June 25, 2011

Our Five Favorite International Trips

While on the train back from Triberg, Greg and I thought about our five favorite trips we've taken together in the last two years. We have wonderful memories and great stories from all of our trips, but here are the most special ones:

Island of Cres
If I could talk about Croatia every day to everyone I see, I would. But then I would be one of the "crazies" so I withhold from doing so. The parts of this country we saw were absolutely beautiful and fairly untouched by tourism, unlike Italy and Greece. Although the language is a problem, I envy the people who live there.

The coastline and Plitvices park were so gorgeous, and there are tons of great old cities to explore as well. My mouth still waters when I think about the grapes, tomatoes and cucumbers I ate there - it felt like someone had just picked them off the plant and handed them to me. I still sometimes say to myself if I eat an average grape in Germany, "it's just not like Croatia."

If you're looking for a sunny holiday off the beaten path, go to Croatia!

If you've seen quite a bit of Europe - as we have over the years - old buildings and churches start to look the same, or you've already seen what you consider the most beautiful church and none of the others can compare. The reason I'm saying this is because I think this was our mindframe when we arrived in Budapest. We had just left Vienna, which is a beautiful classic European city, and Budapest hit us with a solid dose of reality.

It may not be a city for everyone, but we loved it. The atmosphere, the resourcefulness of the people, the kindness of people in helping us find our way around... it just felt so different from Western Europe. Or indeed, any other country we'd been to.

Talking about something different from Western Europe, Istanbul was it, for sure! We went here for our first anniversary (our second was in Lindau, which is in Germany - that list is coming soon). I wish we had time to explore other areas of Turkey because it sounds like each part is very different. I especially hope to get to the ruins in the East at some point in my life.

Having been to a Muslim country when I was small (and Greg had never been to one before), we were struck by the beautiful minerats and mosques everywhere. There must have been at least 30 on the hills around our quaint little hotel. Parts of the city were crumbling, but the palace grounds and the museums were still very much there. And I won't go on again on how much the Islamic designs inspire me with their beauty. I'm sure you all had about enough of that already.

Prague seems to be everyone's favorite and for good reason. The city is so lovely whatever the season. Even when we went in winter, the snow on the ground gave Prague this mystery and warmth. Greg went with his parents in the summer and they seemed to all like it for the nice cafes along the river and easy walking distances. Another of our friends went in the spring and meet great new friends randomly. Everyone seems to find something that they enjoy in the city.

Last on our list is Salzburg, but not because we liked it the least. It's only 2 hours from Munich so we went there a lot the first year. The city is touristy, but in a way, I never minded it. The walk up to the castle gives one such a great overlook as to why people go there. The beautiful little old town stretches out below you and you may even make out the palace grounds to your left.

Last time we went there, I visited the art museum on the hill and I think the walks along the cliffs were more fun for me then than checking out the art. And of course, who can forget the Sound of Music tour?

 We'll also be doing a post about our top five favorite trips just in Germany so stay tuned!

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