On our first visit to Dusseldorf ten years ago, we felt like it was a city we could see ourselves living in. When we returned home from the US, we looked into study and work abroad programs, to see if it would be possible to move permanently to Europe. It took us a while to finally get there, b three years after our move to Luxembourg, we returned to Dusseldorf for a long weekend to celebrate Erin's birthday just as the Christmas markets and holiday festivities began. Dusseldorf is very walkable, with a pleasant blend of natural parks and lakes within the city, but it also has a gritty element to it similar to Brussels.
We booked a long weekend in Paris with Erin's bro and his friend, Pete, neither of whom had visited Paris before. With limited time and keeping a college budget in mind, we put together an itinerary that would provide a good introduction to the "la Ville Lumière".
Between the hustle of Cairo and history in Luxor, we were lucky spend 5 nights sailing down the Nile, where we felt totally disconnected from the stresses of our lives back home. We chose the Nour El Nil Assouan, an authentic dahabiya riverboat. Each day aboard the Assouan, we would enjoy a breakfast of crepes, eggs, fruit, local goat cheese and homemade jams on the top deck as we sailed down the river to a new destination. We'd explore temples and small towns along the banks of the Nile in the peak of the day, return to the boat greeted with cold drinks and a local lunch, and swim in the river and lounge in the afternoon en route to our next destination. Each night, we returned to the top deck for sunsets and local wine, followed by dinners with our 12 or so fellow shipmates who, by the end of the trip, felt like family.
After two action-packed days in Cairo, we took the first flight of the morning to Luxor to explore the city sprawled across the east and west banks of the Nile River. Luxor, known as Thebes in ancient times, is also reachable by train, but the hour-long flight is a time-saver. Unlike Cairo, Luxor felt airy, open and, along the Nile, almost tropical, fading out to vast deserts.
We started our 11-day Egyptian adventure with two whirlwind days in Cairo - the first we spent exploring the city of Cairo, and the second we immersed ourselves in ancient Egypt, on the outskirts of Giza and inside the Great Pyramid itself. We hired a private guide both days to understand the important historical contexts and also to maximize our short time amongst the mind-boggling sites and locations.
For our first official trip of autumn, we decided to spend a long weekend in the Bordeaux region of France during its annual harvest, or vendanges. After pushing through a gruelling weekend of work meetings and presentations in London (balanced out by a luxe, zen-like stay at the new Nobu hotel in Shoreditch), we jetted out of Gatwick at dinner time Thursday, landing in Bordeaux two and a half hours later.
The Greek Isles are peak Eurosummer. Though we've spent time in the islands each summer since moving to Europe, we decided to take ten days in August to revisit some of our favorite spots with Erin's brother Mason and his friend Pete, welcoming them to Europe on their semester abroad.
We visited Formentera, the smallest of the Balearic Islands just off of Ibiza, only a few weeks ago. Despite not having any unallocated vacation days left, we missed it as soon as we left and decided to go back, to work remotely and take a full week to explore the island in a more low-key fashion than we usually do. Since we've already blogged about our last trip, we decide to write up a quick travel guide of our favorite beaches, restaurants and activities. Formentera is not for all-inclusive resort lovers - it does have perfect, soft, sandy beaches, but accessing them is more adventurous than easy. It doesn't have night clubs or party boats - go to Ibiza for that. However, if you are into a bohemian vibe, Caribbean waters with delicious seafood, Spanish and Italian cuisine - Formentera is the best summer destination in Europe.
When we heard that the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series would be making a stop in Switzerland, we immediately purchased tickets, hoping to get as close as possible to the divers making the 90 feet vertical plunge from a Swiss mountain viewpoint. We hightailed it out of Luxembourg on a quiet Friday in July, and arrived to Sisikon on the shores of Lake Lucerne in about 5 hours.
In the midst of an historic heat wave, we headed to London for a four-day work trip, which consisted largely of practicing even hotter hot yoga, consuming various Pret a Manger and Marks & Spencer takeaway items in our hotel bed and hanging out with friends in too loud but very chic London hotspots. Once we finished up our short work week, we woke up at 3am on a Thursday with a plan to take the train from London Blackfriars to Gatwick ariport for a 6am flight to the Algarve region of Portugal.
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