Amsterdam(n)

We flew from Munich to Amsterdam in the afternoon and arrived a little bit on the later side. We ended up taking the metro from the airport to a stop about ten minutes from our Airbnb. We wheeled our bags through the quiet streets and were welcomed by our host at our Airbnb for the next few nights. We were lucky enough to stumble upon a truly lovely apartment on the East Side of Amsterdam. We honestly took a bit of a risk when booking it since it only had one other review, but I am so glad we did! The room was perfect and even had a tv that rose from the footboard of the bed (so cool). After we freshened up a bit, we headed out to grab some dinner at a nearby restaurant we found through TripAdvisor. Described as an “Aussie Bar” we didn’t really know what to expect, but Drover’s Dog was actually delicious. We both got the burger and it was absolutely one of the best I’ve had. After a glass of wine (or three… it was Valentines Day!) we headed back to our apartment for some much needed rest.

We woke up to some rain but headed out anyways for the metro. We ended up buying a 3-day pass for their public transportation because it wasn’t too expensive and we quickly had realized that we couldn’t finagle our way out of paying for tickets (I know, bad) at this stop on our trip. Our first stop of the day was to Gartine, a small cafe just down an alleyway off of one of the main streets downtown. Gartine uses all fresh produce from their backyard garden and sources their dairy and eggs from local places. We both tried the Eggs Benedict and you could truly taste how fresh everything was. After finishing our tea and coffee we set out to explore. The only set plans we had for the day was a trip to the Anne Frank house in the middle of the afternoon, so we focused on just exploring the area around the museum before we had to line up for our entrance time (you MUST purchase tickets in advance online!). We ended up finding some beautiful side streets and stores and snapped some photos. We then ended up at a juice bar where we refueled before we wandered across the Canal to line up for our entrance time.

The Anne Frank House was a spectacular experience and very moving. There were moments I found myself choked up listening to others describe Anne and all the horrors she went through after her and her family were discovered in the secret annex. It was actually my (Emily’s) second time to the house, and I almost appreciated it more this time around. 10/10 a must see/do while in Amsterdam.

We spent the rest of the day wandering through the smaller streets of the Jordaan area of Amsterdam, popping into shops and grabbing pates frites to go with mayonnaise. We really spent all day out of our apartment and didn’t head back until late after a quick dinner and drink at Food Hallen. We took the tram back to our apartment and spent the rest of the night catching up on some Olympic coverage and reading our books.

We woke up a little later the next day and headed to a nearby place called Benji’s for a healthy breakfast before hopping back on the metro to go back to the city center. We had tickets for a tour of the Heineken factory so ended up wandering a bit through the Jordaan area (we couldn’t get enough) before hopping on the tram to take us over to Heineken.

We didn’t really know what to expect with the tour of the factory- but lemme just say, it was basically one giant party. The tour itself was very interesting and interactive with shaking floors and floor to ceiling screens. We ended up having a taster size of Heineken towards the end of the tour and then were ushered into their “bar” area where we were able to enjoy our two complimentary Heinekens. The room where we were able to order our beers was more nightclub then tasting room. There were a TON of people in it and all of them were having the times of their lives. We first tried the H41 beer which we both and never had before (delicious!) and then challenged ourselves to a contest against two other girls to see who could draft the perfect pour of Heineken. One girl got super lucky and had a textbook pour, but Maggie and I weren’t far behind!

We grabbed some Dutch pancakes and beers at a nearby restaurant and then headed home for a nap before a casual dinner near our apartment. Overall, we would both agree that Amsterdam has been our favorite destination so far. The city itself is beautiful and the food has been wonderful, too. We also sincerely enjoyed the attractions we paid for, and if we had had more time we would have loved to have gone to the Van Gogh Museum as well as the Rijksmuseum and maybe popped by the IAmsterdam sign! We can’t wait to visit again someday.

XO, TGTT

A German Cheers!

Dear Munich, thank you for surprising us with more charm and life than we expected!

But really, I’m serious when we say that while we were excited for all of our destinations….we just didn’t know what to expect from Munich. Does that sound bad? Regardless, we were oh so pleasantly surprised!

Munich had so much spunk and entertainment (it did help that we were visiting during their Mardi Gras festivities)! The city center known as Marienplatz is a must visit–even without Mardi Gras festivities, it offers an absurd amount of shops, from local hole-in-the-wall stores to massive shopping centers.

