{Thinking About Sunny Days//South Florida}

The last few days have been dark, gloomy, and rainy—so naturally, I have been dreaming of the bright and sunny days that I enjoyed so much during the summer. I thought that I would share some eye candy with you from sunny South Florida to help us all get through the nearing winter!

Before Adam and I moved to New Jersey, we spent our time hanging out on the beaches of Delray Beach, walking around Miami and eating ice cream on Atlantic Avenue (from Kilwins- so good!). Looking at these photos makes me so excited to go back home in December for New Years!


{Rail Trail and Water Activities// Cape Cod}

One of my favorite things about our time on the Cape was spending most of our days outdoors. The weather was gorgeous, perfect for running or biking on the Cape Cod Rail Trail or hanging by the lake.
The Rail Trail is a paved trail that traces the path of a former railroad trail through 6 towns in Cape Cod. The whole trail spans 22 miles and is perfect for cyclists, runners or walkers, and is incredibly picturesque. I spent many mornings running the trails, enjoying the lake views and tranquility of the forests that I was passing.
When we weren’t on the trails, we were at the lake or the beach, laying out, paddle boarding, tubing and just enjoying the outdoors. I paddle boarded for the first time on this trip. It was such fun and a great workout!
Adam and I both kept saying how our time at the Cape felt like we were back at sleep away camp. It was fun to escape real life for a while, where the only worries were putting on sunscreen and eating enough ice cream!

{Cape Cod Highlights}

Our two weeks on the Cape were a wonderful combination of paddle boarding, biking, ice creams in the late afternoon, dinners on the patio or in local restaurants and some of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen.
Probably the best food we ate while in Cape Cod was at a restaurant called Arnold’s, which in true Cape Cod fashion, was also a mini-golf course. The line was out the door and around the corner when we arrived, and boy do I understand why! I had their fish sandwich, which was incredibly delicious, flaky, crispy and hot. Adam had a lobster roll, which was pretty much gone the instant that I took a photo of it! They also had amazing onion straws that come piled high on the plate. Arnold’s (like a lot of the Cape) is not fancy, but that’s part of the reason why I loved eating there so much. The best dessert we had (and not just once might I include!) was from a place called Sundae School that makes its own ice cream on premise. So good!
One morning, we ventured into a nearby town called Chatham just in time to watch the fishing boats return to the dock and feed the seals that crowd around them. We also walked along Main Street and did a little shopping (of course!). The parts of the Cape that I saw were quaint, quiet and had a small town charm that was a really nice change of pace.

{London//The Highlights}

We are finally home from an amazing trip. Our last stop on our whirlwind tour of Western Europe was one of my favorite cities, London. I had been a few times before, but this was Adam’s first time and we made sure to cover as much as we could in the few days that we were there.
We felt that the best way to see as much of London’s tourist spots in the quickest amount of time was a walking tour, so we started our first day on a Sandeman’s free walking tour. We went to places like Covent Garden, Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, St. James’ Park, Parliament, the Clock Tower (and Big Ben- the name of the clock inside the tower, not the actual tower), Westminster Abbey and St. James’ Palace. Hint: We stopped at St. James’ Palace at 12pm, just in time to see the end of the changing of the guards. This was much easier than having to fight the crowds at Buckingham Palace, so I would definitely recommend this!
After the tour, Adam and I ventured off to explore London ourselves. We walked along the River Thames, enjoying the sights like the London Eye, the Globe Theatre, Millennium Bridge, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Tower of London, and the Tower Bridge. Along the way, we stopped at one of my favorite restaurants Wagamama (See my face in the picture below if you don’t believe how much I love their chicken katsu curry!).
During the days that we were in London, Adam and I made sure to fulfill our nerdiness by finding locations like the entrance to Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley and the Leaky Caldron in Leadenhall Market, Platform 9 and ¾ at King’s Cross Station, a Tardis at Earl’s Court, Sherlock Holmes’ home at 221b Baker Street, and finally Speedy’s Café where the current Sherlock TV show is filmed.
We both also enjoyed our visit to Camden Market for some eccentricity and shopping, our time in the British Museum (which is free, like most other museums in London!!), a walk across Abbey Road (which is a working road with a lot of oncoming traffic, beware!), and dinner at Nandos (peri peri chicken and French fries= heaven!).
I really love London. There is so much to do and see and appreciate. The city is full of art, history, culture, sports, fashion and a special elegance that you can’t really find in very many other places.

