Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Venice, Italy!

Our Next stop on our amazing trip was Venice, Italy! This has always been one of the places that I have wanted to travel to at some point in my life, and it lived up to the expectations. There isn't very many "big attractions" in Venice. There is San Marco Piazza and the Realto Bridge, but it's true beauty is just in the small canals that run through the island and the amazing views that you can find from seemingly anywhere in the city. 

Our view out of our window! Pretty sweet right?!

How crazy is this? Huge ship cruising through the water.

Our first day, we decided to just cruise around, wherever our feet could take us. We had quite the long trip that morning so we took a very long nap in the afternoon. Rejuvenated after some rest we got to finally see some of the amazing city!

Thats right, Venice.

Saint Mark's Basilica

Dogge's Palace

There are just a ton of awesome views like this, you just have to find them!


Realto Bridge

View from Realto Bridge, absolutely gorgeous.

Awwwww, so cute haha

Awesome little pathways and canals through the whole island.

Realto at night.

There were several bands getting after it in Saint Mark's square in front of different restaurants. Tons of people gathered around to clap them on which was pretty fun to watch!

Our view from the café below our room. We got some free wifi and a sweet view as well.

Lido beach, we took a boat to the island and then we rented some bikes for the day and rode to the beach!

Classic italian dinner, at least for us!

One of the nights we had our own fireworks show, sitting on the edge of the water!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Stockholm, Sweden!

Well it has been an amazing trip. There's no doubt about it! Hilary and I spent 9 days traveling through Europe, seeing some amazing sites, and finally spending some quality time together! 

Our first stop on our trip was Stockholm, Sweden! Maybe not the first place that would pop into your head when you think of places you would to go while traveling Europe, but I was sooo happy that we went! Hilary's grandpa was from Sweden, so that was one of the original motivations to go. It ended up being one of my favorite places!

Stockholm is a gorgeous city that is made up of several islands. There are a bunch of historical locations in and around downtown Stockholm, including the old town, called Gamla Stan. The first day that we arrived in Stockholm it was very early in the morning so we had the entire rest of the day to get our bearings. We decided to head into the town and just follow our feet. We found some pretty cool stuff! I'm pretty proud of my pictures taking abilities so hopefully I do these places justice!

A historic building in the Riddarholms District

One of my favorite parts about Stockholm were the absolutely gorgeous views of the huge, old buildings across the large bodies of water throughout the city

A bridge looking across the water to Gamla Stan

One Nice thing about Stockholm is that almost everyone there spoke very good English. That was a pleasant change for me and made for an easier transition for Hilary as we began our trip. There were plenty of familiar food and shopping establishments that you might see in the states too. It was interesting to find out that there are plenty of companies that originated in Sweden that Americans use everyday such as Volvo, Ikea, and one I didn't know before I went, Skype!

One of our favorite stops on our trip had to have been the Icebar in Stockholm. We reserved our stop a month or so in advance to this amazing place. The Icebar is apart of a hotel in Stockholm and is modeled after the hotel made completely of ice that is located in the north of Sweden. The bar is the only "iced" part of the hotel in Stockholm but it is quite the site to see! The temperature is -5 degrees in there, you can only stay in for about 45 minutes and you must wear a large parka which I'm sure you will recognize in the pictures below haha.

Our drinks! The cups are made completely out of ICE!

The bar (Fun story... The asian woman in the top left of the photo was going crazy and dancing for just about the entire time that we were inside of the bar... so funny. She must have had a drink or two before she got in haha.)

Sweet parkas haha
Stockholm's City Hall!

The courtyard outside of the city hall

The Opera House


Come on dude, put some pants on...
Gamla Stan was definitely Hilary's favorite part of Stockholm, and it was up there on my list as well. It was just a gorgeous area with tall old buildings with quaint shops below along the small tight streets. There was also the royal palace on the island as well which was quite the site to see. We sat across the way from the picture below and had a drink and some pie, just enjoying the evening!

There were two or three open squares like this on the island where relaxing at cafés seemed to rule agendas
Some traditional swedish garb in Gamla Stan

An example of the nice little streets on the island
The Royal Palace

The church inside the palace
There was also a very sweet area you could go into in the basement of the palace, the treasury. It held a bunch of old artifacts from Swedish royalty like swords, crowns, etc.

There was a theme park that was on a different island
Skansen was a large open air museum that housed many traditional types of Swedish housing, tons of Swedish animals and other cool things!

Bears, beats, battlestar galactica


Cool Garden

View from the top of the park

We saw the Vasa Museum which housed a historic ship from a very long time ago, pretty cool stuff

I got a bird on my head, but don't call me a bird head.

Riddarholmskyrkan (Church)

Inside the church

So beautiful!