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Half Way There + Bucket List Update



I can’t believe that I am already halfway through my year abroad in Florence. Five and a half months, ten countries, twenty cities (some old, some new), and lots of incredible memories later and I’m nowhere near ready to go home. Ok, maybe a little ready to spend a few weeks in the U.S. binging on Dunkin coffee, Thai food, and J.Crew in August. But I digress.

Before arriving in Florence I created a bucket list, determined to make the most of living abroad in Europe. I finally took a good Eiffel Tower picture. I biked through Amsterdam, sported a dirndl for Springfest, shopped the J.Crew in Paris, and climbed the Castle Hill in Prague.

While I have had so many amazing experiences so far, I’ve only managed to mark off half the items on my list. But then again, bucket lists should inspire, not constrain or dictate your experiences. I have had so many wonderful adventures, like riding pink Vespas in the Tuscan countryside, exploring the Milan Expo, enjoying the French Riviera, celebrating love in Verona, and scaling the Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland, that I didn’t even know I wanted on my original list.

There are a couple of items on the list, like attending Carnivale in Venice, canyoning in Switzerland, and taking the overnight train to Vienna, are still high on my list. But flying to Paris for the day and kissing the Blarney Stone have been cut. I’ve realized I love Paris too much to just stay for the day (I am actually returning next week to meet up with family), and after visiting Dublin and Northern Ireland, I realized there were more important things to do then kiss a touristy rock lol.

So what should I add to my list for the fall? I definitely want to re-wear my dirndls for Oktoberfest and visit the amazing coast and waterfalls of Croatia. I have also thought about a weekend trip to Brussels. Other than that I am at a loss. I’ve tossed around the idea of Dubai, but I haven't settled on anything. I’d love to hear your suggestions and some of your amazing travel experiences!


Can't wait to hear your thoughts!

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Ashley B
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11 comments:

  1. Dubai is said to be fantastic although it's not in Europe, it's in the Middle East.
    I think you should visit one of the Nordic or Baltic Countries! I love Stockholm, my current home town in Sweden, but my heart will always be in Helsinki were I’m borne. Tallinn in Estonia is also really pretty. The best time to visit is in the summer!

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  2. You certainly must come to Brussels, such a nice city. (not biased at all, no I'm not at all from Brussels how dare you even suggest it!) but no seriously if you decide to go I have so many tips because it's not the 'easiest' city, it takes a bit of insider knowledge to make the most of it, in my humble opinion.

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    1. I definitely agree, Brussels is a great city to visit. But yes, you really need recommendations because there are so many lovely things to do here, but also a lot you can avoid. But it's nice in that even in the touristy centre (where we live) there are so many great restaurants and bars, if you just know which ones to choose.

      If you have more time, you should definitely try and see Gent, Bruges, and/or Antwerp. They are all great cities with their own plus-points, but I'm bias to Gent as my favourite due to my Gent-born boyfriend :-)

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  3. I spent a week in Dubai in May and it is a great place to visit! If you go there, try a desert safari (not for the faint-hearted though!), go to the souq (like the spice souq), go on the Burj Khalifa and enjoy a bit of shopping :) I never kissed the Blarney stone either (the queue was insane!) but it's definitely a beautiful castle/ ruin to visit nevertheless - there's more to it than the stone! If you come back to Ireland give Cork, Limerick, Kilkenny and Galway a try - there's more than just Dublin :) I can also really recommend a trip to Glasgow & Edinburgh in Scotland.

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  4. I loved Croatia! So beautiful, and amazing food and wine! We just did the Zagreb and central coast (Trogir, Sibenik, Split, Plitvice, Krka, island hopping) but would have loved to have made it to Istria and to Dubrovnik. We rented a small boat in Trogir for about $100 USD and had a whole day to cruise around the islands. I'm sure you could do this at lots of places along the coast - highly highly highly recommended! When we were there last fall there was a lot of flooding, so much of Plitvice and Krka were closed, which was a bummer. Still absolutely stunning, but we should've researched better so we knew exactly what was open and how to make the most out of our visit.

    and thank you for all of your travel guides! Can't wait to get back to Europe, hoping to visit London in the Fall :-)

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  5. So obsessed with reading about your experiences, you are a travel inspiration!

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  6. I second the Nordics! I live in Helsinki and I love it here :) You can reach Stockholm and Tallinn really easy to reach by ship, and they are wonderful cities, lots of great stuff to see!

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  7. My favourite city in Europe is Copenhagen -- I studied there on exchange, and absolutely fell in love! Gorgeous canals, the Little Mermaid, and Tivoli Gardens (which inspired Walt Disney to create Disney World). There are also so many charming little cafes, bars and boutique stores. You should definitely add it to your list!

    - Obiter Darling

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  8. Spend a weekend in Ibiza. Lay on a quiet beach, rent a catamaran for half a day (I know a guy!), and of course go to a club- even if it's not your thing. I took a side trip there from Portugal last August just so I could say I had danced in the clubbing Capitol of the world. Kind of neat for a California girl to be able to say that.

    Enjoy!

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  9. If you go to Croatia, you should totally do a stop in Slovenia along the way! I was just there a few weeks ago, and it is absolutely beautiful. The people are very friendly and most people I ran into spoke at least some English. I would recommend going to Lake Bled, Ljubljana, and Piran, which is on the coast and looks like an Italian village.
    I also wanted to say that I have been reading your blog for a few months now, and I love it, both as a fellow European traveler and budding historian who wants to live in Europe!

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  10. Stay in a villa in Oia on Santorini is at the top of my list!

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