Dancing Horses // Day 12


When I first began thinking about this trip to Austria, the only thing I knew about was the Opera House and the dancing horses. I wasn't totally sure that I was interested in going but I very much changed my tune. I happened to walk past the stables yesterday and it just felt special.  Unfortunately, the horses only dance for real on the weekend... so I had to settle for a practice session. 

Much of the day was spent wandering the city, trying some cafes, and falling in love with the doors and patterns of this city... to the tune of 10.1 miles. At this point I'll be honest, crossing 10 is not only easy but kind of a point of pride. Vienna is a super walkable city.

I'm the guide now // Day 11


In the event you are wondering where all the world's cigarette money goes, it must be to Germany and Austria. I've never seen so much in my entire life. I've travelled to Asia, South America, Italy, etc... and none of it compares. I came back to the hotel today and just felt like it had begun to permeate everything about me. Vienna is still great. Smoking is the worst. Sorry, I'm not sorry.

After a few days here, I've really begun to get revisit favorites and hit things low on the list. Some of those end up as winners... and some are confirmed as low priority sights. I'm talking to you Votive Church. You were a waste.

Romance on the Danube // Day 10


After a week plus in Europe, I'd like to announce that I'm a newfound fan of ear plugs. I've used them in nearly every hotel so far (so that's 7 "hotels") and it's kind of life changing. When I get back to good ole America, I'm going to get myself a large Dunkin Donuts iced tea and a box of ear plugs. Hello peaceful nights.

Either way, after bidding K a fond farewell into a cab this morning, I spent the day with family in the Wachau Valley. It was not that long of a day either. We got picked up at 9 am ... and dropped off just before 6pm. I also snuck in a good bus nap - so that was a win. After running a muck around Vienna yesterday, a day outside the city felt like a good stretch of nature. Plus, apparently this region is declared a UNESCO world heritage site so another good reason. Although, it feels like everything we have visited in the last week has that designation so maybe it's not that cool?

Vienna is beige all over // Day 9


Vienna is a lot of beige - and I mean that in a nice way. The city feels distinctly like a European capital. When scooping out what to see, we felt like everything was actually pretty close together which is great since K didn't have nearly as much time to run around. After a relatively quick train ride from Salzburg, we had 6 hours to rack up some churches and miles before dinner. Although we had planned on going straight to bed with an episode of Friends... a little spontaneous city walk led us to the building above. I mean .... Vienna.... you are pretty.

Salzburg // Day 8


Having really handled the majority of the Salzburg city sights the day before, today was theoretically a lighter day. If by lighter you mean, more walking and to things further apart. Salzburg is pretty well known for being the home of "The Sound of Music". I really wish I had watched the movie before we came because it would have been a great primer. Another time - or maybe just the flight home.

While the rest of the family was off at Eagle's Nest (not a Boston College reference), K and I ran around the city to the tune of 9.6 miles. In a theoretically embarrassing turn of events, we ate lunch and dinner at the exact same restaurant with the exact same waiter... who was also our waiter the night before. What? We like what we like. Also, it was shockingly hard to get a table in Salzburg so that was part of the rationale.

Crossing the Border // Day 7


I'm a rather organized traveler on the whole. I plan some things and then let others work themselves out. I'm sure it drives my parents crazy but I rarely book hotel rooms more than like 48 hours in advance. That being said, when we realized crossing the border to Austria was a challenge I got a little stressed.

I had visions of us standing in some god forsaken train station without water and no Kinder Buenos surrounded by piles of luggage. All of the googling in the world wasn't going to help us either. I don't speak any German and it honestly didn't seem like anyone was writing about "how to help tourists get between countries during a refugee crisis". Shocker right? Anyway, it turned out to not be a big deal at all. It was an incredibly organized process of everyone getting off the train just before the border, cramming on buses, then getting off again at the intended train station. I pretty much took Dramamine for no good reason.

So a day that I emotionally blocked off as a logistical nightmare was rather easy. It was an easy midmorning train ride (~2 hrs?) followed by a day bouncing through Salzburg. BTW, Salzburg is rather adorable and a high recommendation.

Oslo to Munich // Day 4


I'm absolutely 100% still thinking about how good our dinner was last night. I mean that halibut ... so good. Another thing that is very overwhelming? Oktoberfest. That is no joke. A whole mess of people who care a lot about big ole beers, appropriately festive clothing, and thankfully pretzels. 

But before we could get to Oktoberfest, we had to actually leave Oslo. Despite not completely loving Oslo, I would absolutely come back to Norway. This may sound simple or crass, but Norway is like Maine on drugs. The principles are the same. Beautiful vistas, amazing coastline, little nooks and cranny towns. I think it's the kind of place where you could get in a car and bounce between towns for a week.

Always be Fjording // Day 2


For us, this trip to Norway was really about taking a small little trip before joining the family in Germany. We only a handful of days we figured the "Norway in a Nutshell" tour was our best bet for encapsulating the experience and views. The title sounds like a joke but the Nutshell is real and gets entire chapters in tour books - it is also how we spent our entire day.

Here's how the Nutshell breaks down:
1. train from Bergen to Voss
2. Bus from Voss to Gundvagen
3. Boat from Gundvagen to Flam
4. train from Flam to Mrydal

If you do the entire thing in one day, you don't get home for like 12 hours. That seems unnecessary ... so we intelligently elected to do an overnight in Flam before heading to Oslo (via Mrydal) tomorrow. We are geniuses. I know this because right now we are sitting on a balcony wrapped in blankets a stone's throw from the glassy fjord. 

Red Eye Flights & Wooden Houses // Day 1


It took 1 Uber, 2 planes, and a bus to get this view above. Maybe that isn't really that much, but man it felt like it.

We arrived in Norway this morning / afternoon by way of Amsterdam and ultimately Boston. I'm not sure of the person that can handle a red-eye international flight, but it really isn't me. I will continue to do it because it's just fundamentally efficient and normally less expensive. After traveling much of the day, we stayed firmly planted on an easy day of walking around Bergen. 

European Jaunt // Intro


As a quick introduction post, I am at this very moment getting ready to take off for two weeks in Europe. Yikes.

I've been talking about wanting to go to Norway for a few months and it's actually coming together. Norway is a "giant" country with many beautiful far-flung villages... and it would be lovely to visit them but we are focusing on the quick highlights. After that, it'll be joining a family trip in Germany and Munich. I'm not one for big crowds so Oktoberfest will be quite the event to witness... but I'm sure that it'll be great.

As a little expectation setting for the next two weeks:
- I've packed only leggings essentially and white t-shirts
- I have two types of Dramamine
- I'm traveling with my favorite travel companion.... my sister
- I anticipated a whole lot of train riding
- I will be very upset if my pretzel count doesn't equal my pizza count from Italy

So, here it goes!
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