The center is home of the Theatine Church St. Cajetan, which is truly stunning. The architecture here was much more expressive and eccentric than we imagined!

Marienplatz offers tons of great eatery’s, shops, culture, (and with our luck) a ton of live dancing and singing, so we really enjoyed our exploration of this part of the city!

We highly recommend Hofbrahaus Brewery, which can be found here in Marienplatz. It is an extremely lively restaurant that is home to many of Munich’s beers. While you must go for the experience and the beer, of course, I will admit that their traditional German meal simply wasn’t great. Germans are known for their Knodels which are accompanied with gravy (knodels are best transalted as potato dumplings or potato balls), meat such as duck and pork, and sides such as red cabbage. Regardless of the food, this place offered us an experience (and beer) that you should not pass up!

With that being said, if you are looking to eat a super yummy, traditional German meal somewhere, look no further: Wirtshaus in der Au is your place. Like most of the German resturants, it offers large tables with long benches to accompany them, similair to community tables–if you arent able to sit in the small selection of two or four seaters and have a small group (i.e. there was only two of us), you sat at a community table. Again, more of an experience and you meet some cool people too! Anyways, if you are at all interested in the meal I described above, you must go here. The staff was super friendly, offered English menus (thank goodness), and made the experience phenomenal!

Okay, enough about food, for now (even though we can all agree to its importance!). More of our favorite experiences included the Munich Residence! This place was beautiful and offered so much history (thanks to our self-guided tour with headphones) and stunning details!

Not to mention that the German Monarchs were super into bones. Yes, you read that correctly. There was an entire room dedicated to preserved bones (bones of Saints) in their own intricate casing, also known as a Holy Relic. Cool, weird, disturbing? Yup, same.

Scholastic Nymphenburg is another must-see! Although the inside of the palace was closed the day we visited (yes, it was one of the very few days it shuts down….typical), it was still beautiful to walk around and study all of the details and precision. We took a long walk behind the palace, as well. Because it is winter, nothing is in bloom, but the grass was still fairly green and the trees and the water offered a sense of peace and serenity. It was a beautiful palace, and although we are sad that we couldn’t go inside, we are sure that it is totally worth it. I guess on the bright side, it saved us admission fees (LOL).

Overall, we loved our experience in Munich. We were pleasantly surprised by its charm and livelihood and enjoyed pretending we could drink like Germans (even if a giant liter of beer in a mug is seen as small!) Another piece of information that we wanted to make sure to include is the amount of health food stores, restaurants, and cafes they offered. There were juice bars everywhere, cafes that offered only coffee, tea, and açaí bowls, and so many organic places to shop at– it was quite refreshing if you will! In a few words we would describe Munich, Germany as: lively, healthy, and alcoholic! (I don’t know is healthy and alcoholic can go together, but if anyone can do it, it’s the Germans!)

XoXo,

TGTT

When In Vienna

We arrived in Vienna from Zurich rather early in the morning. We ended up having a 9 am flight from Zurich to Vienna which meant we had to wake up at around 5:15 to make our 6:00 am train out of Lucerne to Zurich. Needless to say, it was quite the exhausting morning. We arrived at the airport with luckily plenty of time to spare before our flight. We thought that by this point we were old pros going through security, but those European TSA agents generally have other ideas! Emily was stopped again while going through and had her bag searched. Apparently her makeup bag was a problem so they had to search the whole thing as well as her toiletries again. I bring this up because in the flurry of it all she forgot a very important thing behind in the security line… her entire makeup bag.

Of course we only realized where it was once we had reached our (very cute) Airbnb in Vienna. Now ladies, we all know just how expensive makeup can get- and while it wasn’t all the makeup she owned (duh), it was the nice stuff she uses all the time. AND it doesn’t help that right before the trip she restocked her favorites as well- ugh. Some tears may have been shed, but we dusted ourselves off and thought about how thankful we were that it wasn’t something infinitely more important (aka our passports).

After this debacle we were in serious need of some food and some exploring. We immediately set off towards Belvedere Palace located near the city center of Vienna to grab a bite to eat and to explore the art museum. The museum was lovely and was the perfect place to warm up as it started to flurry a bit outside.

