Happy New Year (only 48 days late)!

Let me share with you why.  Our holidays were spent very low key.  We had Christmas in our beautiful home in Colorado and rang the new year by watching the ball drop on YouTube and then heading to bed by 12:30AM.  Following that was back to work as usually for 10 days and THEN…of to fulfill one of my most coveted bucket list items as well as do some major coffeeshop research for my up and coming coffeehouse!  This blog will not discuss much about the coffee experience…its much more to share my travel experience.  So what was this great trip I speak of?

………..14 DAYS IN EUROPE!!!!!

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IMG_3863IMG_3873IMG_3895IMG_3896We started in London.  Landing on a Friday morning early, quickly learning about the “black” cabs from the airport ($130 later), checking into our hotel and then setting out to see London.  Day one was spent with no sleep and running on excitement and adrenaline.  Day two, we played on the Underground, saw Piccadilly Square, visited a very old pub, checked out Buckingham Palace and visited Harrods where we enjoyed high tea and sight seeing one of the largest department stores in the world.

Day three, we took the train to Liverpool, where we got settled in for the night and waited for our tour guide (my business partner’s cousin Hannah) to come and show us around.  We visited Chester and lapped up the amazing history there.  There were buildings as old as the 1400’s still standing and still in operation which had my face smiling, my heart pounding with excitement and my giddy girl behavior in full effect.  Later in the day, it was of to the Cavern (yes, the place where the Beatles and many others extremely famous bands got their start) and listened to some music before heading off to dinner to enjoy some of the BEST fish and chips I’ve ever had.  Thank you Hannah!!

IMG_3925IMG_3927IMG_3930IMG_3935IMG_3949IMG_3955IMG_3965IMG_3968Our final day in Liverpool, we rented a car, which I made Tyler drive because… wrong side of the road and steering wheel is on the wrong side of the car therefore I was nervous Nelly.  We drove to Whales to see the teahouse I had been dreaming of visiting for two years and low and behold…it was closed for the season!!!!!  But here is the lovely picture I was able to to take of it and now have a reason to go back!

IMG_3977IMG_3991Our time in Whales was very fun as we had tea (well Tyler had a beer) in the local hotel bar and then walked the tiny town finding the most authentic Dutch bakery and devouring some of the most amazing pastries. Then the snow came and it was time to head back for our flight to Amsterdam!!

Amsterdam was a quick trip.  We arrived at 9:30 PM and headed straight to the hotel.  After a decent night of sleep, we headed into the city for the day.  WOW!!!  It was impressive to see.  No intricate architecture necessarily but still a vast amount of history. We walked that entire inner circle of the city, saw more sex shops than I could have counted, visited the red light district because it was a must and then the fellas enjoyed partaking in the local legal “fun” while I enjoyed the hookah.  Amsterdam was a whirlwind trip with very little variety.  We found quite a few coffeehouses and enjoyed some local coffees and snacks but there was nothing that made me say…I will miss this place.  However, I would love to visit Old Holland and see the windmills.

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Next on the journey was Italy.  Jet setting over to Florence, Italy, we landed around 11:30, grabbed a cab to the hotel and got a few hours of sleep so we could get up the next morning and head to our coffee making class.  WOW!!!!  Mokaflor of Italy offers intense classes or a short little 3 hour class that discusses the growing, harvesting and roasting process of coffee (we learned so much) and then moves on to pulling a proper espresso shot and making a cappuccino.  This was an amazing day!  After that, we headed back to the hotel, grabbed a shuttle to town and had a fabulous dinner (lasagne for me, pizza for Tyler and calzone for Drew).  The following day was spent walking Florence from what felt like, end to end.  We discovered the hot spot for capturing great panoramic shots of the city.  While we were basking in the Italian beauty, Tyler had noticed an old chapel so we embarked on the small hike to it.  People….it was one of the most spiritual experiences I’ve ever had.  I cried uncontrollably nearly the entire time we were in there.  Just amazing.  Finishing out the day, we found some pasta that made us know we would miss Italy and then headed back to the hotel.  For dinner on this final night in Florence, we decided to dine in the hotel restaurant.  I have two tips: 1) Food in any hotel is “hotel” food and 2) Pepperoni in Italian means peppers.  We ordered pepperoni pizzas and got pizzas that were COVERED in raw red and yellow peppers.  Upon realizing that the language barrier was worse than we thought, we told her we were looking for sausage, to which she assumed we wanted more sauce so they added the peppers to the sauces, processed it in a food processor and then topped the pizza with it.  After a quick google search…LESSON LEARNED!!!  Now off to Pisa.  We walked all over Pisa, found great pizza (finally), saw the leaning tower and then headed of to Paris.

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Up, up and away we go….to Paris!  Pastries, coffees, the Eiffel Tower and did, I say pastries?  Paris was simply meant for me to enjoy the eating of pastries and get my walk on through the city.  And THAT, my friends is what we did!  Starting with a quick pass through a patisserie for a croissant then we came to Ladurée who is world renowned for their macarons (and rightfully so).  We popped in there for a nice little sit down pastry and some coffee but the pièce de résistance was the 18 macarons we got to enjoy for the remainder of our stay in Paris.  After enjoying that tasty treat, it was off to the Eiffel Tower where Tyler and I took the stairs to the first level but the rain made the stairs slick and then there is that little issue I have with gripping fear of falling so to go any higher would have meant that Tyler would be carrying me but he also didn’t want to go higher so problem averted and we headed back to solid ground.  It was a grand experience that I will cherish forever.  Finally, the walk back to the hotel commenced while we endured the rain and enjoyed the sights.  The Seine River was flooding and it was quite a sight to see how hight the water was only to discover that the week we left England to come back to the States, it began flooding the city.   Our last day in France, we enjoyed a beautiful breakfast of pastries in a century old restaurant and that made the final moments in Paris dreamy.  Now back to England via the Eurorail traveling under the English Channel.

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Our final days overseas were spent in England.  I fulfilled my very nerdy side by going to King’s Cross Station and seeing Platform 9 3/4 (if you’re not a Harry Potter fan you won’t understand the reference) and trying to make it to Parliament and Big Ben but the rain defeated us and we never made it there.  However, it was the trip of a lifetime and I cannot wait to return to the UK for a much longer visit spent seeing the northern countryside and heading up into Scotland.

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If you read all the way to here, THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME.  I hope you enjoyed my recap of my trip and please let me know if you have any questions in the comments section below.

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