After 21 days of traveling around Europe, I’m back in the good ol’ Empire State. As much fun as it was adventuring and exploring a bunch, it’s nice to have the comforts of home and my pup by my side. Here’s a round up of my trip and some tips (and more photos) for all my fellow wanderers!
Out of the cities visited on this trip, here are my rankings from favorite to least favorite:
- Reykjavik, Iceland
- Paris, France
- Barcelona, Spain
- Rome, Italy
Surprise! I loved the coldest place the best! Not really surprising at all though…Do I need to remind you just how beautiful Iceland is?
My photos don’t even do it justice. The mountains were absolutely stunning; it reminded me of the mountain views I had as I traveled around Seattle and Vancouver this past summer. Ah, majestic mountains. I love ’em.
In Iceland, Ty and I stayed at the Kex Hostel which I would absolutely recommend. It’s clean, conveniently located and the employees are very accommodating. But really I’d recommend it mostly for their breakfast. The bread you guys. The BREAD. Something about bread in Iceland is magical; my theory is because it’s made with the pure glacier water they have access to, it makes the bread that much better. Also, the jam they served with this magic bread was even more magical. I need to see if I can order it online…
ICELAND NOTES: Daylight is scarce (depending on the time of year) so plan accordingly. Also, shop hours were generally 10AM-6PM…so night owls beware. Iceland is also pretty expensive compared to other places in Europe so get ready to budget!
PARIS was our last destination and my overall second favorite city. It reminded me of a London where everyone speaks French and smokes a lot.
From the quaint streets and shops to the beautiful architecture and the picturesque Seine River, I loved all of it. If you want a great french pastry, check out L’Eclair de Génie. I’m not even a huge eclair person and I loved them.
I would also highly, highly recommend visiting the Palace of Versailles and checking out the town of Versailles itself. I’d love to spend more time there in the warmer months. It was so lovely!
PARIS NOTES: Ty and I stayed at an Airbnb in The Marais neighborhood; not far from Notre Dame or The Bastille. The metro is easy to navigate, but trains don’t run 24/7. Paris does have Uber though!
Barcelona was Ty’s favorite place and rightfully so – it was a ton of fun. We stayed at the Kabul Backpacker’s Hostel which was a very upbeat and social hostel. The employees were super nice and the cost was so, so cheap! There was a bar downstairs and happy hour was fantastic (1 euro sangria and beer!). We had a great view from our room and quickly made friends to go out and explore with.
With all this positive talk, you may wonder why I ranked Barcelona third on my list — it really comes down to personal preference. I wasn’t a fan of the Spanish siesta as a visitor; I’m sure I’d love the concept if I lived there but it’s something to take into consideration as a tourist when planning what time to eat, etc. Highlights for me though definitely included Park Güell and the paella at 7 Portes Restaurant.
And finally, ROME. We stayed at the Yellow Hostel and were upgraded to a four bed ensuite with a bathroom. A pleasant surprise after arriving a day late (because we got our flight confused and went to the airport in Barcelona a day early)…ALWAYS QUADRUPLE CHECK YOUR FLIGHTS PEOPLE!
Anyways…our first day in Rome was actually really fun. We went on a six-hour walking tour and saw pretty much everything.
We made a pit stop to grab some authentic Italian espresso that was super delicious and gave me the kick I needed to continue on.
Later that night, we went on the Rollin Bar. Advertised through the hostel, the Rollin Bar is literally a party bus with a bar (and stripper pole…) on it that makes scenic stops over the course of 2 hours before returning to The Yellow Bar (the Yellow Hostel’s neighboring bar). It’s 25 euro to get on the bus (with four drinks included), but really the drinks are unlimited and it’s freakin’ cray. Oh, and one of Ty’s friends happened to be in Rome at the same time so he came along too!
The following day, Ty and I went on a food tour of our own – pizza, gelato, pasta, etc…everything was really fresh and delicious.
So why was Rome last on my list? It’s a great place to see and there’s so so much history, but there’s not much to do overall. I can’t imagine spending an entire week there, let alone living in Rome. Also…as I mentioned in my initial Rome post, I got incredibly awful food poisoning (probably from one of the above items, though it all looks delicious and tasted great going down). So my time there was definitely clouded by getting sick.
Would I recommend going to Rome? Of course. But really as a day trip. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but you could definitely experience it in a day.
And that’s all folks! I had the best time and can’t wait to continue exploring and traveling more in the future. Thanks for reading!
Spread kindness and cheer, xo