What started out as a fantasy on a whim last September turned out to a whirlwind 3 and a half week winter European vacation. 5 hours after my final exam (ever!) I flew out of Australia en route to Rome to meet up with the boy. We spent a few days with his huge Italian family in a small seaside town near Rome - eating, drinking, and even more eating. A 'small' Sunday family lunch consisted of about 6 courses, starting with lasagne and ending in all sorts of cakes and pastries. I was not at all prepared for that.
After Rome came Venice, in the aftermath of the floods. It is such a beautiful city, and it's easy to lose yourself in Venice. I managed to find the amazing mask gallery and workshop that I found on my last trip and we spent an hour trying on every single mask you could ever imagine - there were carnivale masks, opera masks, pirate hats, top hats and everything in between.
Onwards to Germany and hello winter. Averaging around 1 degree for the time we were there, it was certainly a new experience. A day trip to Neuschwanstein Castle (the castle Walt Disney based the Disney castle on) saw us high up in the clouds, and ended in a beer and brewery tour - I think it's safe to say that German beer is definitely the best.
A few days in the beautiful medieval city of Prague, followed by a few more in Copenhagen, and we landed in Amsterdam. My favourite new place. The canals, the art, the fashion, the architecture - everything about the city is just beautiful.
Last but not least, we spent a few days in London and inadvertantly stumbled across the world première of Les Miserables. That's right. Just strolling around waiting for a table to become available and the next thing i hear is "and now ... HUGH JACKMAN". I almost lost it, and finally realised what the big crowds were for. We saw the arrival of all the stars - it was a very surreal experience.
Travel will always hold a special place in my heart and to experience a winter with snow was just incredible. I know it won't be long til I return again - but maybe next time with a bigger bag!
Christmastime in Berlin
The majestic Colosseum
The canals of Amsterdam
Neuschwanstein Castle in the clouds of Barvaria