I wanted to write this article after we got back and of course, as life happens, I've been so busy trying to get back into routine (rather diving head first back into routine!!). So it has been a good 3-4 weeks since we have been back from Europe and I'm starting to get a good idea of what details everyone wants to know about from seeing you all! I thought I would make a 'round up' of these questions to help everyone else out! If there's anything I missed, just comment below and we can chat!
Q: What was your favorite place you went?
A: This is my #1 question I've been receiving and actually I get this a lot in general about all the places I've been! Guys... This. Is. Hard. My usual response is well it depends what you're looking for... Personally Stonehenge was probably my favorite of the trip. BUT that was because I've been dying to see it for a legitimate ten years. I remember studying it in class and my fascination with it was a bit obsessive. And let me tell you - it didn't disappoint! Our tour guide said that a lot of people when they get to the site they comment that it is a lot smaller than they imagined. In my humble opinion, those people didn't deserve to visit it! I think for them it was hard to visualize the actual work, skill, and knowledge that was put behind the whole concept of the site. Also, if you take a look at the picture of J (picture to the left - he is over 6 foot) next to the stone, you can see just how MASSIVE they are. But that's me. My advice: if you want to go see it, buy the inner circle pass, absolutely worth it!! But again, we went to 5 countries and each have their own flavor to offer!
Q: How do you afford to go to all these places?
A: First, (1) we save our money to go places because it's important to us - it's a hobby just like anything else. And (2) we maximize rewards points. Our flights over to Europe and back AND our hotels were all taken care of through points (Jason is a points guru FYI). READ THAT LINE AGAIN. There are so many things you are doing daily that you can be getting rewarded for. My biggest suggestion is if you're still swiping a debit card or paying cash for things, you should switch to a credit card. I know people get intimated by this or say they can't, but I'm here to tell you that I pay my credit card bill off at the end of the month with all the expenses I had in the month - gas, groceries, etc. It adds up! Happy to chat more about this if you'd like.
Q: What was that bone thing you went to?
A: Kutńa Hora! Google Prague and it's in the top suggestions of places to visit. This is actually the name of the town. The actual structure is called Sedlec Ossuary, which is a chapel decorated with human skeletons - yes real human skeletons. Some people love this - others it has turned off when I said human bones. This was my top priority for J and I to go to when in Prague. If you have chatted with me any, there were few things that I told Jason I HAD to go to. This was 1 of (maybe?) 3.
Q: Where did you stay?
A: Well, like I said above, we booked our trip on points. In Prague we stayed at a Marriott, I linked the specific one here. I really liked the location of this one. We were nearby some local restaurants such as Three Pigs (U Trí Prasátek) where you could get traditional cuisine - Pig Knee, yum! Also, there was a mall with a grocery mart right across the street that we grabbed a case of water, breakfast, snack food, and occasionally a sandwich from; we had a mini fridge in our room! Uber was cheap to get to the downtown areas that we wanted to go as well. Overall, I felt we were very central to what we were looking for in Prague.
In London, we stayed in a Hilton brand hotel, as well as in Dublin. London was a DoubleTree - click here for the exact one. This hotel was nice; they had a very nice breakfast selection and since we are Diamond for Hilton status, it was free. Again, nice location. I don't feel there was much to eat around us, but we never really tried. Great walking distance for everything! Don't Uber or Taxi here, take the Tube.
Ireland we also stayed in a Hilton brand, but it was Hilton Garden, click here. It was easy to find from the public bus shuttle from the airport, seemed like a newer hotel, and their breakfast was high above par. Location was very nice, right along the river. Dublin is a bit more spaced out so you will do some walking to visit some locations. For example, from the hotel to Guinness it was 2 miles to walk - but there are places along the way that help you get there.
Q: Where are you going next?
A: We do not have anything set in stone. The only reason we had this one booked so far ahead was because of the points booking. We know we want to go to Machu Picchu (Peru) before we get too far up there in age where our knees hurt too bad (HA!!). On our vacation, we did both say next vacation needs to be a butt in the sand, hand in the drink kind of vacation (relax). We are very much beach people at heart, but love a good historical adventure.
Other common questions were regarding food and if J proposed.. *LOL!* Y'all are funny. Also, yes, it was hard to get back into the routine of things. Jet lag was worse going over to Europe as we jumped ahead time; my sleep pattern was out of control. But coming back I found easier as we had a day flight (versus night flight over there) back and stayed up until (or lasted until, however you look at it) until about 8pm CST, which would have been about 2am there. We landed Saturday evening so slept fine into Sunday and I was awake by 4am CST on Monday so I jumped right into work early playing catch up. Of course then I came down with strep Monday night into Tuesday.... YAY!
Other things: suitcase packing. Yes, we did check luggage. J found that he could have gotten away with a carry-on. I, however, could not have. My sweaters/layers are too bulky and I would have froze. Mind you, we were gone for 2 weeks exactly. And we even went into Chicago a night earlier due to all that awful winter weather we were having! If you're looking for a really awesome hotel by Rosemont, click here. I was blown away by this hotel... Ask J, I don't get very impressed by many things. Think weekend getaway with this - nearby the outlets, obviously in Rosemont area for entertainment events, and there is a Dave and Buster's literally across the parking lot. Easy! Done.
I have a ton of other side-bar comments about places that are worth it or not worth it if anyone is interested or traveling to where we went and actually want my opinion on something - right or wrong, everyone is different! Tips such as London's restaurants shut down on Sundays sooo get your food early (unlike us!) or maybe to avoid the Shard if you don't need another 'city view'. I'm happy to assist where I can.
Have I covered the Europe trip enough? Anything you guys want to see that I haven't blogged about? Leave me a comment! Send me a message on Facebook or Instagram (thanks for all the love when I was out and about)! I love to hear from y'all.
An adventurous soul, a kind heart, and a sarcastic mouth. You never know which you will get.