This year I decided to plan a solo whirlwind trip of Europe and I’ve chosen cities I’ve not previously visited. While I’m hoping for an opportunity in each city to see and do whatever it is that makes that city unique, I need your help. While the local tourism boards have been extremely helpful in offering information to me, I’m hoping to get recommendations from locals and from those who have visited to help me make the most of my short time in each city. If you’re in one of these cities and want to meet up, just pop me an email.
8/29 – 9/2: Amsterdam: My first stop on this trip will be in Amsterdam after flying from Boston to Iceland and then onto Amsterdam with IcelandAir. While I’ve visited Amsterdam before, I’m super excited about this part of the trip as I’ll be meeting up with my friend, the amazing Danielle of Cruise Miss fame. Danielle is finishing up a cruise in Amsterdam and then we’ll meet up to spend a few days there. I suspect that we will have so much fun but stories will never be repeated and photographs and video won’t be allowed. EVER. All proof of our visit must and will be destroyed.
Have you visited AMSTERDAM? What are your recommendations for places to stay, visit, eat, drink, etc? While we have our hotel set, the rest of our time in Amsterdam is wide open and I’d love your suggestions.
9/2-9/5: Stockholm, Sweden: After I send Danielle off on her ferry ride back to the UK, I will board my SAS flight to Stockholm for three glorious days in Sweden.
On my must do list in Stockholm: I’ve heard that fika (to have coffee) is a big thing in Sweden and it sounds like a perfect match for me. I love coffee and relaxing and so I’m thinking if a coffee house in Sweden wants to let me have a go at making coffee in their shop, I’m up for it! If not, I’ll make due with a strong cup of coffee instead. Sights to take in may include a stop at the Royal Palace and City Hall among others.
Have you visited STOCKHOLM? What are your recommendations for places to stay, visit, eat, drink, etc? I have part of my stay planned in Stockholm, but I’m still looking for a hotel for my last two night and advice on vegetarian restaurants and places I should visit during my stay. Are there any haunted sights in Stockholm that are worth a visit?
9/5-9/8: Prague, Czech Republic: Everyone raves about Prague and of course, I had to add it to my itinerary. After I fly from Stockholm to Prague on SAS, I will land in Prague and make my way to Nové Mesto (New Town). The literary geek that I am wants to follow in the footsteps of Franz Kafka and see where he lived and places he visited.
On my must do list in Prague: Enjoy coffee at Café Louvre where not only Franz Kafka visited, but also Albert Einstein during his professorship in Prague. But there’s so much to see and learn about Prague from the beautiful architecture, history, shopping, and yes — even haunted sights, which I can’t wait to explore.
Have you visited PRAGUE? What are your recommendations for places to stay, visit, eat, drink, etc? Still don’t have my hotel set up for Prague and I need a place to stay so if you have suggestions or advice, let me know as well as vegetarian restaurants and places to search out on my trip.
9/8-9/11: Florence, Italy: From Prague I’m off to Italy and to Florence via Brussels with Brussels Airlines. The first time I visited Italy was last summer when I spent some time in Venice and visited the port of Bari. Now I’m headed to Tuscany to discover Florence.
On my must do list in Florence: Besides the obvious things like Uffizi Gallery or the Duomo, I’ve got to try the gelato in Florence, like at Grom, as everyone says it’s the best.
Have you visited FLORENCE? What are your recommendations for places to stay, visit, eat, drink, etc? Seems like everyone is visiting Florence while I’m there because finding a hotel has been difficult. Do you have any suggestions? How about a must see destination, vegetarian restaurant, bar, etc? Any haunted sights?
9/11-9/14: Madrid, Spain: After a few glorious days in Florence, I’m off to Madrid. I’ll board yet another plane and this time I’m flying Iberia airlines. I can hardly contain my excitement about visiting Madrid because this visit will fulfill one of my lifelong wishes to go to the Prado Museum and see Las Meninas (The Maids of Honour) painting by Velazquez. Of course, I’ll want to see Goya’s works and then everyone else’s so I’m sure I’ll be there the better part of a day!
On my must do list in Madrid: In addition to my trip to the Prado, I’m absolutely hoping to have a chance to see The Rastro Flea Market on Sunday for some shopping like a local. That and a ride up the teleferico (cable car) for amazing views of the city.
Have you visited MADRID? What are your recommendations for places to stay, visit, eat, drink, etc? Why is everyone visiting Madrid at the same time that I am? Finding a hotel has been difficult so if you have any suggestions or advice, I’m listening. Also, what should I absolutely do while I’m there? Any vegetarian tapas or restaurant ideas?
9/14-9/18: London: Now from Madrid I’m heading off to London, but I’m not taking a flight to get there. No I plan on getting another one of my 100 Things I Must Do completed from my list. So my mode of transportation is #13: Ride the train from London to Paris to Barcelona and all in one day. While I’ll be taking the train in reverse and from Madrid to Barcelona to Paris and ultimately to London, I’m still doing it all in one day. I’m taking the AVE from Madrid to Barcelona, hopping on the TGV to Paris, and I even budgeted in a few hours to walk around in Paris while I make my way between Gare Lyon and Gare du Nord. Then I’ll board the Eurostar train that will take my on the last leg of my journey to London and St. Pancras station. Total travel time? I’m scheduled to leave Madrid at 5:50 am and should arrive in London that night at 8:39 pm.
On my must do list in London: It’s definitely not my first trip to London, but I’m a huge fan of the unusual and different, like when I had coffee last year at The Attendant, a former public toilet transformed into a coffee shop. So I’m thinking maybe a visit to the Cellar Door or Evans and Peel Detective Agency might be on my list for a drink (or two). And no trip to London would be complete without seeking out one of the many haunted sights of the city.
Have you visited LONDON? What are your recommendations for places to stay, visit, eat, drink, etc? Oh London you make NYC and Boston prices seem trivial in comparison to London prices. I’m still looking for a hotel room and some unique London activities. As I am struggling with this part of planning this trip, a friend of mine recommended I did a search into something like hotels near eden shopping centre high wycombe to potentially find a hotel. She mentioned that it is a little outside of London, but I don’t mind the travel, especially if it means I get to see more of London. Plus, there would be a shopping centre near by, so I can’t complain too much. This is something that I will look into for sure. Any advice? Suggestions? How about any must visit vegetarian restaurants?
9/15-9/16: Haworth, West Yorkshire, UK: While I’m super excited to spend the last few days of my trip in London, I’ve decided to travel north of London to Haworth to scratch off #39 from my 100 Things I Must Do list. What is #39? Travel to the village where Emily Brontë lived in Haworth, West Yorkshire, England. One of my favorite authors of all time, Emily Brontë penned my favorite book of all time, Wuthering Heights. The inner geek in me so wants to stand on the moors and visit the home where Emily, as well as Charlotte and Anne and the rest of the family, once lived.
Have you visited HAWORTH? What are your recommendations for places to stay, visit, eat, drink, etc? Brontë lovers – what are your suggestions?
I’ll wrap up my whirlwind tour in London and then head back to the US, albeit reluctantly, on 9/18. I’m hoping to update the blog as I travel so stay tuned! Oh and did I mention that I’m doing this trip with only a backpack and no checked luggage?
UPDATE 8/29: I’ve gotten so many wonderful suggestions and ideas via social media and email and can’t thank you all enough! Unfortunately, the backpack didn’t work out after all. After putting my packing cubes and what not in, it was almost as tall as I am. I realized it wouldn’t work as a carry on so I’m using a smaller bag and a smaller backpack. Hoping that I’ll be able to bring both as carry on luggage, but if not — the one bag can get checked.