Spend a few days in the idyllic town of Chinon in the Loire Valley- its the perfect way to relax!!

Relaxing in the Loire Valley

This post is part of our month-long European trip from last August. Check here for our whole trip! 

Our stay in Chinon felt like a retreat into another era. Time slowed down, life got quieter. The biggest question we answered each day was, “where should we eat dinner?” The necessary logistics that go into a multi-stop trip faded as we relaxed.

Tucked away in the heart of the Loire Valley, Chinon is a tiny town in a region of small towns. Fields, vineyards, and dairy farms cover the landscape dotted with idyllic villages. When I asked a friend about the Loire Valley, she summed it up with “Wine and castles. That’s why you should go.” Yes, please.

The big event of Chinon was less an activity and more the place itself. We splurged and stayed in a castle! A château, to be exact. Chateau de Marcay is an old rambling property, complete with horses and a tree-lined entryway. From the lobby full of velvet couches to the attentive staff quick to address you by name, the hotel exudes a feeling of aged European grandeur.

Spend a few days in the idyllic town of Chinon in the Loire Valley- its the perfect way to relax!!

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Seeing London in a weekend!

A quick weekend in London

This post is part of our month-long European trip from last August. Check here for our whole trip! 

Since we’d already flown over to Great Britain, we couldn’t leave without a stop in London! Unfortunately I arrived with a bad cold and was pretty sluggish the whole weekend. Between that and a quick turnaround, we decided to each choose one thing we most wanted to do and work our time around those.

Seeing London in a weekend!

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If you go to Scotland, don't skip the Highlands! There's so much to see and experience! We took a day trip with The Hairy Coo touring company and it was the best way to see a lot in a day!

One day in the Scottish Highlands

This post is part of our month-long European trip from last August. Check here for our whole trip! 

The whole reason we went to Scotland was for Logan to get a taste of the Highlands. My husband loves the mountains. He’s from the Appalachian Mountains of NC, and something in his soul needs the peaks and vistas. So as we dreamed about our trip, I knew the highlands needed to be part.

Because of time constraints, we ended up only getting one day to explore them. So to maximize our day we signed up for an organized day trip! My travel style is about 70/30 of individually planned trips to pre-booked group tours. Tour groups can get you the best of the area in the most efficient way possible, without having to worry about transportation! My priority in choosing a tour group is the reviews of the guide themselves: they will make or break your trip, every time. One of my favorite memories of my time in Australia was a quick 3 day trip from Sydney to Melbourne, because our guide was so fantastic! At one point he pulled over on the side of the road  & flew out of the van because he’s spotted an echidna and wanted to show us something you don’t get to see every day!

Highlands

If you go to Scotland, don't skip the Highlands! There's so much to see and experience! We took a day trip with The Hairy Coo touring company and it was the best way to see a lot in a day!

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Things go wrong when you're traveling. Here's a few thoughts on how to deal with it!

When Things Go Wrong While Traveling

We were driving on a country road, full of happy satisfaction after a day of touring. Suddenly, we noticed the car behind us waving us down. Thinking they were wanting to pass us, we pulled over, but they pulled over behind us and a teenage girl jumped out of her car, continuing to wave her arms wildly. As I opened the car door, I realized why they waved us down: smoke was pouring out of our back tires. 

What do you do when smoke is pouring out of your rental car, in a country you don’t speak the language, without a working cell phone?

Things go wrong when you're traveling. Here's a few thoughts on how to deal with it!

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Here's the best parts of Edinburgh, Scotland!

One day in Edinburgh, Scotland

Since our trip was my husband’s first time in Europe, I was excited to take him everywhere. But if there was one city I was most excited to show him, it was Edinburgh, Scotland.

The United Kingdom has so much to offer, but summertime in Edinburgh may be the best of all worlds. Here’s a few of my favorite things we saw & did in our time here!

Here's the best parts of Edinburgh, Scotland!

Here's the best parts of Edinburgh, Scotland!

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Being sick while traveling sucks. Here's a few thoughts to help you recover fast!

What To Do When You Get Sick While Traveling

It started the way it always does. A slight tickle in my throat. Less painful, more just annoying, like I couldn’t ever clear my throat.

I knew what that meant.

I was getting sick. On vacation.

We’ve all been there. It’s the worst to get sick on vacation. Especially in a foreign country! But it happens more often than we’d like, so here’s a few tips on how to handle it.

Being sick while traveling sucks. Here's a few thoughts to help you recover fast!

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Geneva is a fantastic city. Here's a few things you can't miss in Switzerland!

The best things to do in Geneva

After nearly a month in Europe, we began our journey back to Paris and then home. Conveniently, the most direct path home put us through Switzerland anyway. And we couldn’t resist the chance to squeeze in one more city (and country!) to our road trip! So off we went to Geneva.

Since we really only had one day in the city, I knew we had to be strategic. It’s a major city and has a ton of offer, but the one big thing I wanted to do was see the United Nations’ Palais des Nations.

Geneva is a fantastic city. Here's a few things you can't miss in Switzerland!

Geneva is a fantastic city. Here's a few things you can't miss in Switzerland!

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Paris is 100% worth the hype. Here's some of my favorite things to do in Paris!

My guide to Paris

On our month-long trip to Europe last summer, we used Paris as our home base. The cheapest flights from the States went through Paris, and it worked well for combining our budget airline portion of the trip with renting a car for the continental Europe explorations. So our time in Paris was chopped into two pieces, bookending our travels. Here’s a few of our favorite things to do and see in Paris!

The two most obvious merited posts of their own: make sure you visit the Louvre and climb the Eiffel Tower. Click the previous links for more on our experiences and some tips for planning your time!

Paris is 100% worth the hype. Here's some of my favorite things to do in Paris!

Paris is 100% worth the hype. Here's some of my favorite things to do in Paris!

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A visit to Paris is incomplete without climbing the Eiffel Tower!

The Most Iconic Spot in Paris: The Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower is unlike anything else. It’s the thing people think of when they think of Paris, one of the most iconic things in all of Europe. So when I planned our trip  last summer, I wanted to end it with visiting the Eiffel Tower.

On a cloudy August day, we lingered over our last cappuccino and croissants. We weren’t quite ready to go back to real life and giving up our daily espresso-and-pastry lifestyle.

A visit to Paris is incomplete without climbing the Eiffel Tower!

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The Louvre should be at the top of any Paris list!

The One Thing You Must Do in Paris

If you do only one thing in Paris, see the Louvre.

I know many may disagree. The Eiffel Tower is more iconic, and not everyone gets into history and art. But hear me out.

Musee du Louvre offers a practically unparalleled amount of beauty in one building. The palace itself is so full of French history that it teaches you without you even noticing. The whole thing also feels very French: beautiful, put together, yet so layered you can’t take it all in at once. The Tuileries Gardens count as an extension of the Louvre and display the French love for beauty in a natural dimension as well.

The Louvre should be at the top of any Paris list!

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