Exploring & Escapades

bits & pieces of my travels

Tag: Europe

Dunkirk

Travelling from Belgium home to Cambridge via a French ferry. That was how we ended up in Dunkirk on this smooth and icy surface of sand. Industrial, open. T

here wasn’t much time or much to see. We we were here for a moment, only imagining what it would have been like to escape the beach. 

Brugge

Beautiful Brugge, my second visit, this time for the Christmas Markets. Fourteen of us made the ferry voyage from England; one travelled via train from Brussels. We were a large group in a small city, and we all had a wonderful time. Disorganized, but together to kickoff the holiday season. Chocolate, beer, waffles, and all.

Lissewege

Little Lissewege, fifteen minutes outside of Brugge via train. It was so quiet and cobbled; sometimes, we felt that we were the only people there. To the market, in the pub, on the platform – we *were* the only people.

Our AirBnb, a renovated cafe, slept all 15 of us comfortably. And that’s what brought us here to this village of which I had previously never heard. An old cafe, a home for the group. A weekend escape from England, only four hours and one ferry ride away, within reach of all.

Dublin

One day in Dublin, better than no days in Dublin for sure.

Ireland is so close to England that it’s often very easy to find insanely cheap flights back and forth between the islands – sometimes within the same day. That was how I found myself at the Cliffs of Moher on a random mid-week afternoon last year and also how I found myself wandering the streets of Temple Bar  last Wednesday. The flight cost $16, which for anyone keeping track, is less than half of what it would cost me to go to London from Cambridge for the day.

Of course, one should spend more time in Dublin if he/she can, but if  not, it is actually possible to accomplish quite a lot in ten hours. After we landed just after 11:00 am, we took a bus into town, visited Trinity College Library and the Book of Kells, walked around Temple Bar district, had a delicious lunch as a hipster cafe across the river, and managed to squeeze in even more wandering past the castle and famous cathedrals before the sunset. Then, it was on to the Guinness Storehouse, because “when in Rome/Dublin.” I admit, I was initially turned off by the idea of giving my money to something that was so obviously a tourist trap, but actually Guinness ended up being my favorite part of the day. Beer can make anything great. The panoramic views of the city at dusk also helped.

By 10:30 pm that evening, we were back on the ground at London Stansted, exhausted, but happy to have made the trip. A wonderful Wednesday adventure, something I would definitely do again. 

Mirabell Palace


Mirabell Palace and Gardens, of Sound of Music Do-Re-Me fame. It was much smaller than I expected (some sources told us to spend hours here – we had walked through in maybe 20 minutes), but every bit as intricate and regal as imagined. I was excited to stand at the garden gates and under the tunnel for pictures; my mom loves the Sound of Music movie, and I knew she would appreciate the visuals.

If I had more time to spend in Salzburg, I would have loved to do an entire Sound of Music tour throughout the city. For this quick trip, Mirabell Palace was a perfect (very quick) fix. 

 

Salzburg

Three hours in Salzburg, birthplace of Mozart and delicious mozartkugel. Not too much time, but enough to wander the streets, the cemetery, the palaces, the squares. All charming, colorful, and a bit wet on this particular Sunday afternoon. 

It was a three hour drive to the city from where we were staying in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, and we didn’t need to be at the airport in Nuremberg until evening, so we decided to make the (albeit short) trip. I’m very glad that we did.

It’s a beautiful, quaint city. 

 

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