Though we started out with a few days in Paris, the main destination of our February vacation was Italy. My partner, sister, brother-in-law, and I managed to pack in enough sights and experiences during that week that the very idea of writing about it became something to avoid and procrastinate later. This is why I’m referencing a February vacation in June.
For anyone staying in Madrid for at least three days, I would highly recommend a day trip out to Toledo. It is only about 30 minutes away by train, and is one of the most beautiful places I have seen in Europe so far (it is currently tied with Venice for the top spot). This is an old city, still maintains a medievel feel, and offers a perfect mix of Western and Muslim influences in its art, history, and architecture. We were also quite fortunate that–though much of our Madrid trip was plagued by rain–our day in Toledo was sunny and (comparatively) warm.
Warning to the elderly, infirm, or desperately out of shape: This city is on a hill, and there is a bit of a hike to get to it from where you are dropped at the train station. But it is so worth it.
Sorry about the two month absence, guys (and by “guys” I mean “three people who actually read this”). Writing a blog is a lot of work, and sometimes I feel like I need a break. I recently started a new full time job, and being back in the corporate world has forced me to spend large chunks of free time relearning grammar and vocabulary (allegedly “calendar” and “impact” are now verbs, but “ask” is a noun. I digress). I have also been opting for studying French instead of spending hours of my free time writing a blog that only my mom might read. This allows me to speak entire sentences before the locals get impatient and speak back to me in English.
In any case, my partner spent around two months in July and August away from home, and part of that time he was in Amsterdam. So we opted to spend some time there. Again. I didn’t mind at all. Word to any friends or family who want to visit: I never mind visiting this city. I find something new about it to enjoy every time I’m there, so I will never tire of it. So if you want to put it on your list of must-see cities when you visit (and you must, or I shall be very cross), I will not mind. Here are the highlights:
Given the weather had been warmer last week (up into the 50s!), and my partner had just come home after an extended absence, we decided to get out and explore Trier, Germany a bit. It is less than an hour away by train, and–being the oldest city in Germany–is home to a lot of interesting architecture and Roman ruins. On a more shallow note, we both wanted to see the new Oz movie, which was playing there (Luxembourg City theaters didn’t start showing it until today, and I can be impatient sometimes). Though there were a couple of hiccups in our plan (the weather turned out to be considerably colder than we had expected and the movie was actually dubbed in German rather than just subtitled), we still had an enjoyable time. Even in freezing temperatures, it is nice to get out of the house and escape somewhere now and then.