EUROPE | 9 Countries in 44 Days

written by JILL January 4, 2018

This post is few weeks over due, but I’m glad to finally get to it to share our fun, fast paced trip around Europe with you and some details on what we did and where we stayed.

1+2 | UNITED KINGDOM (England + Scotland)

We started our trip in London. Both of us have friends scattered throughout Britain (from London to Perth) so we decided to rent a car and drive our way up to Scotland stopping in with our friends along the way. We stayed a few days in London, spent a few hours in Oxford, then to Manchester (Oldham), Derbyshire, Coventry, up to the Holy Island (look it up, it’s a cool island) and onto Edinburgh and Perth. We did a lot in 11 days here and you can watch a fun little video we put together below for our time. We also met up with the co-founder of Lyme Terrace in London for coffee, a modern ethical menswear brand which you can read Luke’s review on them HERE.

We ended up coming back to Britain after Germany for a few more days to re-visit with friends and visit where my mom’s mom grew up in Sussex and then again after Paris to a Fashion Revolution event in London that was so much fun!

3 | KRAKÓW, POLAND + Auschwitz

Luke’s bucket list item for years was to go visit Auschwitz so we decided to make our first stop after Britain to Kraków which is just an hour away from the Auschwitz camps. It was an unforgettable and sobering experience visiting the camps and you can watch our walkthrough below.  We were also fortunate enough to connect with a great local fair trade brand called KO KO WORLD where we spent a day visiting with the founder, shopping and exploring the city. You can read my feature on KO KO World HERE.

a walk through auschwitz auschwitz_remember

4 | COPENHAGEN, DENMARK

This city was by far our favorite overall city for a few different reasons. As a whole, Denmark has outstanding sustainability standards and Copenhagen is well known for it’s healthy living, with it being a cycling city; meaning basically 9/10 people bike. There are bike lanes with they’re own lights and lanes (right turning lanes too) which was just so fun to experience for ourselves. We also stayed in the best sustainable boutique called Hotel Kong Arthur (read our review HERE). It had the tastiest breakfast buffet we’ve both experiences to date and we were able to rent bikes for the day right from the hotel , oh and they have the largest spa in Copenhagen right in the hotel which was SO NICE. We would definitely recommend staying here if you ever visit Copenhagen. The city is also home of Hans Christian Anderson who wrote many famous fairy tale stories like the Little Mermaid (my favorite). It was a great few days and we’ll be back again for sure.

5 | ROME + VENICE, ITALY

One of my bucket list items has been to go to Italy and eat a ton of pasta (I’m IN LOVE with Italian food) so this is what we did. We started in Rome, where Luke had been before and went to visit a few attractions and wonders like the Colosseum and Vatican City (where we saw the Pope!). Then we trained up to Venice for literally one day, my 30th birthday! It was probably the coolest gasp worthy city we’ve been too yet because of how unique the set up of the city is. No roads with cars, just boats and canals. I had the best spaghetti ever there as well which was just what I hoped for!

6 | ZÜRICH, SWITZERLAND

This visit was probably one of our least favorite and here’s why. Zürich is quite an expensive city (Switzerland as a whole is pretty expensive) so $30 each for a regular breakfast or lunch meal, etc. So because we were able to spend a few days reviewing and relaxing in a wonderful eco-friendly hotel called Novotel Zurich-West (read review HERE) we decided not to go out too much and just stay in our hotel and catch up on some sleep and work. So I think I would love to go back to Switzerland again and explore the alps and some other areas on a specific trip because I know it is very beautiful and very sustainable/ healthy. But for our trip, it was on the bottom of the list for what we experienced.

