Is Colmar Europe’s Most Beautiful City?
Hitchhiking, toy museums, Christmas markets, and the Statue of Liberty. We kept ourselves fairly busy in this attractive, architecturally-lavish French town. Just 20 kilometers from the German border, Colmar is the third largest city in Alsace, a region of France well known for its wine, and formerly seized by Germany on two occasions in 1871 and 1940 resulting in a beautiful pairing of French and German architectural styles. Arguably one of the most beautiful cities we’ve visited, Colmar is more than just another pretty face in the crowd of quaint European cities. Its museums, shops, markets, and squares give it a creative and intelligent personality to flaunt as well.
TwoBadTourists Talk: Day Trip to Toledo, Spain!
Recently, we took a day trip to Toledo, Spain after quite some time of being told that we must make a visit. We strolled through this former capital of Spain visiting a museum, sampling its well known treats, and admiring the beautiful views along the river from Puente de San Martín. From Plaza de Zocodover to the Jewish Quarter to the Tajo (Tagus) River, check out this historic city with us and let us know what you think! Here’s the latest episode of TwoBadTourists Talk…
A Weekend in Toulouse and Carcassonne, France
After dodging tomatoes being wildly thrown in an every direction at Spain’s La Tomatina, we made our way to Paris while still traveling with our friend Nathan from the States. For some reason he put a lot of trust in us to guide his European vacation. From the destinations to travel insurance to hostels to trains to sim cards he took our advice. I guess the “TwoBadTourists” name didn’t bother him. So we headed toward France next, though Paris is not exactly a direct shot from Valencia. Thus we picked a destination to stop off at on our way. Toulouse had long been in the back of my mind to visit and proved to be conveniently located midway on our route to Paris. We had three goals in mind for this visit: brave another walking tour, eat a nice dinner on a terrace, and take a day trip out of Toulouse to the nearby fortified city of Carcassonne.
Lover’s Locks on Pont des Arts in Paris
Auston and I are not romantic. At all. If I bought Auston a gift, I know his minimalist mind would think “Great, now I have to hold on to this item for the socially appropriate amount of time before I can chuck it.” And Auston knows that if he ever bought me flowers I’d essentially just wait for death to take hold of them so I could toss them out. I’m not much of a flower person and we’re both not really gift-givers. Still, we’re not robots and believe it or not, after eight years we still love each other even after our travels added difficulty to our relationship.
Locked Up Luggage and Transit Strikes in Nice
In the fifteen months since we’ve quit our jobs in Chicago to travel and having visited numerous destinations in that time, we have never lost our luggage. I had assumed at some point during our round the world trip, some airline would eventually misplace it. The odds just seemed to be there. Especially considering how convoluted our travel plans can be. Basically, when Auston books our travel routes, they often appear to me as a some sort of concoction of travel ingredients he cooked up in cauldron during the wee hours of the night all in the name of saving a few dollars – a pinch of airline miles here, a dash of budget airline travel there, throw in an overnight bus and a train with various connections then *poof*, a travel itinerary.
Six Gay Pride Events To Attend in Europe for Summer 2013
Last summer we got a little caught up in Europe’s gay pride events attending Munich Pride, Madrid Pride and Amsterdam Pride. With so many great festivals celebrated in so many unique cultures, how could we not? This summer is looking to be no different as we begin planning some trips! Here’s some of the Gay Pride events we plan to attend as well as a comprehensive list of all the Gay pride events around Europe this summer 2013.
Our Top 5 French Destinations
As you know, we moved to Madrid last week and are excited to experience all that Spanish culture has to offer. But as we just recently wrote about how to get a French visa, you can gather that… we have a French visa! And having it does require that we spend a significant amount of time in the country. *Aw, shucks*. We haven’t figured out the logistics of how we’ll get around in France, but not having the Eurail pass this time opens things up. We can now book a variety options like buses and occasional flights or possibly a hire car in France – which ever is most affordable at the time. As we begin making the plans, we’re excited to share our top five destinations in France this year.
Long Stay Visa in France: Applying for a France Tourist Visa
Auston and I knew after completing our backpacking trip that we wanted to return to Spain to continue studying Spanish. Our goal was to spend at least six months in Madrid but we also wanted to go to France for a couple months to visit family and perhaps start dabbling in French. Unfortunately, according to the Schengen Agreement, Americans can only be in certain European countries (including Spain and France) for a maximum of 90 days within a 6 month period. Sure, we could leave after three months and go to another country in Europe, since we can spend up to 6 months in the UK. But as fluent English speakers, we’re not looking for English immersion – even though we’d need it to ever understand British English! So we interpreted this Schengen policy as “Americans must scheme their way into Europe if they want to stay more than 90 days”. As Barney Stinson from How I Met Your Mother would say, “Challenge accepted!”
Family Time in France
The day after our quick trip to Heidelberg we finally arrived in Nancy, France with Auston’s family to visit their extended cousins. It had been about 4 years since we’d seen everyone (many I had just met for the first time). We had a great time at a couple family get togethers and the food was excellent. I admit that I sometimes thought the French appreciation for good wine and cheese was somewhat of a stereotype. But it was quickly confirmed for me. And we thoroughly enjoyed it!
After some sightseeing in Nancy, we went to Center Parcs, a sort of outdoor resort in the forests of France. They had numerous activities from paintball, horseback riding, bowling, biking, archery, swimming pools, etc. It was an overwhelming selection and we mostly opted for laying out poolside.
However, we did all partake in the zipline. Actually, it turned out to be more of an endurance balancing act amongst the trees than it was a zipline, but we managed (even with my trembling fear of heights). Center Parcs was an excellent and probably more uncommon way to spend time in France as an American tourist, but it is well worth it. Plus it was excellent family time. Just what we needed before we continue on our own for the next 6 months.