When Dan graduated from his masters program, we decided to take some time to travel Europe and the UK together. While I (JS) had been multiple times starting in college, it would be our first time through Europe as a couple.
We started in Italy, renting a car and traveling through Florence and into Tuscany. We wondered through art museums, discovered tiny Italian towns off the beaten trail, and ate and drank to our hearts content. After two weeks we drove our up along the coastline into Southern France, where we stayed in the most peaceful village near Aix-en-Provence. Again, eating and drinking, sometimes at fine restaurants and sometimes picnicking at scenic outlooks, creating memories as we went. Our dinner at the L’Auberge du Vieux Chateau, a Michelin star restaurant was and will likely remain one of the best meals of our lives (if you have a chance to visit, we highly recommend). I stopped in (almost) every patisserie for macarons, and Dan loved swimming in the turquoise waters in Marseille. We always took recommendations from our airbnb hosts or hotel concierge to try to see what the locals suggested (not just the travel books), and we were so glad we did.
Eventually we made our way up to Paris, eating crepes underneath the Eiffel tower and walking the Seine at night. I couldn’t get enough of walking the halls of the Musée d’Orsay, my favourite museum in the world. A former Beaux-Arts railway station, this stunning museum housed that biggest collection of impressionist and post impressionist paintings in the world – including some of my favourites by Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, Cézanne, Sisley, Gauguin, and Van Gogh.
After this, we flew to Spain and spent a week in Sitges, a colourful and vibrant city on the Mediterranean near Barcelona. Every afternoon we enjoyed it’s warm beaches, and every evening basked in the flavourful Sangrias and Spanish tapas.
Finally we ended our trip in Scotland, with the highlights being exploring “Diagon alley” in Edinburgh, and wandering the Scottish highlands on some especially misty days.