The Brats Tour

If it were up to my husband, our entire trip would have been a food tour of northern Europe (oh wait, that’s basically what it was). I know that when he’s snuggled up next to me sound asleep he’s dreaming sweet dreams of him and Anthony Bourdain being best buds and eating and drinking their way around the world. While we were in Germany he took on what we now refer to as the Brats Challenge. This challenge consists of eating as many local bratwurst as possible within a few hours. He did pretty good, putting down 4 in the matter of a 4 hours. This was all fun and games until we had an hour and half ride back to our port, in a cramped, crowded, smelly, warm train. I’m pretty sure he was regretting his decision of indulgence when his stomach starting digesting all that meat and it had nowhere to go…. 

I truly thought he joking when he nonchalantly stated that he was going to eat as many bratwurts as possible until either 1) we ran our of euros or 2) he physically could not eat any more. I was very happy that I was able to purchase an adorable scarf before he started buying sausages with our dwindling cash flow (most of those hole-in-the-wall stands don’t take plastic). I did indulge with him and tried local specialty: curried brats. It had an interesting flavor, but I think Robert enjoyed it more than I did. 

We spent half of the day touring Rostock, an adorable industrial german town boasting a cathedral that houses an awesome astronomical clock. I love clocks, especially astronomical ones…. They are so cool! We then took the train to the historic town of Schwerin, where my fairytale castle lives (I talked about it in an earlier post). We did some shopping, eating, and exploring before we headed back to Rostock, where our ship was docked.

Here are some random pictures from our day in Germany:

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By the end of the day, he was so stuffed that we had to relax (i.e. take short nap in grass) at a park before we could continue. Ah, the perks of married life. 

xoxo Kaylee

 

 

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Sunburned in Finland

In my honest opinion, two of the three above words should not go in the same sentence. Finland is so far north, so far away from the equator, that it seems virtually impossible to get a sunburn in that country. Leave it up to my fairer-than-fair skin to attract all the sunlight. At the end of the day we started telling folks that we brought the sunshine from Florida.

Our (ironically) sunny day spent in Helsinki, Finland was quite fun actually. I know many people do not have any interest in visiting this city, but I’ll be the first to them they are missing out on a fantastic city filled with culture and style. We began our day by catching the tram into the city. This was quite the undertaking as we do not speak nor read Finnish and that was basically all we had to go off of. We somehow managed to buy a ticket and find our way on the right tram (nothing short of a miracle!). 

We made it into the city center and took a stroll down Esplanadi, a great street filled with fun shops and restaurants. Can I just say that 1) Finnish people are beautiful and 2) They have some outrageously fantastic styles. We didn’t get to spend much time in the design district, but from what I could see it was pretty nifty. After walking for what seemed like 98 miles, we grabbed some coffee and decided to pretend to be Finnish by sitting on a bench at a busy park and people-watching. We watched confused tourists walk by and we pretended like we knew it all. Had them fooled… 

The majority of our day we spent exploring the lovely and intriguing Suomenlinna, an inhabited sea fortress. The island has a lot of interesting history behind it that I won’t bore you with because I realize not everyone really cares about history as much as I do. However, I will tell you that we did somehow get lost on this Island. It was hot. Our bag was heavy. My feet were so over cobblestone at this point that I seriously debated cutting my own feet off so I could get wheeled back into the city. I felt like Piggy from Lord of the Flies. I was hoping that my next move was not to kill my beloved husband (just kidding). At one point we just plopped ourselves down on the ground and laughed our heads off, mainly because we were lost on an old Finnish sea fortress on our honeymoon and the only real thing we could do at that point was to laugh hysterically. I have never felt so sweaty and exhausted yet free and beautiful all at the same time. It was awesome. 

Here are some of my favorite Helsinki pics:

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The Trip of a Lifetime

We decided to go all out for our honeymoon. We did, in fact, pick the date of our wedding AFTER we picked the dates for our trip. We knew we wanted to do a lot of traveling in a relatively short amount of time, and we knew we wanted to see Russia sometime in our lifetime. A cruise through the Baltic Sea seemed perfect. We saved a lot. We researched a lot. We did a lot to make this dream happen. At times I thought we were crazy to plan such a big trip in the midst of so many life-altering events. We probably were a bit insane, but we did have the most incredible time on this vacation.

In all, we were gone for 19 days and traveled through 7 different countries. We went through so many different time zones and traveled through so many different cities in such a short amount of times. We met so many fun and kind people from all over the world. This trip ignited our love for traveling and experiencing different cultures. Our only complaint was that we could not stay longer! Ah well, I guess it’s just an excuse to go back.

Over the course of the trip I kept a hand-written journal about our adventures. Let me tell ya folks, this was WORK. The last thing I wanted to do after walking 10 miles on cobblestone and drinking a glass (or 2) of wine was write down what we did. It seemed mundane at the time, so unnecessary. I thought “how could I ever forget these incredible cities and the things we did?” Well, in the end I am SO glad I slaved away at writing that journal because while I may never forget the names of the cities I visited I will forget all the little details that made our time there so remarkable. It’s the little things, that’s what I’ve learned.

So, because I have this nifty little journal, I can now easily blog about all the cities we explored and the things we did. Today I’ll share some of my favorite memories from the trip, and then I’ll make individual posts for the majority of the cities.

 

One day we spent the morning exploring the German countryside and then we went to Schwerin Castle, a Disney-like fairytale princess castle. The exterior and the gardens surrounding the castle were truly breathtaking. We even saw a couple taking wedding pictures there (Jealous!). The inside was less than princess-like, and we did get lost trying to get out of the darn place. For a hot second I felt more like a damsel in distress wandering around the halls and sweating through my skinny jeans than a princess.

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In Helsinki, Finland we went to the Old Market Square and scoped out a local treat, reindeer. While I did have some remorse eating Santa’s travel team, I must say that Rudolph tasted delicious. Yep, I’d eat him again. Below are the smoked reindeer balls that we gobbled up.ImageThis is called the Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood. It’s located in St. Petersburg, Russia. This is one of the most beautiful churches I have ever seen, and I regret that the pictures I took just don’t do it justice.ImageOur favorite city, Tallinn, is located in the small country of Estonia. Never heard of it? Yep, we hadn’t either. Once we visited it though we agreed that this is one the world’s best hidden secrets. The town is such a beauty, and the people there are incredibly kind and welcoming. We love you, Tallinn.ImageOur day in Amsterdam was spent exploring the Anne Frank museum (no pictures allowed) and almost getting killed by cyclists. If you’re ever craving a near death experience by simply just walking on pedestrian streets I recommend you check out Amsterdam. ImageWanting a short detour from exploring busy cities, we found ourselves wandering the estate of Leed’s Castle. For a moment I thought I was living in Downton Abbey and was waiting on the Crawley family to invite me over for tea. While that didn’t happen, it did not stop me from at least pretending I was an aristocrat living during the turn-of-the-century. ImageWhile in London, we found Tower Bridge, which we immediately mistook for London Bridge. After taken a bajillion photos and singing “London Bridge is Falling Down” we were disappointed to discover this was not the actual London Bridge of our favorite childhood song. The actual “London Bridge” is pretty unremarkable, so we decided to just keep the photos of Tower Bridge and appreciate those instead.ImageMore pictures to come!

xoxo Kaylee