Afterwards we headed towards the shopping district so Emily could restock her makeup and ended up meeting the sweetest makeup counter girl at Douglas (Sephora equivalent in the USA). Her name was Angelina and we chatted for awhile while she did Maggie’s makeup (for fun) and were able to teach her some English slang words and she taught us some key German words.

We headed back to our apartment after this and then stopped for some Italian food nearby to our place. The food we ate was pretty good… but at the end of the meal when the waiter brought over the credit card machines none of ours would go through. With not enough euros in cash to cover the bill, we were getting a bit panicky. The server insisted we keep trying different cards, but we knew that it was his machine and not us. Unfortunately the language barrier didn’t allow for us to convey that, so Emily set out to find an ATM. After walking 1.2 miles round-trip very briskly, she returned and we paid our bill. Only then did the manager stop us and tell us that the machine was not working and that they were working on getting it fixed. Ugh- not the best first day in Vienna!

After sleeping for a solid 10 hours, we woke up the next day and had a quick breakfast at a nearby cafe before we headed to see the famous Nachmarket. This place is so cool! All the eats you could want from sweet to savory, cooking spices like you wouldn’t imagine, restaurants, grocery stores, even clothing stores–needless to say, we wish we had a little market as extravagant as this one, back home!

Soon after our exploration of the market, we took the train to Schonbrunn Palace on the outskirts of Vienna. We’ll be honest, we haven’t spent money on our transportation options recently because no one checks to make sure you have a ticket or validates it! While we are all for honesty and paying your way- but we noticed that we were the only ones actually stopping by the ticket machines, so we eventually gave it up.

Schonbrunn Palace was beautiful even though the grounds weren’t in bloom and the trees were bare. We really enjoyed our self guided tour of the house with the complimentary audio guide. The guide wasn’t boring in anyway- it actually went into depth about the intrigue and scandal of the rulers that once lived there. We wish we had pictures from inside the palace, but it was unfortunately strictly forbidden.

We’ll be honest- Vienna wasn’t our favorite. While the city and palaces were beautiful, it just didn’t offer the same excitement or uniqueness that the other places we had been did. Emily had been to the city two years before during the summer and absolutely loved it. She was able to lounge in the gardens of the palaces and experience seeing the Spanish Riding School at Belvedere Palace. She even stumbled across a livestream of an Opera ballet outside of the Vienna Opera House that had attracted a bevy of locals drinking wine and having a picnic dinner. The feeling of Vienna in the wintertime is quite quiet and closed-off. While still beautiful, it seemed as though there were less people willing to linger around and enjoy the scenery. It is definitely a location to see in the summer instead of the winter. In a few words, we would describe Vienna, Austria as theatrical, architectural, and metropolitan.

As always, thanks for keeping up!

TGTT

Looking Back On Lucerne

Switzerland, as expected, was just dreamy! One of us (Maggie) had already been once before, many years ago, and had been extremely excited to head back and explore the beautiful country more. Emily was a first timer, but was just as eager to finally see Switzerland herself.

Starting with our airport experience, we were off to a rough start. Our plane out of Edinburgh, which had a connector to Paris, was delayed about an hour. This had our nerves racing because we hadn’t found out if our connecting flight into Zurich was also delayed, and if it was not–the chances of making our connecting flight were slim to none . One thing we wanted to note is that Edinburgh’s carry-on security was extremely strict with liquids. Being from the States, we are use to the constant struggle of keeping all liquids to a maximum size of 3 fl. oz., and we thought that was strict—no. Edinburgh requires that the liquids are not only under the 3 fl. oz. requirement, but that ALL liquids packed must fit into a large sandwich-bag-size and it must zip. Mind you, all of our liquids were under the liquid portions but because we are traveling for an entire month (make-up, toiletries, detergent), we had to part with many items that were of significance to our trip: all laundry detergent packets were thrown out, all lotions, perfumes, vitamin E oil….okay you get it, a lot! We’d be lying if we didn’t admit we were both devastated!

Nonetheless, an hour late, we boarded our plane, the plane was de-iced, and we took flight. We landed in Paris and much to our relief our connecting flight had been delayed about an hour or so. After running through the airport because we were still quiet nervous, we arrived with plenty time to spare! We grabbed some large and delicious macaroons and pulled up our books on our iPads.

