go so (so) much these past few weeks. We’ll be docking in Santorini (eeee, can’t wait to go back, even if it is just for a day!), Kotor (really looking forward to climbing the city walls – for the view of course!), Naples for the Amalfi Coast and Pompeii, and last but not least, Sicily!
We’ll be ending in Barcelona, where we’ll stay for a few days and explore this city in Spain for the first time! We definitely have the Sagrada Familia, La Boqueria Market, the Barcelona Cathedral, and La Rambla on our list for Barca! Next, off to Rome we go, and I cannot wait to show Noah around! I visited a few years ago (ok, 2008 is almost 10 years ago, where did the time go?!), and can’t wait to revisit with him. Rome was my favorite stop on my Europe trip years ago, and it’ll be just that much more special exploring with him this time around.
Phase 5: The Touring Continues around Europe!
After Rome we say our goodbyes, as Noah flies back to London en route to the states. I’ll be sticking around Europe for the next few weeks, touring Eastern Europe even more (!!). This time around I’ll be visiting Venice (hoping to photograph the colorful houses on Burano), have a few beach/relaxing days on Pag Island in Croatia, Ljubljana and Lake Bled in Slovenia, hopefully paraglide in the Austrian Alps, Prague, Berlin, a quick visit to Bruges, and then back to London I’ll go. Whew, I’m tired just typing all of that.
If you have any suggestions for any of these cities please let me know! I don’t have a great amount of time in each place, and therefore want to see the best of the best.
Unfortunately I won’t have any time to properly explore London, as I’ll be leaving for New York the next morning. I’ll get to spend a few days with family and friends back in NYC, then its off on my last flight of the summer to SFO!
And because I’m a huge nerd –
My Summer in Numbers
Bus Rides: Too many to count
Cities/Areas: 38 (ahhh, talking about cramming it in!)
Countries: 17 (whoa, did not realize that until I just counted right now)
Different Beds: 24 (the one part of the trip I’m dreading… that means I need to “unpack”, and repack/organize 24 times!)