Back in the summer, Mere & I were debating whether or not to fit another trip in sometime in August, as our travel schedule was already fairly full. That being said, when Lanie (a friend of ours here in Maastricht) asked if we’d like to join a group trip down to Bordeaux, how could we refuse? As a bonus, our friend Kelly was also able to come up from Sicily for the weekend, so we had a great group of people with whom to explore one of France’s most famous wine regions!
I just came up with that title all on my own. We’d heard wonderful things about the quaint Belgian town, so in mid-July, we decided to go up and spend a romantic weekend exploring. The movie has certainly helped to fuel Bruges’ robust tourist industry, and we can attest to the crowds out and about on a lovely summer weekend. We had also heard it called “the Venice of the North” by a number of sites online…but let’s just be clear right now, Bruges is nothing like Venice. If you expect Venice, you will be sorely disappointed. If you expect a cute Belgian town bursting with beer and the delicious, wafting scent of chocolate, you will love it!
Part 2 of the Robert & Beth adventure continues! Monschau had always been on the list of potential places to take our friends, as it’s just about the cutest little German town you could ever see. Mere happened to find sommerbobbahn (a summer mountain slide) nearby; in addition to being super fun to say, it cemented our decision to spend the afternoon in Germany.
Back in July, we had the first visitors to our charming lil’ town: Robert & Beth were looking for a bit of a European adventure, and we were more than happy to play host! It was fantastic having friends visit (especially ones who share our love of games), and we had a great time while they were here.
What if there were tons of beautiful places within an hour’s drive of your house that you were unaware of? What if you could search other people’s pictures to see if it would be worthwhile to visit them? Well…there are, and you can! Through the power of Google Maps, you can transform your next road trip into a one-of-a-kind adventure, exploring hidden gems that might only be known to locals.
Early in the summer, Mere & I started seeing intense posters at all our favorite watering holes for something called the Battle of Maestricht. We initially thought it was some sort of local band competition, but it turns out it’s an awesome obstacle course/cross-country run thing (a la Tough Mudder) that happens right in our backyard! Of course we were in, and we dragged some friends along for the fun.
When work gives you the opportunity to go to Norway for a week in June, you take it! That was the lesson I learned after my week-long trip to Oerland in June. The Oerland Peninsula is not exactly known for tourists, or even for being one of the prettiest places in Norway; my Norwegian friends looked at me rather skeptically after I enthusiastically told them how much I loved it. Nevertheless, I couldn’t help falling in love with the landscape: it had that completely raw, breathtaking beauty in every rock crevasse and hidden beach. Here are my favorite things about Oerland!
Post-Venice adventures, we met up with three of Chris’s Sicily friends at the Trieste airport so we could travel together to Lake Bled in Slovenia! In retrospect, traveling from Ljubljana might have been slightly easier, but Trieste and Ljubljana both offer a fair number of transport services directly to Lake Bled. I got to know Nicki, Melanie, and Lizz in the van as the scenery of the Slovenian countryside grew increasingly gorgeous around us. It took about an hour-and-a-half to get to the Airbnb, whereupon it was apparent that 1) the lake and its surroundings are stunning, and 2) we were starving.
Over Memorial Day weekend, Mere & I made plans to meet up with some my friends from Sicily in Lake Bled, Slovenia…more on that to come! Our long weekend was slightly shifted from their long weekend, though, so we had a day to kill somewhere on the Italian-Slovenian border. Mere had never been to Venice, so we hopped a train from Trieste (or Monfalcone, strictly speaking) and went down to check it out!
We’ve been in Maastricht long enough to get comfortable, and a product of that is starting to explore the restaurant scene. I’d heard about Witloof, a highly recommended Belgian place, but it quickly moved up in priority once I saw a picture of their beer cellar.