cinque terre, italy

Last year Julius and I went spent the Pentecost holiday in Cinque Terre on the western coast of Italy. The Cinque Terre National Park is home to 5 colorful little fishing villages perched upon rocky cliffs and terraced hillsides over the deep-turquoise hued waters of the Ligurian Sea.

The five villages are Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. We stayed in Corniglia, the village in the center of the five, which is the only one that isn’t directly on the sea. It sits high up on a hill and is only accessible by climbing many, many stairs. We loved staying in Corniglia, because the day-tourist crowds aren’t as heavy there as in the other four villages, it has a great panoramic view of the ocean and the neighboring villages, and it offers good access to the hiking trails.

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Corniglia is called the turtle village. From the sea, you can see how the main part of the village (on the right) looks a bit like a turtle shell on top of the hill.

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patrick and prague

My favorite person (brother Patrick) came to visit me in Germany for about 10 days in May. Just after he arrived, we went to Prague for a long weekend. It is a 5 hour bus trip to Prague from Munich (quicker that you can get there on a train) and the fare was just about 50 EU. For those folks reading from southern Germany – I’d recommend the weekend trip! This post is mostly just snapshots of our time there.

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freiburg, colmar, strasbourg & tübingen

On our most recent quest to see more of Germany, we got really ambitious and went to France! Ha. Actually, we rented a car and went westward for 3 days, making a little round trip through Baden-Württemberg (the state next door to Bavaria) and crossing over into the Alsace region of France to see a couple of towns there as well.

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sailing on the nieuw amsterdam

One of the first things I did after arriving in Europe (actually five days after my arrival), was to pack up and fly to Barcelona to board Holland America’s cruise ship, the Nieuw Amsterdam. This is where my brother works! His performing contract began this past May and lasts through next April. Currently, they are sailing through the Mediterranean, and around the end of October, they will cross over to the Caribbean for the winter and spring. Tough life, eh?

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