We soon boarded our connecting flight in Paris and without issues, made it safely to the Zurich Switzerland Airport. After a quick bite to eat, we purchased our train tickets to take us from Zurich to Lucerne and walked across the street to board to train. Once we traveled by train to Lucerne, our AirBnb was only about a half a mile walk. Now about 9pm, after a very long and stressful day of traveling, we were ready to hit the hay and hit the ground running the next morning.

Our first day in Lucerne was filled with walks around the city, a walk across the oldest bridge in Europe, lots of chocolate and treats, a sweet little cafe with incredible crepes, and a trip up to Mount Pilatus.

While Mount Pilatus is a must, it is important that it is a clear day, or else the views are less than spectacular because you truly cannot see anything (the tickets are also very expensive 58 USD, and therefore more reason to want to make sure you are going to be able to get the full experience). Unfortunately, the day we went it was very foggy and the incredible views were not able to be captured. While this was unfortunate, the experience was still very cool and we enjoyed a nice local, cold brew at the top of the mountain!

With that being said, a crucial piece to note is that Switzerland is extremely expensive. We cannot emphasize this enough! We both knew going into this, that Switzerland was going to be our most expensive stop and that it would require a lot of precaution. Boy, even preparing ourselves for the costs was not enough! That beautiful and delicious crepe, pictured above, was nearly 18 USD, a latte was usually around 8 USD, and a simple burger with fries was 20 USD (don’t even get me started on 2.50 USD for cheese!!!). Okay, I’m done. But seriously, although we would never steer anyone away from the truly incredible Switzerland experience, it is very important to understand the cost.

Moving on, for the second day in Switzerland, we decided to take a day trip to Interlaken (something we were dying to do!). The train ride was 2 hours and again was expensive at about 68 USD, both ways. Totally worth it, nonetheless! One thing we were extremely excited about when arriving in Interlaken was the famous Harder Kulm mountain that is said to offer the best views of Interlaken, as well as Eiger, Month, and Jungfrau. Much to our dismay, Harker Kulm is closed in the winter. Can you say BUMMER! We were really looking forward to the views and the restaurant that sat at the top of the mountain and offered delicious fondue. Anyways, we choked down our sorrows and had a laugh–I mean what else can you do. We tried to look on the bright side and figured that the views were probably going to be very clouded and thus saving us money. We decided to walk around the very cute town. Fun fact: it is said the be THE safest place in the world! Anyways, after grabbing a quick bite to eat and grabbing some much needed chocolate, we set off to find a secluded spot that would offer gorgeous views of the lake. And that we did!

Switzerland is definitely a place that you just can’t get enough of. It offers an array of views, from mountains, to lakes, to slopes, to quiet and quaint towns—it really has it all. In a few words we would describe overall Switzerland as crisp, stunning, and blue!

Thanks for reading,

TGTT

Do We Have To Leave Edinburgh?

Oh, Edinburgh. Where to even begin. We loved our time in Edinburgh and sincerely wish we had a day or two more to explore the nooks and crannies of the city.

We flew to Edinburgh directly from Dublin, early in the morning on the 3rd of February. We got to the airport with plenty of time before our flight and ended up having to check our bags though, since they were just a bit too big for the overhead bins on EasyJet (ugh). Once we landed we opted to take an Uber from the airport to our apartment as the public transportation options were just going to take too long. It ended up costing just about 25 pounds for a pretty decently long journey (so split between us was worth it). So, all in all a solid decision that saved us a good bit of time!

After arriving at our Airbnb (hosted by the loveliest woman named Judith who shared her seriously beautiful and clean flat with her two huge and snuggly rag doll cats, Monty and Duke) we opted to take a bit of a rest instead of exploring right away. The weather outside wasn’t great and Maggie was still fighting off a wicked cold- so, we instead napped a bit and then had an early dinner at a delicious Italian restaurant nearby called Vittoria on The Walk before heading to bed.

We woke up early the next day to catch our tour with Rabbie’s from their cafe located luckily only about a 15 minute walk away. We were able to grab some coffee and a pastry before boarding onto the small Mercedes Sprinter van for our tour of the Western Highlands. Our tour guide was hilarious and made the trip that much more wonderful. He even stopped just outside of Edinburgh at the Forth Bridges for a photo opportunity just as the sun was starting to rise in the sky. The view was honestly breathtaking.

