planes, trains and automobiles (and boats)!

now, i'm finally settled at home. trying to get the laundry done, stock up our refrigerator and catch up in current affairs and celebrity gossip (of course).

it's always exhausting to vacation in europe
- as you want to travel to as many countries as you can. there is just so much to see and do!

5 cities, 3 countries...
total time in transit - 55 hours
total miles travelled - 13,850 miles
short videos taken by s - 97 videos
snap happy - 643 pictures taken

there are some great pictures that i need to still post as they are from the other cameras. there's a couple of hilarious videos as well.

these countries are so different than the ones that i went to for my honeymoon. each city is spectacular in their own distinct way. however, if i had to rank my favorite european cities, it would be as follows:


mykonos - final stop

on our final destination, we took a super jet from santorini to mykonos. again, once we got off the boat, we looked for a hotel from one of the many many solicitors. we decided on this small family-run hotel for only 15 euros a person!!! seriously, what a deal. i know, you might think there is definitely shady about that but believe me, the room was great and clean and the family was incredibly nice and helpful.

mykonos is known for their amazing beaches and party atmosphere. in mykonos town, some places stay open 24 hours!! it is definitely a different crowd from santorini as that was a more romantic island with couples/honeymooners and older people while mykonos is filled with young vibrant party-goers.

umbrellas and chairs on the beach

view from the docks


j and me with the town behind us

santorini - breath taking views

when we were planning our travels to the greek isles, we took a risk by not booking any accommodations. yes, so not my personality huh? many of our friends had mentioned that once you arrive at the port, there are tons of solicitors of small hotels at incredible prices (e.g. 15-30 euros per person!!). it sounds shady but everyone said it was completely legit. since we were still traveling before peak season, we decided that we were going to take the chance and go with one of these hotels.

in santorini, we decided to stay at the northern tip of the island, oia, known for their amazing sunsets. it's not near downtown, so definitely less crowded and more peaceful. tip - if you want to go to the beach, don't stay in oia. since you are virtually at the end of the cliff, there are no beaches!! if you want to lay out, your only option is your hotel pool.

on an unfortunate note, while in budapest, i got a couple of mosquito bites. well, one mosquito bite got infected (how does that happen?) and swelled my entire lower leg!! i looked like i had no ankles! i had to take antibiotics - which meant no alcohol for me. =(

view of oia - isn't it just gorgeous?

s and me over the cliff

one of their typical famous blue domed churches

amazing blue waters along the red rock cliff - see no beach. what's funny is that they claim that there is a beach - to the left of the yellow dock and right of the red boat! that is not a beach and there were jelly fishes everywhere!

different view of white houses with windmill

watching the sunset - at 8:30pm!!

love this shot - looks a bit mystic with the sailboat huh?

athens - acropolis and hot!!

we flew from budapest into athens. we only had one afternoon in athens as we were taking an overnight boat to santorini. all our friends said one afternoon is more than enough time to walk around the acropolis. oh my gosh, it was sooo hot that day. it must have been in the 80°'s and i was wearing jeans and a long sleeve woven shirt! not a wise decision on my part obviously. it's amazing the structures that still stands in the acropolis after thousands of years!

one view of the acropolis

the erechtheion

theathre of herodes atticus - they actually have concerts here still.

p, j, s and me in front of the parthenon

evening view of the acropolis - just so historic!

our boat to santorini - crossing my fingers that i don't get motion sickness

p and j sleeping

budapest - relaxing baths and natural beauty

after an amazing time in prague, we took an overnight train to budapest. the danube river separates this city with the historic and hilly buda on the west and the great plains of the pest on the east. i really didn't know what to expect from budapest but it turned out to be such a gem! the people are beautiful and friendly, the city is gorgeous, the metro system is so user friendly and it's soo cheap here!!!

thermal baths are huge in budapest. it's part of their lifestyle to spend hours alternating between saunas/steam rooms and then dipping into 8° C pools! it was strange and uncomfortable at first, but it really does relax the body. massages are also extremely cheap - an hour for only $40! i only had time for one but would have loved at least one everyday at that price!

margaret island is between buda and pest and is a nice getaway from the city. it was a gorgeous day and we went bike riding around the island.

j&j on their bike

we spent one day at the castle hill, location of some of their most important monuments and museums.

we walked across the chain bridge to castle hill

siklo trolley - amazing race fans - does this look familiar?

matthias church

s and me at the matthias fountain

also at castle hill is the house of hungarian wines. it details 22 different wine regions in hungary and you can taste from each of the regions. let's just say, we lacked some self-restraint in limiting our tastings.

s and me before we started wine tasting

me trying to get in p and j's picture - obviously not completely sober

one of the best adventures is actually traveling up to buda hills, the highest point in budapest. you take a metro to a cog railway to a children's railroad and then hike up to the buda tower. coming back down is the best part because you can take a chair lift.

k, j and me in front of elizabeth lookout tower

s at the very top of elizabeth lookout tower - windy huh?

a view of our view coming down the chair lift


prague - amazing architecture and best beer ever

once we landed in prague, we checked into our hotel and met up with j's friends - p, j and k. we had our very first authentic czech dinner - goulash and potatoes! boy, was it heavy. the beer was amazing and so cheap! about $3 for a liter!

the highlight of prague would have to be the architecture. the castles and churches are just breath taking. prague castle, the world's largest ancient castle, is amazing and you can seriously spend the entire day walking the grounds.

j and me at the royal garden in prague castle

st. vitus cathedral at prague castle

view of vtlava river from the tower at st. vitus - climbing 297 steps!

dancing building

charles bridge over the vltava river

old town square - reminds me of st. marks square in venice (minus the pigeons!)

astronomical tower in old town square

j and s drinking liter pilsners (THE beer of prague)

petrin tower - prague's version of the eiffel tower - 299 steps to the top!

s in a mirror maze by petrin tower

s at the national prague museum

let the amazing race begin!

i feel inspired to start a journal now since i've spent the last couple of weeks out of the country traveling. plus, not working is a bonus! =) i think back to my first trip to europe and realized that i don't really remember too much, so i want to make sure that i have a reference for all the wonderful memories and sites that i've been too. so, as this is my first attempt to start a blog, let's see how long i can keep it up!

so s and i planned a vacation to eastern europe with my sister and her husband, j&j. j actually has some friends on vacation in europe and they will be traveling from amsterdam to meet us in prague. we plan to spend the first couple of days in prague, take an overnight train to budapest for several days, then fly into athens to take a boat to the greek islands of santorini and mykonos. the first half of the trip should be pretty active as there are so many museums, churches and castles to see. the latter half should be extremely relaxing since i plan to do absolutely nothing but sit on the beach or by the pool in the greek isles.