• Europe,  Travel

    The Bone Church: Sedlec Ossuary

    “The Bone Church” or the Sedlec Ossuary is at the site of a former Abbey in Kutná Hora, Czech Republic, a 50-minute train ride from Prague.  Train tickets from Prague are cheap and there is a local bus that travels from the train station to the church and through the rest of the city.  The abbey cemetery was a popular burial place because an Abbot was said to have sprinkled holy dirt from Jerusalem over the site in 1278.  Between the plague and the Crusades, the cemetery became overfilled.  The Baroque Gothic Style church was built in the 15th century and the remains of between 40,000-70,000 people were stacked in pyramids in…

  • Europe,  France,  Travel

    I Love Paris in the Fall

    I love Paris in the springtime.I love Paris in the fall.I love Paris in the winter when it drizzles,I love Paris in the summer when it sizzles. My Grandfather used to sing me this song and replace Paris with Shelby. 🙂 Just as the song says, I love Paris all times of the year! It is my absolute favorite city. Until my teaching assignment, I had only visited Paris during the other three seasons of the year. Exploring Paris in the Fall with the beautiful changing leaves is something else entirely! Autumn provides great weather for exploring the city on foot (with a jacket of course), with significantly less tourists…

  • Europe,  France,  Travel

    Day Trip to Medieval Saint-Émilion

    As I mentioned in my previous blog post, Bordeaux is a famous wine-growing region in southwestern France. You can’t visit Bordeaux without sampling some wine!! My friend and I booked a day trip through the Tourist Office to visit a nearby vineyard and the medieval town of Saint-Émilion. The day trip only cost 30€ and included two glasses of wine at the vineyard! Saint-Émilion is a World Heritage Site named after a monk who settled there in the 8th century, though the history of the town goes beyond that. Romans planted vines in this area as far back as the 2nd century!  The city is well worth a visit and I…

  • France,  Travel

    Best of Bordeaux

    Bordeaux is situated in Aquitane, the South-western region of France.  This is a prominent area for the wine industry – the region began producing wine in the 8th Century!  Bordeaux is a beautiful city to visit, with tons of wine-tasting opportunities for my fellow vinos.  This city has the second-highest number of preserved historical buildings of any city in France, behind Paris!  One really cool aspect of the architecture is that there are little faces scuplted into the facade of buildings throughout the city called mascarons. Below are some highlights of the city of Bordeaux.  Keep your eyes peeled for my post next week about visiting nearby vineyards and St. Émilion. La…

  • Europe,  France,  Travel

    Paul Cézanne’s Aix-en-Provence

    Aix-en-Provence is a beautiful town in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region of France. It’s about 20-30 minutes by train from Marseille, with tickets averaging $15 one-way. Aix-en-Provence (or Aix for short) is the home town of Paul Cézanne and offers many attractions relating to the artist and his paintings. Aix-en-provence is incredibly charming with a wonderful small-town feel, very contrasting to the large city of Marseille. The word Aix originates from Aqua + Sextius. Sextius was the name of an important military figure in the area, and water is very important and prevalent in the city. Aix-en-Provence was at one time part of Catalonia, and they still fly the “blood and…

  • Europe,  France,  Travel

    5 Must See Attractions in Marseille

    Marseille is the oldest city in France and the second largest city, behind Paris!  The city was founded in 600 BC by the Greeks.  This is one of the most stunning coastal cities I have ever visited!  As a port city, Marseille has a bit of a seedy reputation but overall it is a great destination to visit. Here is a list of the five can’t miss attractions in Marseille for first time visitors: Vieux Port The old port is beautiful from all angles!  The marina is very lively with waterfront restaurants, markets, and ferry boats offering rides to nearby destinations.  The large surrounding street became limited to pedestrians starting…

  • Europe,  France,  Travel

    Nice, La Belle

    In my recent post about Monaco, I mentioned that it is an easy day-trip from Nice! It only seemed natural then to write about Nice as well.  Nice is a beautiful coastal town in Côte d’Azur, the French Riviera. There is so much to do and see in Nice, from it’s pebbled beach up to the Monastère de Cimiez!   This is the first place that I ever took a solo overnight trip!  There are cheap TGV tickets using Ouigo if booking ahead of time with flexible dates.  Throughout my stay, I met many generous and kind locals who gave me great advice and directions! Here are some of the highlights…

  • Europe,  Travel

    Top Two Can’t-Miss Sites in Monaco

    The Principality of Monaco is the second-smallest country in the world – behind Vatican City!  The country is in the French Riviera, along the Mediterranean Sea.  I popped over to Monaco for a day while spending a long weekend in Nice, France.  Monaco is a very quick (and scenic) train-ride from Nice.  Most people associate Monaco with the Monte Carlo Casino and the Grand Prix, but the destination has a lot more to offer.  It’s like visiting a city, but you get to add a whole new country to your list!  If you’re short on time, I recommend visiting two highlights – Le Palais des Princes and Jardin Exotique de Monaco.…

  • Europe,  Spain,  Travel

    Day Trip to Girona and Figueres, Spain

    I always recommend visiting local Tourist Offices when traveling.  They offer a lot of great resources, including (free!) maps and advice.  I like to take a look at the available tours to nearby destinations for ideas and suggestions.  Sometimes I book day-trips through tourist offices, but a lot of times I use the tours as an idea to plan a trip myself! At the Barcelona Tourist Office, I noticed tours for day-trips to Girona and Figueres.  I took a pamphlet with me, did a little research myself, and I found it was easy to book train tickets and visit the cities by myself.  Figueres is a popular destination due to the Teatre-Museu…

  • Europe,  Spain,  Travel

    Exploring Barcelona in 72 Hours

    Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, the Northeastern region in Spain.  This city has so much to offer between the art, architecture, delicious food, and the beach!  To this day, Barcelona is one of my top favorite cities that I have visited.  Here are the Can’t Miss spots when visiting Barcelona: Barri Gòtic – Gothic Quarter The Gothic Quarter is incredibly charming.  The narrow streets are filled with cathedrals, restaurants, and clubs.  It is a stark contrast to La Rambla which is quite open.  The roads make up a myriad and it is fun to guess what is waiting around the next corner.  One of my favorite meals was in Barri Gotic. …