As we continued on we made a few stops, including one at Castle Doune- which, fun fact, was one of the locations for filming for both Outlander and Game of Thrones. So cool. After another stop at a beautiful Loch (where Emily accidentally got a ton of water in her boots thus requiring a purchase of socks at a small store in the middle of nowhere…), we headed on to one of our main attractions, Inveraray Castle and the village of Inveraray. After a photo opportunity at the Castle (which was closed to visitors at the time) we were able to grab lunch on our own in the Loch-side village of Inveraray.

Inveraray is ridiculously quaint with stunning views out over Loch Fyne and some cute, small eateries to enjoy some authentic fish and chips at. After lunch by the fireside, we boarded back on the van and to a lookout called “Rest and Be Thankful”-which absolutely lived up to its name. Our final stop was to Loch Long for another photo opportunity of the crystal clear waters of the Loch as the sun was going down.

After returning to Edinburgh we grabbed a light dinner at a Mediterranean restaurant nearby to our apartment and then headed off to bed before our final day in Edinburgh.

________________

After our adventure filled day the day before, we had a bit of a lie in before grabbing breakfast at Papii in Edinburgh’s New Town and then climbed the hill up to Edinburgh Castle to take in the spectacular views of the city from above. After some pictures, we walked down the Royal Mile and popped into a few shops. We also stopped by The Elephant House where J.K. Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter book to experience the birthplace of Harry Potter (pretty exciting- Emily was geeking out). After a beer and some soup at a nearby pub, we headed to The Collonades at the Signet Library for something we had planned for weeks.

The Collonades hosts high tea in the afternoons in a stunning space just off the Royal Mile. It costs 33 Pounds and includes unlimited tea with a savory plate and a sweets plate. It was the perfect place for us to rest in the warmth and fill up on finger sandwiches and pastries. It was also incredibly quiet inside the library and we couldn’t help giggling when one of us dropped a spoon or laughed a bit too loud. It was almost as if some grandmotherly figure was going to pop out at any moment and scold us! But, nevertheless we loved our high tea experience and felt like proper English girls,

As mentioned before, we would have loved to have just a bit more time to explore Edinburgh. We really wanted to see Dean’s Village and just be able to have some more time to wander around the beautiful streets. Both of us agreed though that it was a place we could see ourselves returning to and even living (dreaming big here). It had such a wonderful impact on us and we cannot wait to return. In a few words we would describe Edinburgh as architectural, cultured, and whimsical.

XO,

TGTT

An Irish Experience

Hey ya’ll, we are so excited to finally shared some of our favorite moments, experiences, and thoughts from our trip to Dublin, Ireland.

First off we wanted to put an emphasis on the weather, especially for those of ya’ll who will be or want to travel during the winter months. In the best words: you will see all weather patterns in one day (except snow, they only get that MAYBE two days out of the year!). The first day we were there it rained, sleeted, the sun shined, and it was overcast.

Okay, so now that we have covered the weather patterns we came across in just a mere three days, we’ll get to the experiences! First and foremost, Guinness Storehouse is a must! Although it’s so touristy, it is truly so cool and fun! The tour cost 25 euros with our discount through Wild Rover Tours; this included a self tour throughout the vast and very interesting storehouse, a tasting that included a mini tutorial (if you will) and then a free pint of beer! Pretty cool and inexpensive experience if you ask us! The gravity bar is a necessity too; drink your free beer with an incredible view over the city of Dublin!

Since we are in Dublin, Ireland, we of course also had to do the Jameson Whiskey tour! The Irish sure do like to get their drink on and we couldn’t help but feel it was fitting to visit it all! Anyways, the Jameson tour was very cool as well, it was a guided tour; very sensory and educational. Our tour guide was hilarious and made the experience all the more entertaining. Although we are both NOT whiskey drinkers, the tasting was fun and it also included a free drink at the end–again must do!

We also booked a tour with Wild Rover Tours to see the Cliffs of Moher, Burren, and Galway. Everyone must do this, I repeat: everyone must do this. This was incredible–one of those truly jaw-dropping experiences as we saw all the sights we yearned to see. The Cliffs were the epitome of pictures do not do it justice, it was seriously stunning.

