Remember how last year I wrote 24 posts about my vacation in Crimea? Brace yourself, because that was just one peninsula, and now I have three countries to reflect on!
GERMANY: Frankfurt, Mainz, Rothenburg, Rhine Valley (including stops at Rudesheim, Loreley and Koblenz), Munich, Bavarian Alps (Neuschwanstein, Linderhof and Oberammergau)
ITALY: Bologna, Ravenna, farm-stay in the hills of Emilia-Romagna
Because the Rhine Valley with its boats, castles and vineyards had long been close to the top of my Travel Wish List; also because I am a beer, meat and potatoes kind of girl and Germany is THE beer, meat and potatoes kind of country.
Because Florence remains my all-time favorite place I ever visited; because I love Italian food and Italian charm, because however much I love sightseeing and exploring new places, my summer vacation had to include a resort-y stay “out in the nature.”
Because I didn’t want to spend my 4.5 hour layover at the airport.
The biggest highlight: there is no photo in the world that could do justice to the Bavarian Alps. The scenery was out of this world and now fills my heart with longing.
The biggest disappointment: I didn’t get to go horseback riding, even once. And for me it is the ultimate escape and adventure. File under “things that could have been managed with better logistical planning.”
The biggest (neutral) surprise: I drank barely any beer during the entire trip. Not just in Italy (even though on my last visit I was all about Moretti), but even in Germany. Instead it was wine and wine and rivers of dry white wine….
The trip in numbers:
Days, including transit: 17
Hours spent in Vienna: 2:15
Souvenir magnets bought: 17 (I need a new fridge!)
Changes of accommodation: 4 (home stay w/The German, Hotel Elder in Munich, Agriturismo Il Cavicchio in Emilia Romagna, Hotel Touring in Bologna)
Horseback trips: 0
Kilometers biked: 12. Yeah, yeah, I usually walk that much on my average Moscow Saturday but it was SO HOT! And it hurt my butt!
Pizzas consumed: 1 (with prosciutto, ricotta, arugula, and fresh mozzarella)
Gelato flavors sampled: 5 (2 kinds of strawberry, raspberry, cherries & cream, plus a mascarpone-coffee-chocolate chips concoction)
Kilos gained: 0, miraculously
Kilos lost: meh, 0-1, maybe? Mostly water weight
New favorite drinks: 2 (Weinschorle and Apfelwein, both in Germany)
Foodstuffs brought home: 8 (strawberry-rhubarb liquor, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, spicy Italian sausage, spicy Italian beef pâté, Modena Balsamic vinegar, white truffle oil, Lindt chocolate bars in 4 flavors, and 2 jars of strawberry-red pepper jam)
Castles/palaces visited: 2 (Neuschwanstein and Linderhof)
Castles/palaces observed from a distance: 10 or so, while surveying the Rhine Valley
Churches/museums visited on the quest to see Ravenna’s glorious mosaics: 6
Highest temperature survived: 42C on my first day in Germany
Bologna’s Secrets uncovered on a 3 am quest: 3, plus 1 more the day before (out of 7)
Naked penises seen in Germany: between a beach at the lake and a day at the sauna, at least 30
The number of times I felt awkward seeing a naked penis gallivanting around: at least 30
Most photos taken on a single day: 1400, on a castle-visiting day trip in the Bavarian Alps
So there you have it. Having concentrated my efforts of the last 6 months on Moscow, following a bit of a blogging ID crisis, I am now shifting gears again, back to travel writing. And then I’ve set a new challenge for myself: to recap all my post-Baltics European adventures from Autumn 2014, which I’ve abandoned around Christmastime. Funnily enough, if I stick with the plan, the schedule of last year’s trips should synch pretty well with this year’s posting calendar, starting with London in October.
As one of my favorite bloggers likes to say — watch this space!