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.
May (okay, we’re a little behind) happens to be bursting with German holidays; fine by me, as it means lots of travel opportunities! It was especially fortuitous because Carolyn (Chris’s real sister and my soul sister) decided to take a jaunt to Ireland for a week, and it just so happened that I had a long weekend that gave us the chance to meet up. Add the fact that I have long wanted to visit the Irish homeland, and this was truly a concordant crossroads!
Here’s the second half of our Berlin adventure…which involved getting out of Berlin for most of the day. 😀 We had read that Potsdam was a cool place to visit if you had the time to get out there, and Mere had fond memories from her visit there with her mom when she was in high school. So, Saturday morning we grabbed some goodies at a local bakery and hopped on a city train to go check it out!
…’cause we went to Berlin. Get it? GET IT?!? Credit for this trip actually goes to our friends Caylie & Dan. Caylie got in touch with us awhile ago, saying that she and Dan were planning a stay in Prague, along with a side trip or two. Mere would just be starting training, so an extended stay in Prague was out, but we could totally do a weekend in Berlin!
Not really; classic misdirection! It’s kinda been glossed over in this forum, but I like to play ultimate frisbee *a lot*. Mere (being the wonderful wife that she is) indulges me in the occasional weekend tournament, so one weekend in April we drove up to Ghent for their G-Spot tournament.