Enjoy guest posts from IGE readers describing their best vacations ever while I’m away on mine! Check out my Italy travel page which I’ll be updating with links to videos, pictures & posts throughout my trip!
Name, Blog: Sassy Molassy/Lauren
Who, what, where, when and why: May 2009, one of my best high school girlfriends and I ventured off to Europe in hopes of seeing as much as we could. Many of our friends had traveled the world during college, but we had not. For 21 days we hopped from Italy to France to Germany to Switzerland seeing more things than we could have ever imagined.
The cities we visited include: Rome, Florence, Cinque Terre (five little cities on the coast of Italy), Provence, France, Berlin, Munich, Geneva and Lucerne.
My favorite part of the vacation was: …oh lord, this is a tough one.
Rome was absolutely amazing with its rich history (Colosseum, Spanish steps, trevi fountain) and AMAZING food. We stopped by this little Italian kitchen in a back alley way recommended by Rick Steves after walking for 12 miles that day. Yum!
Rome on our last night before flying back to the states
Cinque Terre was one of those picturesque little places where you feel like at every turn you must be dreaming. Our photos from there are unbelievable. The colors of the homes and ocean are just beautiful.
Cinque Terre (specifically Vernaza)
Taking a tram up to the Jungfrau region and hiking in the Swiss Alps in the rain with no rain jacket and no other people around. I ended up buying a poncho for 6 euro that barely did the trick and looked hideous. We’d come across these “towns” made up of 12 or so houses.
My best travel tip for this location: Bring your most comfortable shoes. You never know when you’re going to need to hike 5 miles in that pair of flip flops…seriously. Be ready for anything. Just have a good attitude!
Raddlr (drink made of light beer and sprite) at the Hofbrahaus (famous beer hall in Munich that can hold over 4k people)
The thing you MUST do at this location: EAT! And Bike tours. They are seriously a gold mine! You pay a decent amount but get to see so much more than you would on your own and you learn history about these places and get a little exercise in at the same time. Check out Fat Tire Bike Tours or Mike’s Bike Tours.
Guys surfing in the English Garden (Munich)
The thing I want to do next time I return: Spend a bit more time in each city. We spent only 2-3 days in a place and sometimes it would be nice just to soak it in for 4-5 days and explore more restaurants and parts of the city. Rome and Paris are especially huge so I’d add an extra day at least to these places. That being said, it was amazing how quickly we felt we saw most of each city and were ready to head on to the next. I would also love to not be lugging around a 25lb backpack, but that definitely was part of our backpacking/hostel experience.
Name: Erin P.
Who, what, where, when and why: Italy, 9/29-10/6 2008, My Honeymoon with my hubby.
My favorite part of the vacation was: Everything! You are completely immersed in the culture from the moment you step off the plane. The food, the history, the way they talk so passionately with their hands. It’s a beautiful country with beautiful people.
My best travel tip for this location: Eat or drink standing up while at a bar/restaurant (it will save you money) and watch your belongings! We saw a couple of attempted heists while we were in Rome.
The thing you MUST do at this location: Eat pistachio gelato and spinach risotto. It will change your life.
The thing I want to do next time I return: Go farther south. We did Rome – Florence – Venice. I’d love to go down towards the Amalfi coast and Naples.
Name, Blog: Ms. S, Sunset on Distant Castle
Who, what, where, when and why: My husband and I ventured to the Oregon Coast in July for a family reunion/memorial service for my great-grandmother. This group of people (minus my great-grandparents, and plus a few more grandkids on one side) had not all been together since our last reunion in Bandon 20 years earlier! We were all looking forward to the cooler weather and ocean breezes that come with vacationing on the coast. If you are looking for a highly relaxing vacation, you should give Bandon, Oregon a try.
My favorite part of the vacation was: My favorite part of this trip was three-fold. 1. This was the first vacation my husband and I have taken since we got married (we haven’t done a honeymoon yet), and we love to travel! So this trip was exciting for that reason.
2. We borrowed my husband’s aunt’s car to drive from Portland down the coast to Bandon on Coastal Highway 101. What a trip! In a 1982 Volvo named Sparky, we thoroughly enjoyed the scenic views from the car on the way down, and stopped for some sight seeing on the way back up.
3. I’m convinced nothing in the world beats the Oregon Coast in the summer time, especially when you experience it on horseback. That’s right! My husband, my cousins, and I went horseback riding right around sunset on Bandon Beach – the same stables where my cousin Megan and I had this experience 20 years ago. This time we added our husbands and her brother to the mix. J
My best travel tip for this location: Pack a sweatshirt AND a stocking cap (yes, even for your summer trips). Even though the temperature is a comfortable 50-55 degrees on sunny days, the wind can make things pretty chilly which is wonderful if you’re prepared. You could also do like most of my family: don’t pack a sweatshirt or stocking cap, but plan on purchasing both in one of the shops in town as a memento of the trip. Just remember to leave enough room in your suitcase!
The thing you MUST do at this location: When was the last time you flew a kite? If you do nothing else (though I highly recommend the horseback riding on the beach), go into town one morning and buy yourself a kite. It doesn’t have to be fancy – any kite will do. And then head down to the beach, kick off your shoes, make sure someone has a camera, and enjoy the wind to its fullest potential. The beach is beautiful, the wind is bountiful, and you won’t be sorry you took my advice.
The thing I want to do next time I return: I want to go for a long walk on the beach at sunset. My family usually does this, but we were more pressed for time than we intended and were usually eating dinner or playing games. There are two things that make the Oregon Coast distinctive and unique: the rock formations and driftwood that dot its beaches. Both make for some fabulous pictures, not to mention comfortable seating. At sunset, everything is just that much prettier. I can’t wait for our next trip.