Never thought I would say this in my whole life but… I spent my Holidays traveling Europe from Christmas in Germany, to New Years in Belgium, and finally starting 2013 in Venice. All of this including some stops along the way.
I will begin with Lowry’s family came to visit for 3 weeks so we rented a car for most of our journey.
Now this may look very normal but if you KNEW what Lowry and I had gone through with a manual car the night before. A little recap would include…us fighting, Lowry breaking or what seemed like breaking the car, and us practicing in the middle of the night in a random parking lot somewhere in a Brussels suburb. This stress has seriously put our relationship to the test ha ha.
After 5 hours of sleep we started our adventure driving to Amsterdam…in the dark…with a broken gps….and google map directions. Just a little FYI about the interstates here: Know what cities you are heading towards because the interstates are numbered/lettered very differently and N,S,E, or W is not specified on the signs. After making the ring of Antwerp 1 full time we were on our way in the right direction.
2 hours later we arrived at the airport to pick everyone up. We started the adventure in Antwerp for a few days and random day trips before we headed to Germany for Christmas!
We drove to Maastricht for the day to enjoy some lunch and see a new city. The drive was only 2 hours and completely worth the trip. The city of Maastricht is adorable with great local shops and beautiful views of the Meuse River. I would recommend taking a trip if you are ever near this city.
After just a few days getting the family settled and over the jet lag from their journey, we headed to Dusseldorf, Germany! We spent 3 nights here hanging out the city enjoying the Christmas markets, lights, local food, and the Gluhwein!! The Christmas markets here were great, in fact the whole city was great! To my surprise, I enjoyed Germany more then most of our other trips:)
After Christmas in Germany we all headed back to Belgium. Before getting back to Antwerp for New Years, we took a drive to the Belgian Coast! We saw some beautiful city centers during our drive including Cologne, Liege, Ypres, and Depanne. We spent a few days on the coast enjoying great food, In Fields Flanders Museum, the cold weather :/, and Belgian Chocolate of course!!
After all the road trips, we ended up back in Antwerp to enjoy a few days of wondering and eating great food before New Years! I had 2 of the BEST meals of my life during these days. If you come to Antwerp and want to splurge on a fancy meal you MUST try these two places. 1) De Reddende Engel - the website looks a little iffy but the place was DELICIOUS. Great experience and not a tourist trap even though right near Cathedral. I give *****! 2) Huis de Colveneir- This is such a wonderful experience. We ate here for our New Years Eve dinner. They start out your reservation with a tour of the wine cellar and some tapas. Then direct you through the kitchen into a dining room. Absolutely wonderful. Lowry’s mom and grandfather did not make it until midnight, but the rest of us ran out of the restaurant 10 til midnight and headed towards the river where we watched the fireworks in the rain:)
Our traveling was still not complete after all the Holidays! After New Years we headed off to Venice, Italy! We experienced water taxis, vaporettas (public bus), a lot of sunshine!!, the island of Murano, and a little Italian Opera:)
Let’s just say we were EXHAUSTED after all of this! But we were able to see so many beautiful cities. I promised to share more of our travels but hope I did not overload you with the photos:) We are headed to France for the weekend so I will have more fun travel pictures soon!!!!
Enjoy the week and hopefully stay warm. It is freezing here in Antwerp!