Getting across the pond costs a small fortune these days, which is why once you're there, you should make the most of all the relatively cheap intra-continental European travel options. With 28 weekends burning a hole in my calendar, it is tough to decide where to go and what to do! I have already talked about the new places I'd like to visit this year, but I also have a bucket list of sorts - things I have always wanted to do or see. I figured 10 was a good goal for this winter and spring.
1) Attend Carnivale in Venice (complete with mask of course)
I have never been in Italy during Carnivale (February) so I am very excited to have the opportunity to go. The history, the fireworks, the parades, the masks, the costumes... I could go on and on. Believed to date from the 12th century, the Venetian Carnivale became an important part of Venetian culture, and many argue that through the anonymity of the mask, Venetians used Carnivale as a means to invert rigid social hierarchies (and have a lot of fun).
2) Wear a dirndl in Munich for Springfest (and I definitely be rocking this hairstyle)
Springfest (Fruhlingsfest) is the Spring version of Octoberfest. Obviously Octoberfest would be on my bucket list if I was going to be there in October, but I will have to settle for Springfest. I can't wait to wear a dirndl (apparently lots of people - a.k.a. tourists - do this) and drink Bavarian beer (obviously).
3) Bike through Amsterdam
Since Amsterdam is the most bike-friendly capital city in the world, biking through Amsterdam is a must! I will probably play it safe and take a professional guided tour. I want to make sure I abide by the rules of the road... also safety in numbers (I fear I am not a great biker)!
4) Finally take a good picture in front of the Eiffel Tower
I've been to Paris multiple times, but I have yet to capture the perfect Eiffel Tower pic (with me in it). I need to follow my own advice and take more pictures of myself this time around. Fortunately, I will have a willing partner in crime, Nicole. And we will be referencing this great article by one of my favorite bloggers - Paris in Four Months - which gives you the best views of Paris's iconic tower.
5) Visit J.Crew in Paris (#nojudgement)
Ok seriously, don't judge me. I really want to do this. One, because by the time it opens in March I will need a J.Crew fix, and two, because I am really curious how they will style things differently to suit Parisian tastes, or if they will carry different items altogether. I like to think of it as fashion research.
6) Climb Castle Hill in Prague
What can I say I love climbing things, and I really love climbing old things! At the top of Prague's Castle Hill is the largest ancient castle in the world, need I say more?
7) Take the overnight train to Vienna
If there is one thing I love more than climbing things when I travel, it is taking the overnight train. No airport stress, no layovers, no delays (most of the time), and you get to sleep lying down! I have only taken the overnight train from Paris to Venice, so Vienna is next on my list.
8) Fly to Paris, just for the day
My friend Anna and I have joked about buying some of those insanely cheap one-day offers that European carriers often offer. They are so cheap that if it turns out we can't go, we just won't. For twenty euros I am definitely down for strolling the Champs Elysees for an afternoon! Paris is worth playing hooky for a day.
9) Go canyoning in Switzerland
Switzerland this summer surprised me, I had no idea how much fun it was! It was a tough decision this summer whether to go canyoning or paragliding, and we ended up going paragliding. I don't regret that decision, it was incredible, but now I am excited to go canyoning!
10) Kiss the Blarney Stone
When Nicole insisted we add Ireland to our spring trip itinerary, I wasn't super excited. Not that I don't want to go to Ireland, it just isn't on the top of my list. But the more I researched the more excited I became. As corny (and super-touristy) as it is, I really want to kiss the Blarney Stone! Legend says that if you kiss this 15h-century stone you will be granted the gift of gab and never run out of things to say.
What's on your European bucket list?
And feel free to suggest things I might have missed!