Europe: What I Packed

Before heading abroad for three months I spent hours upon hours reading other people’s packing lists and researching bags, shoes, clothing, and accessories to compile the perfect collection of items for my trip.

Our trip spanned mid-summer to mid-fall, taking us across a gambit of landscapes from strong winds in chilly Iceland to dizzying heat in the Sahara desert; and with varied activities like hiking in the French Alps to a dinner party in Italy, my clothing and shoe arsenal needed to be versatile and layer-able.

I thought I’d share what I packed for anyone planning a similar trip or just plain curious. Continue reading “Europe: What I Packed”

Fall in Chamonix

The last real stop on our European tour was the small resort town of Chamonix, France. We used to make fun of Chamonix and Mont Blanc because the whole place sounds so full of itself. You can’t say the words Mont Blanc without sounding like an asshole. It just rolls off the tongue with the slightest hint of arrogance. Go ahead, try it. But now I don’t care if I sound like a d-bag because Chamonix and towering Mont Blanc are incredible!

It reminded me so much of Park City in the fall (but on steroids), which is my absolute favorite season. Seeing it in all its Autumn splendor was really special. Continue reading “Fall in Chamonix”

When in Rome (I)

Rome wasn’t built in a day, as they say, and it turns out you can’t explore it in a day either. Nor can you recap your experience in one post, so this will be a two-parter.

Mark is a history buff, more so than he’ll readily admit, and Rome is chock-a-block full of history. Needless to say, we had a full itinerary for our 5 days in the Capital of the World. Continue reading “When in Rome (I)”

Gaeta & Pompeii (not the Bastille song)

After Florence we wanted a little peace and quiet. Madison had been to Gaeta earlier in the summer and highly recommended we go, so we did.

Gaeta is a small town on the southwest coast of Italy, somewhere between Rome and Naples. We stayed at another awesome Airbnb. It was a big family house with a separate mother-in-law apartment for us. They had trees growing ha-yuge lemons, overflowing thyme and rosemeary bushes, and countless peppers. All of which we were encouraged to take. Continue reading “Gaeta & Pompeii (not the Bastille song)”

First Taste of Italy: Milan, Cinque Terre & Florence

Getting around Italy was surprisingly easy because of their extensive train network. We bought Eurail passes and put them to some serious use. I think we spent 40+ hours commuting on trains. And because we’re old, Eurail wouldn’t sell us the broke college student pass for 2nd class – we had to get the 1st class pass. I haven’t flown 1st class (yet) but riding in 1st class trains has ruined me for other train travel. It is plush! Big comfy seats, drink/snack service, free newspapers, no luggage restrictions, and you can get up to wander around. I actually prefer it to flying.

As I mentioned in my last post, we wound up spending 6 weeks in Italy, which allowed us to explore many different sides of this beautiful country: cities (Milan, Rome, Florence); seaside/island/lakefront  (Cinque Terre, Gaeta, Lake Como, Ischia); wine/farm (Faenza, San Gimignano, Siena),a couple I don’t know how to classify (Pompeiii & Venice), and day trips to Ravenna, Pisa, and Naples. Continue reading “First Taste of Italy: Milan, Cinque Terre & Florence”

Spain Wrap-up

After surviving the madness of La Tomatina, Madison, Mark, and I took a quick 35 minute flight from Valencia to the Ballearic island of Mallorca. My definition of heaven involves mountains covered in pine trees bordering water with a beach. It’s hard to get mountains, beach, and pine trees in one place but Mallorca delivers. Continue reading “Spain Wrap-up”

Food Fight!

After a few weeks of hearing, “So… when do you think you’re gonna write your first entry in our joint blog?”, I decided it was about time. So for better or (probably) worse, you’re stuck with my (Mark’s) perspective on La Tomatina.

For those who don’t know, La Tomatina is basically the biggest food fight you’ve ever seen, held in the small town of Bunol, Spain. It started back in 1945 when some random guy got angry at people during a parade and started throwing tomatoes from a local vegetable stand at people. The next year, a small group of people mockingly threw tomatoes at each other for the fun of it. This tradition continued to grow, and it’s now become so big that you have to buy entrance tickets, the number of people is limited to 50,000, and about 150,000 kg of tomatoes are thrown. Continue reading “Food Fight!”