Hope everyone is staying safe during these challenging times. I really only leave the house to go to the grocery store. Even though I’m obviously not traveling right now, I’ve been thinking about where I would like to go next once the quarantine is over and also reminiscing on my travel this past summer and fall. At the end of October I went to Scottsdale, Arizona for my friend Joanna’s wedding. Joanna and I met in 2008 and have been friends ever since. She was also one of my bridesmaids in my wedding in 2016. Scottsdale is about a 20 minute drive from the Phoenix International Airport. Arizona has the most spectacular landscape. Last April my sisters and I visited Sedona and the Grand Canyon for my sister’s 30th birthday.
After our time in Athens and Mykonos we took a ferry to Santorini, Greece on Wednesday August 28 for the last week of our 5 week extended vacation. During our visit we stayed in the northwestern tip of Santorini, in two separate towns. The first part of our week we stayed in the town of Finikia in an Airbnb, a 15 minute walk to the famous town of Oia. Then, the second part of the week we stayed in the heart of Oia at the Andronis Arcadia Hotel.
After our couple of days in Athens, we took an early morning flight on Friday August 23 to Mykonos. Mykonos has a reputation as being a party island, but while in Mykonos we did the exact opposite of partying. We relaxed and recharged at the Aegon, a brand new Marriott Autograph collection hotel at Kalo Livadi beach in Mykonos.
The last leg of our trip was Greece. Croatia and Greece were on the top of our travel list and so we were so excited we were able to do both on our extended vacation. On Tuesday August 20 we flew from Dubrovnik to Athens. During our visit we stayed at the Hotel Grande Bretagne. By the time we landed and got to our hotel on Tuesday it was late. So, we had our hotel make dinner reservations at the King George Hotel (the sister hotel next door), on the terrace of Tudor Hall overlooking the Acropolis. An unexpected bonus during our time in Athens was we got to spend time with Jeremy’s sister. Jeremy’s sister recently moved to London for graduate school. Since she hadn’t started school yet, she was able to come to Athens to hang out with us for a few days.
After spending the day with our private driver, we arrived in Dubrovnik in the late afternoon on Friday August 16. We stayed at an Airbnb during our visit, about a 10-15 minute walk from Old Town. Our Airbnb was closest to Ploče Gate, the Eastern entrance to Old Town. On Friday evening when we first walked through Ploče Gate, I got chills. I felt like we were walking into King’s Landing or another era. Old Town Dubrovnik is absolutely beautiful lit up at night. We ate dinner at Gradska kavana Arsenal, overlooking the streets of Old Town. After dinner we explored the cobblestone streets – it’s so romantic walking the city at night.
After our time in Split, Croatia we hired a private driver, Mate to drive us from Split to Dubrovnik. Mate came highly recommended by my best friend and her mother who had used him the prior summer. On Friday August 16, Mate picked us up from our Split Airbnb and we had a lovely day with multiple stops on our way to Dubrovnik. Along the way he provided us with a detailed history of Croatia and the surrounding countries. I cannot say enough good things about Mate. He has his own tour company, so use Mate on your next drive from Split to Dubrovnik, or if you are looking for a private tour or excursion! Also, this is not sponsored in any way. We really enjoyed our day and would recommend Mate to family and friends.
After our adventures in Venice, the Dolomites, Reutte, and Verona, we made our way to Croatia. We first traveled to Split, the 2nd largest city in Croatia after Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. Split has approximately 300,000 people living in its urban area. On Monday August 12, we flew from Venice to Split and our Airbnb host picked us up at the Split airport. Since we landed so early, our Airbnb wasn’t quite ready to check in, so we dropped off our luggage with our hosts and explored Split. We loved the location of our Airbnb, it was close to the heart of the city center of Split and our host was extremely responsive and accommodating before and during our stay.
After my coworker’s wedding in Reutte, Austria we drove back to Venice, Italy. Picking up and dropping off a rental car in another country is extremely expensive in Europe. We wanted to fly out of Munich, Germany to Split, Croatia, but decided against it because of the cost of dropping off the rental car in Germany. But, the bright side is we got to see other parts of the Italian countryside and stopped in Verona for the afternoon. If you take the highway, the drive from Reutte, Austria to Verona, Italy is roughly 4 hours.
Verona is a medieval town set on the Adige river and is famous for being the setting of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.” We only had a couple of hours to spend in Verona, but I still thought it was plenty of time.
After arriving in Reutte, Austria from the Dolomites, we only had one full free day. So, we spent the day touring the Neuschwanstein Castle and the Hohenschwangau Castle located in Germany (only 20 minutes away from Reutte). The Bavarian “Mad” King Ludwig II built the Neuschwanstein Castle and he grew up in the Hohenschwangau Castle. Ludwig’s Neuschwanstein Castle inspired Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle and the Cinderella Castle.
The interiors of the castles are not that stunning and the tours were only 30 minutes each, so I would recommend just paying to park and hike up to the famous overlook to see the Neuschwanstein Castle (takes about 45 minutes to get to the top and it is pretty intense uphill). The Hohenschwangau Castle is close to the parking. Plus, it’s also extremely overcrowded with tourists. After visiting the castles we met my other coworker for dinner who also flew in town for the wedding.
After leaving Venice on Wednesday August 7 we drove to Reutte, Austria for my coworkers wedding on Saturday August 10. On our way we drove through the Dolomites, a part of the Southern Limestone Alps located in northeastern Italy.
As you can probably tell from my Instagram, my husband Jeremy and I are currently traveling through Europe. We saved up our vacation time from work and since my coworker was getting married in Austria we decided to take extended time off. Jeremy found a great deal on a non-stop Delta flight to Venice, so we started our vacation there. We don’t come back to the United States until after Labor Day. So stay tuned, I will be recapping our travels as we go!
Here is my Sedona, Arizona travel guide and itinerary! Easter week/weekend I went to Sedona, Arizona with my two younger sisters, Alissa and Caylen, to celebrate Alissa’s 30th birthday. Alissa turned 30 at the end of March, but since Caylen is a high school teacher we postponed our vacation until Caylen’s spring break.
After our adventures in Catskill and Hudson on Sunday, on Monday Alissa and I toured the Olana State Historic Site. Olana is a historic house, museum and property in Greenport, New York, near the city of Hudson. The estate was home to Frederic Edwin Church, one of the most prominent Hudson River School landscape painters during the 19th-century. His estate is now a historical preservation site.