Burren was a quick stop on our tour, but nonetheless made an impact on us. We actually had no idea we were stopping here, so it was a surprise for us which made it even more magical! The best way to describe Burren would be beautiful, quaint, and zen, so zen!

Galway was the last stop of our tour before heading back to Dublin and it allowed us to see another city-like area, aside from Dublin, and experience even more culture and eateries. Not to mention, Ed Sheeran practiced and played here often before becoming a hit sensation (we love ourselves some Ed Sheeran!) The tour was 40 euros and more than worth it, actually quite inexpensive for all the driving and sights that were seen!

Our last day consisted of feeling more like townies than tourists. Finding a little breakfast nook was a must, there are so many cafes that are highly recommended and delicious. We found an amazing brunch place by St. Stephen’s Green that had a perfect avocado toast on soda bread (so Irish) and delicious lattes. We continued our self-guided culinary tour with a hole-in-the-wall Korean place for lunch called Brother’s Dosirak where we were able to get a huge bento box to share for only about ten Euros. It was in the back of an Asian grocery, which was odd, but only added to the charm. After our bellies were full, we visit Trinity College and saw the Book of Kells in the stunning library. Although considered one of the 100 things to see before you die, we have to admit it was a bit anti-climatic, but nonetheless gorgeous. At night after our last dinner we visited Temple Bar which is the lively part of Dublin, which is considered a very touristy place–but still a lively and young area with a lot of culture.

Overall, we enjoyed our stay in Dublin, and were in awe at the view that the countryside had to offer. In a few words we would describe Dublin, Ireland as metropolitan, alcoholic (LOL), and busy.

Thanks for reading and check back for our Scotland blog soon,

TG/TT ❤

One Wintry Month In Europe, One Small Carry-On

Carry-on bags are packed and zipped (with minimal struggle)! Okay ya’ll, we’ve been anxiously awaiting this post for two reasons, one being that most of y’all are super excited and curious to see how we manage to pack for a month in a carry-on bag, and two because we were just as curious as to how we were going to execute this task!

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

Okay, so how did we pack for an entire month in wintry Europe? Well the honest answer to that is: we technically didn’t. When backpacking and traveling for a long period of time, you pack for a week, and you pack smart! Every single item must match with all the other items packed. In our case, you pack warm and you pack the necessities. Don’t worry about the possiblities because there simply isn’t room to pack a warm outfit “just in case”…..it wont be warm.

Packing List:

  • 4 shirts
  •  4 pants
  • 1 set of pjs/loungewear
  • 1 set of base layers
  • 1 hat, 1 ear warmer
  • 1 set of gloves
  • 1 scarf
  • 5 socks
  • 1 pullover
  • 1 short downfeather jacket and 1 long downfeather jacket (these are essential and they pack up so nicely!)
  • 1 raincoat
  • 1 pair of rain boots
  • 1 pair of fashion boots (we chose over-the-knee boots b/c they are easy to dress up and down)
  • 1 pair of snow boots
  • Slippers (for Airbnb and Hostel lounging)
  • 7ish pairs for underwear (we bought sink washing detergent to keep underwear washed in between Airbnb’s that don’t offer a washer)
  • 1 regular bra
  • 1 sports bra
  • Minimal 3 fl.oz. toiletries (meaning basic hygiene only)
  • 1 compact umbrella
  • 1 universal plug adaptor
  • 6 pack of travel sink packets (we used Tide Sport)
  • iPad (blogging and books!)
  • Tech chargers


*(side note: our bulky snow boots will be worn on the plane due to lack of space)*

Let me also tell you that even packing this minimal would not be possible without our ever-loving Travel Space Saver Bags…we literally owe it all to these bad boys! (You can find the link below the picture!)

Space Saver Bags From Amazon

The last crucial component that we feel so strongly about is going with a backpack purse. Something light in weight and attractive in style. It allows for extra space for any suitcase overflow, is much more practical when traveling and sightseeing, and is overall more comfortable (no shoulder bags slipping off your shoulder while bundled up and trying to take pictures!) I went with the Longchamp Le Pliage Backpack that you can see below.

Longchamp Le Pliage Backpack

Wow, even writing this post makes me impressed, all over again, that we were able to accomplish this! One short packing list, one small carry-on and THREE MORE DAYS TO GO!

Thanks for keeping up,

Maggie