I’ll be doing a more detailed post on each of the cities we visited in Europe, but here’s a listicle of our Bests and Worsts:

  • Favorite Country – Italy!  The color, the food, the energy, the beauty!  Italy was absolutely amazing and the first place that felt truly foreign.

Riomaggiore

  • Favorite City – Riomaggiore was amazing.  Right on the ocean, bright colors, fresh air, fresh sea food, nice people… it was near perfect.
  • Most Livable City – Amsterdam, which was just like a European San Francisco.  Beautiful, artistic, with just enough grit to keep things interesting.  Everyone was friendly and spoke English, there was a large variety of foods, and you can get everywhere without needing a car.  I would definitely move there!
  • Least Favorite City – Brussels.  It wasn’t very pretty, it didn’t feel very safe, and everything was too expensive.
  • Favorite Train Ride – Milan to Rome via Trentitalia.  It was beautiful, plus they gave us biscotti and espresso!
  • Favorite Hotel – The Beehive in Rome.  Super cute, friendly staff, wonderful café for breakfast, and located in a very good spot.
  • Least Favorite Hotel – Moulin Vert in Paris.  It was shabby, run down, and you had to leave the key behind whenever you left the hotel.  Weird!

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  • Most Fun – I’m just going to say Amsterdam and let you draw your own conclusions.
  • Most Relaxing – Traveling by train.  Kick back, read a book, stare at the beautiful country side, and get to a new place will way less hassle than flying.
  • Most Surreal – Venice.  All of it.  Everywhere you look, it’s like being on a movie set.
  • Most Romantic – Kissing at the top of the Eiffel Tower at sunsetRome - the Forum
  • 5 Best Views
    • Bruges, from the clock tower
    • Paris, from Notre Dame
    • Rome, from the Forum
    • Monterosso, from the hill as you hike out-of-town
    • Germany and Switzerland, from the hills of Freiburg


Katie and Tim in the English Garden

  • Favorite Hike – Through the English Garden park in Munich which is so big and so beautiful and has a beer garden in the middle and surfers in the river.
  • Favorite Museum – I think it was the Peggy Guggenheim in Venice because I saw good art that was new to me, in a totally incredible location.
  • Favorite Church – Hands down, the Sacre Couer in Paris.  No contest.  The stained glass was so unique, I wish I could have gotten more pictures (photography isn’t allowed inside).  And everything inch of the place was done up in mosaics.  It was so beautiful, I got a little misty eyed, and I am NOT religious! Mussels from Restaurant Ciak
  • 5 Favorite Meals
    • Duck Confit in Paris
    • Pasta from Taverna dei Quaranta in Rome
    • Mussels from Ristorante Ciak in Monterosso
    • Bratwurst at a street fair in Freiburg
    • Sandwich we made in our hotel room in Freiburg

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  • 5 Favorite Sweets
    • Waffle on the street in Bruges
    • Gelato from Grom in Venice
    • Raisin bun (not sure of the German word) at Cafe Frischhut in Munich
    • Haribo Gummi Bears in Germany (way better than the American version)
    • Almond tart from a fancy bakery in Amsterdam

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  • Best Alcoholic Beverage – For me, champagne at the St. Regis in Paris, but for Tim is was the beer at Hausbraurei Feierling in Freiburg.  It’s the only place in the world you can get their beer!  It was one of the most mild, sweet beers I’ve had – great flavor and mouth feel.  Even I would drink that beer!
  • Best Non-Alcoholic Beverage (and My Favorite Foreign Word) – Frizzante!
  • Favorite Thing I Bought –  A small glass dish from Venice is my favorite non-cheese thing I brought back to the states.

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  • Favorite Thing I Brought – A polka dot dress from Old Navy.  It looked good, was comfy, didn’t wrinkle, and fit every occasion.  Perfect travel dress!
  • Funniest Moment – In retrospect, it was probably when the desk guy at our hotel in Amsterdam accidentally gave our room to another couple, who then walked in on us… after I had already taken off my pants.
  • Biggest Surprise – Loving Rome!  I didn’t expect to like Rome, as I’m not a huge history buff, but it thrilled me to be there.  The day we spent at the Forum/Colosseum was one of our best days on the trip.

  • Best Special Guest – My friend Felicia made an appearance on our last day in Paris and we went to the crypts together!
  • Most Stressful – It’s a tie between trying to find the tram when we got into Brussels and trying to find anywhere to eat in Germany.  Letting patrons choose their own seating is madness!
  • Health Hazard – I started getting a cold on the 4th day and it stuck around for almost the whole trip!  I didn’t let it ruin my fun, though.  Also Tim got horrible mosquito bites – apparently he is a rare delicacy to European bugs.
  • Scariest Moment – The only time I felt even remotely unsafe was walking through a Middle Eastern neighborhood in Brussels, and that was because we were very out-of-place, lost, and everyone seemed to be giving us the stink eye.  Nothing bad happened, though!
  • Worst Moment – To give you insight into how wonderful our trip was, the worst moment is probably using the squat toilets in the train station in Vernazza.  SO GROSS.
  • Biggest Regret – I wish we had more time.  I think we did the best we possibly could with the little time we had, but an extra week would have been nice.

Palatine Hill

  • Overall Feeling – I did not want to come home.  I love my house and my dog and my job (most of the time), but I’d trade it all for life as a vagabond.  There was a moment in the train station in Amsterdam, where I was crouched on the platform eating a very odd sandwich, that I just felt completely at ease with everything.  For someone with an anxiety disorder, that’s huge.  But I was with my best friend, we were on our way from one amazing place to another amazing place, and I didn’t ever want it to end.