{Vienna//Lederhosen, Wieners and Culture}

If cities could be spirit animals, I think Vienna would be mine. Our whole time here has been absolute perfection. I feel right at home. It is a city that celebrates culture and I just love that so much!
If names like Mozart, Strauss and Beethoven excite you, or gorgeous architecture and beautiful parks is your thing, or long leisurely lunches or coffee breaks is something you enjoy, or even delicious pastries like apple strudel is what you like, or if you love fashion then Vienna might be the place for you too!
We started today with no plan, but instead, wanting to see what it was like to be Viennese for the day. We started with breakfast at a local bakery and then went (mainly window) shopping! In the process, we managed to try on some traditional Austrian clothing, specifically a dirndl for me and lederhosen for Adam (Both of us actually enjoyed wearing our outfits. Adam said that the lederhosen were surprisingly comfy).
When we were done exploring the shops, we made our way to the Vienna State Opera House where we had been last night and began (you guessed it!) another Rick Steve’s audio walking tour. A definite highlight of our walk around the city was when Adam bought a traditional (and massive) wiener or sausage from a street stand. For him, the highlight was eating it; for me, the highlight was watching his face light up after each bite. Rick took us along the streets of Vienna and to St. Stephen’s Cathedral. In unbelievable timing, we got to the church at 3pm, right as Rick said that the church performs a free organ concert at that time! Naturally, we walked right in and enjoyed listening to the organ play in the church. Next, we walked down the Graben (a famous street in Vienna’s city center) towards and through the Habsburg Palace and into the Volksgarten where we relaxed in the sun and played cards.
The best part of the day came around dinnertime. I had heard the night before that the Opera House was airing tonight’s performance of the Magic Flute live on the outside of the building on a giant screen. Adam and I bought dinner from a local grocery store and sat down outside of the Opera House with hundreds of others to watch. It was a perfect ending to a perfect day.

{Classy Night in Vienna}

Our first night in Vienna was one of my favorites from this whole trip so far. We started our night off at dinner at the famous Café Sacher. The interior brought you back in time- waiters in tuxedos, chandeliers, marble tables, and ornate walls. Adam and I indulged in Schnitzel (Adam had traditional Wiener Schnitzel, and I had Chicken Schnitzel), potatoes and the most amazing salad (Seriously, this dressing was so good I almost asked for a straw!). We ended our meal with the famous Sacher Torte (which neither of us liked very much… at least not as much as we LOVED our dinner).
After our great (expensive) meal, we walked to the Vienna State Opera. I love all sorts of art, and that definitely includes ballet. Before our trip, we purchased tickets to see a ballet called Meistersignaturen. It was beautiful and it was so satisfying to be surrounded by people who appreciate art and culture the way that I do. The ballerinas were accompanied by a live orchestra and an unbelievable opera singer, which just made the experience that much richer.
A note to any future goers to the Vienna State Opera: We decided to dress up to keep with the classy theme of our night, but it wasn’t a requirement for attendance. Also, we purchased very cheap seats (read: bad!), but found that the trick (for travelers on a budget) is to go to the center back row of the auditorium and claim a standing only spot. After the intermission we did this and from then on, we could see the entire stage perfectly and enjoyed the performance without anything hindering our view. Another trick, people “reserve” these standing only spots by either tying a scarf around or laying a newspaper over the banister where they want to stand. Does it make you feel fancier knowing this? It does for me!

{Salzburg//Sound of Music and a Beer Garden}

OK, I have a confession… I am a huge Sound of Music fan. Songs- I know them. Names of the Von Trapp Family children- Know them too. Something that I didn’t know until planning our Europe trip- A lot of filming for the movie was done in Salzburg. And when I found out, I knew we had to go!
We visited places like the Mirabell Gardens where they filmed Do-Re-Mi (The gardens are actually stunning, full of richly colored flowers and perfectly manicured, forming intricate designs throughout the whole space). I reenacted the scenes where Maria and the children climb the stairs while singing, dance along the fountain and bike through the tunnel covered in greenery. We also went to St. Peter’s Cemetery and Residenz Square where other scenes were filmed. It was such fun actually being where one of my favorite movies was made!
After hours of me nerding out on Sound of Music, Adam and I decided to go to a Beer Garden called Augustiner Bräu. It was 3:30pm on a Wednesday afternoon and the area was packed with Austrians enjoying an afternoon break. The whole concept was such fun and totally novel to me- you pay for the size of beer you want, pick your mug off the wall, wash it and hand it to the bartender who fills up the beer and practically throws it back at you. There were also vendors selling a variety of traditional Austrian meals. We drank our beer (well, Adam did- I had about three sips) and just relaxed in the tree-covered garden.