80 days. Nine countries. Two flights. Six ferries. Two car trains. Over 12,000 miles driven.
We just returned from our summer road trip in Europe where we concentrated mainly on the UK and Ireland. It was an epic adventure and I have a backlog of photos and blog posts to share. In the meantime, here's a synopsis of our trip:
- We flew non-stop on Lufthansa Orlando to Frankfurt roundtrip (it is easier for us to fly to mainland Europe when we take our dog with us otherwise I would have flown more direct). We did regular economy there which was fine (upgrades sold out) but on the return we upgraded to business class. We got seats in the upper deck which is a quieter area with just the business class section. It was A-MAZING. I am truly spoiled now. After flying countless times between the U.S. and Europe this was only the second time in business/first class - my first time I was 3 months old so don't remember a thing! It's going to be really hard to go back to economy now knowing the comfort, service and space of business class. Sigh.
- We spent three weeks exploring Ireland - one week on the Ring of Kerry, one week in County Clare (near the city of Galway and Cliffs of Moher), a few days in Northern Ireland (near Giants Causeway and Dark Hedges) and then we finished up in Dublin. Loved loved loved pretty much everything about Ireland (especially once I got the hang of the tiny roads. haha!) I am so glad we decided to slow our pace down and not try to rush through Ireland - even with our slower pace there's still things we didn't get to see and do - guess that's an excuse to go back soon! Favorite parts: Cliffs of Moher cruise, small towns, gastropubs, the natural beauty (especially along the coasts), the friendly people.
- After Ireland, we headed to Scotland. I had thought Ireland was beautiful but Scotland is also amazing. It has such a wild and rugged beauty that I haven't seen anywhere else. We did the main cities - Edinburgh and Glasgow - but also headed to remote places like the island of Islay (known for peat whisky's which I learned to LOVE) and the Orkney Islands (on the very top of Scotland). The Orkney Islands were probably the most remote place I've ever been but it was amazing. My husband is a history buff so we went to explore their ancient history which was so interesting but it was also cool to be in a place that felt so Nordic. Food and drink also amazing - and people super friendly. And we lucked out with some sunshine, too!
- Two weeks in Amsterdam - decided to spend my 40th in one of my favorite places (and what I consider a second home) - Amsterdam. It was so nice to be back after a two year hiatus. A lot has changed (new tram routes were confusing at first!) but a lot was the same. We ate at our favorite places as many times as possible and we got to reunite with old friends. Was also nice to be somewhere we truly know and not have to worry about if our GPS really knows where we are going (we questioned its ability a few times in Ireland and Scotland!) The two weeks flew by though - just as I was getting used to "living" there again, it was time to go. But we will be back.
Besides these areas, we also did shorter stays in Frankfurt (just the airport - love the Sheraton there), Bruges, London (cousins time!), Rotterdam and Wales.
I was kept busy with clients so didn't have as much free-time to blog while traveling but I promise to catch-up now!