Best of Europe

Yes, I know.  These are long overdue– over a month, I think– but as they say, better late than never.  If a cliche such as that can survive the decades then there must be some truth in it, right?

Curtains up.  Here are my personal highlights of Europe.

1. Hyde Park (London)

While footing it from The Tower of London back to our hotel in Kensington, I caught a fashion shoot taking place in Hyde Park. Oh, and don’t mind the grain; the delirium of traveling had me thinking I could determine my f-stops from my ISO’s.

2. Chez Eugène Restaurant (Paris)

Snapped a photo of a Parisian Artist deep in thought, while waiting for my escargo and veal dinner at Chez Eugène Restaurant.  The Place du Tertre  is a charming square where renowned artists such as Picasso were known to have lived.  To this day, it remains the hub of Paris’ art scene.

3. Waffles (Brussels) 

I’ll let you in on a dark secret: the Belgian waffles you get at your neighborhood Denny’s or IHOP are really faux-ffle (fake and awful, and yes that was an awful pun.  Couldn’t help.)  Just hop on an airliner, and pay a visit to Brussels for the real deal.  Worth all the Benjamins you can get your hands on.

4. Dutch Countryside (Amsterdam)

Bike riding through the countryside was one of those experiences that just makes you smile.  The air is so fresh, the animals so cute, and the villages so picturesque.  There’s a lot more to Amsterdam than what it’s most known for.

5. Castles (Heidelberg)

In Europe old castles are a dime a dozen, but I still appreciate their history.  Wine aficionados are in for a huge (literally) treat when visiting Heidelberg Castle.  I grabbed an opportunity to  take in the view of the Neckar river, which from this high up is gorgeous.

6. Fairy Tale Scene (Black Forest)

The infamous Black Forest is the backdrop for all those eerie fairy tales of old.  The foliage was gorgeous, and even though the highway was just a two minute walk away I felt lost inside the serenity of the woods.

7. Goofing Around (Lucerne)

Swiss folk know how to put on dinner and a show having us interact with the locals.  From balancing on a pole to knock boots off of a chair using a broom, to the group being asked to sing an “All-American” song (the majority decided on Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'”) the night was nothing short of memorable.

8. Paying Respects (Dachau)

I paid a short visit to the Dachau Concentration Camp to learn more about the history that transpired at this significant memorial.  It was a somber, yet incredible experience.

9. Living on the Edge (Wagrain)

Without an ounce of doubt, Austria was my favorite stop along the long trip.  My first time white water rafting was amplified three times more with opportunities to dive straight into the river.  Toward the end I was quickly getting swept away by the current (no joke,) but I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again!

10. Creepy Souvenirs (Venice) 

Venice, Italy felt like a gigantic Venice Beach, but more authentic.  If that makes any sense at all.  The area is known for its gondolas and annual Carnevale festival.  While the custom itself is interesting, these masks are nightmarish.

11. The Sea Gods (Florence)

At the heart of Piazza della Signoria, was the Fountain of Neptune.  Florence is such a gorgeous city, filled with warm and welcoming people.  While Neptune’s chiseled abs can be persuasive to some, he’s not my type.

11. Walking into the Lion’s Den (Rome)

Ancient Rome left me with so much awe; it was such an advanced society for its time. As I walked the labyrinth within the Colosseum, it was difficult to imagine how much activity passed through these very corridors.

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