7 | PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC

We both had heard that Prague was a great overall city for it’s beautiful city/architecture and the affordable pricing for food, beer and living and so we decided to make a few day stop which was probably the best decision we could have made. We loved Prague! We rented a one bedroom apartment on airbnb for $35/night right near the old city and then spent a couple days walking around exploring. I found an amazing down jacket (which became my best friend the rest of the trip) at a local thrift shop for $50 and then I also bought a really cute sweater from a local Prague designer called La Femme MiMi. Prague has the largest castle in the world so we walked across the famous Charles Bridge up to the castle with an amazing view of the city. The beer is also the cheapest EVER, cheaper than water… which was at the store to buy 50 cents a bottle and then $2-$3 for a pint at the restaurant. I personally felt like a lot of working men were constantly drunk when we were on the bus, but I guess for that price why wouldn’t they be lol.

8 | GERMANY

My heritage is 3/4 German, 1/4 English and one of my bucket list items has been to visit the cities where my grandparents grew up, so that is what we did in Germany. We rented a car in Stuttgart (southern Germany) and drove all the way up to Berlin. We stopped in Hann Münden where my dad’s mom spent a few years growing up, then drove through Ottersberg and Bremen where my mom’s dad and my step opa grew up and then finally to Berlin for a few days. I loved Germany because every meal felt like home and they had the most delicious baked goods ever with fresh bakeries on every corner. It was also very inspiring to see the small towns they all grew up in and to realize how difficult/exciting moving to such a far away land like Canada was for young people back then. Adventure is in my blood :).

In Berlin we were able to meet up quickly with the founder of Anekdot, an eco-friendly / ethical lingerie store from Berlin. I also found that there were so many great sustainable brick and mortar stores like SHIO where I bought a nice gift for a friend and a great up-cycled sweater for myself, and HOMAGE where we bought a few more gifts and a great mauve scarf for myself. At either of these shops you can pick up a sustainable store map that has a list of other sustainable stores throughout the city drawn on the map. I’d definitely recommend grabbing this and shopping around Berlin, it was one of my favorite shopping cities by far and it also reminded me of New York City for some reason too.

9 | PARIS, FRANCE

I’ve always wanted to go here to say I’ve been, but Paris was again another very expensive city but it was a good few days there. We went to the Eiffel Tower, and were able to get free tickets to the Louvre because on the first Sunday of every month all museums in Paris are free. BUT if you do decide to go to the Louvre, find the underground entrance from the metro it’s a secret entrance with basically no line because we stood in the main line outside that took 1 1/2 hours long, and was sooo cold. We hooked up for coffee with the founder of THE FRENCH KISS a cheeky his + her fashion brand.  It was a nice short and sweet couple days there.

We went in the fall/winter so there were quite a few cold exploration days but overall we both LOVED our time in Europe and Britain.

We’ve been asked by friends and family what our favorite or least favorite experiences were so we decided to sum them up below! I’ll be putting together a video recap soon so watch out for that!

OUR SURVEY OF EUROPE ||

BEST OVERAL CITY

Copenhagen

BEST FOOD EXPERIENCES

Pasta in Italy

(Luke) Beef Goulash in Prague

Pastries in Germany

Breakfast at Kong Arthur in Copenhagen

LEAST FAVORITE CITY

(Jill) Zürich

(Luke) Paris

MOST EXPENSIVE CITY

Zürich

Paris

CHEAPEST CITY

Kraków

Prague

BEST TRANSIT

Berlin

Cycling in Copenhagen

WORST TRANSIT EXPERIENCE

Overnight bus from Krakow, Poland to Copenhagen (18 hours)

COOLEST/GASP WORTHY CITY

Venice

Oxford, England

Seeing the Eiffel tower

ONE AND DONE CITY(S)

Paris

Venice

CITY(S) WE’D RE-VISIT

Copenhagen

Prague

FAVORITE CITY

Prague

Copenhagen

FAVORITE COUNTRY

(Jill) England , Germany

(Luke) Denmark, Sweden (wasn’t on this trip but just love it )

 CITY(S) WE RECOMMEND TO VISIT

Prague , Czech Republic

Auschwitz Camps

Oxford, England

Holy Island, Scotland

Copenhagen , Denmark

Venice (just a day though), Italy

Berlin, Germany

Hann Münden, Germany

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