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CORSICA // Corte & Central Corsica

Friday, July 15, 2016

After thoroughly enjoying out time on the coast, we headed inland towards Corte for the remainder of our trip. While Corte isn't a typical stop for many tourists visiting Corsica, it was one of our favorite part of the visit and the perfect change from the touristy, beach town vibes that populate the coast. We took our time driving the mountain roads and enjoying the scenery, which transitioned from red rocks to steep mountain cliffs and lots and lots of greenery. We stopped an hour outside of Porto to hike to Gorges de Spelunca, which was one of my favorite places on the island. After a short, relatively easy hike throughout a narrow valley, we came upon crystal clear pools of water surrounded by warm, smooth rocks that were perfect for lounging. We spent the morning rotating from sunbathing to taking tips in the pools and exploring up and down the canyon. We went up the valley a bit and had the entire area to ourselves, and we both agreed that swimming holes are now our new favorite way to spend an afternoon. 

CORSICA // The Western Coast

Sunday, July 10, 2016
After spending a week packing up our life in Holland, we were READY for our Corisca adventure. We had a super early flight - as in 6:30am departure early - which was an adventure in itself trying to get to the airport that early (buses and trains and lots of walking). But we made it on time, and after passing out on the plane we woke up just as we were beginning our descent. I immediately looked out the window expecting to see something to get my bearings and all I saw was a cruise ship perfectly framed by the tiny airplane window cruising along through the bright blue Mediterranean. We were in the Mediterranean, that was for sure.

Corsica // Video

Friday, July 1, 2016
As the end of our year in Europe came closer, we knew we wanted to try to squeeze in a few more trips to places on our bucket list. Austria was a given based on the amount of hikes, gorgeous views, and 1 hour flight from southern Holland. We also knew that we NEEDED to see the sun soon or we were going to become vampires, so we wanted to plan our final adventure for somewhere warm, full of beaches, hikes, and lots of adventures. Kayak Explore had become our trusted advisor for finding cheap flights during flexible dates, and Corsica kept popping up whenever we started to search for flights to places. We didn't really know anything about it (seriously, we didn't really even know it was a place), but a nice couple we met in Chamonix had recommended going there at the beginning of our stay, so when we saw 50 euro round trip tickets that fit our dates perfectly, we said WHY NOT. We planned the trip for July 1st - 5th, with a few days back in Delft to say a final goodbye to our favorite town before heading back to America. So when the end of June finally came, we packed up our little apartment, said goodbye to our life in Holland, and hopped on a plane to sunny Corsica. We had no idea what to expect, but it turned out to be one of our absolutely favorite trips of the entire year and our new favorite happy place on earth. We'll post more about details and what we did, but for now, I hope this video portrays how amazing this beautiful country is.

Delft Favorites

During our flood of visitors we realized that we were haven't explore our little dutch town THAT much. Being poor college students again, we haven't eaten out THAT much and try to save our money for travels.  However, over the past two months we have come to discover that there are SO many amazing gems in Delft that we have come to love. Here are a few of our favorite spots in our favorite town!

- Best Sandwich Shop: Slagerij Leo van Vliet - delicious, cheap (3 euros), easy sandwiches to go. It took us a while to go there because we were slightly intimidated (mainly locals who know exactly what they're doing) but we got the kip (chicken) with chives and sauce and it was BOMB.

- Best Gelato: Chocolaterie de Lelie - a chocolate shop that also makes the best gelato I've ever had. Get a double scope and sit along the canal to enjoy!

- Best touristy cafe that's well worth it: Stads Koffyhuis- highly overrated and overprices sandwiches, but their famous pea soup is to DIE for and if you get a seat in the window or on the boat (on a nice day!) you'll have gorgeous views.

- Best coffee shop to spend a cold afternoon: Coffee Company - comfy leather sofas and arm chairs, great tunes, and free wifi. It's a chain in Holland but each shop has it's own vibe so it feels super local. They had great coffee, yummy mint tea and sweet views.

- Favorite Restaurants-
 1. De Beierd - hands down our favorite place to go (we may or may not have boughten every guest there and eaten there once or twice (or even three times) a week for a while. We befriended all the waiters (and I had major crushes on them all) and would always chat with them for a while whenever we ate there. They changed the menu daily and had five different types of specials (veggie, chicken, meat, pasta, etc.) that were relatively cheap and they had a delicious beer selection.

2. PeliCaan - Our airbnb host recommended this off-the-beaten-track, cozy (or gezellig :) place when we first moved there, and it quickly became our favorite special occasion place. It's super cozy with only a handful of tables that are usually filled with locals that have a standing reservation on Fridays and Saturdays. Their specials menu is usually to die for and they make a mean charcuterie platter.

3. San Marco - our go-to italian place around the corner from our apartment. It was the perfect, cozy italian place to get delicious pizza and pasta dishes and cozy up in a booth or in the back patio by the fireplace.

4. 't Postkantoor - this was a really interesting place. It had really cool style and decor inside, so going there was always a fun experience, plus they had an awesome outdoor patio for sunny days. The food was okay - they had a special of the day that was always different and was sometimes good (we thought that was their way of testing out meals, and some of them were just weird) but their bread and butter was PHENOMENAL.

- Favorite Bars -
- Best place to drink a beer on a hot day: Anywhere and everywhere. But really.
1. Beestenmarkt is a big square with lots of restaurants, shaded areas under the trees and umbrellas, and a communal, friendly vibe. It's definitely my favorite place to go on a nice, warm day to get a Leffe or Duval and bitterballen to cool off. Get a round two at the square outside of LEF, which has tons of tables and areas to hang out (but limited beer options).

Best cozy place to get drink a beer: pretty much every bar in Delft is adorably cozy and perfect for a rainy afternoon, but our favorite go to place was Cafe de Wijnhaven. It has multiple levels, big tall windows and a fun college bar vibe. Het Klooster was another favorite that we discovered late in the year - it's super small so it's usually packed with locals, but if you can find a secret corner in the back, the beer selection is amazing and the vibe is spot on.

Favorite college bar: 
1. BOUWPUB! By far, the best college bar was the bar on campus at the architecture building called Bouwpub. It was run by students so you could sign up to bar tend with your friends for the evening (which was SO fun), and beers were only 1-2 euros. You could order a toasty, sit with friends in the sun or inside at a table, and then attempt to bike home after too many 1 euro beers. It was THE BEST.

2.We spent a few evening as Cafe Tango, a fun pub on the corner of an old alleyway an the main canal, and it was a favorite with college students. We chatted up the Rowing Team one evening (they were all about 7 feet tall) and saw quiet a few of the fraternity folks there when riding by on our bikes.
3. Eetcafe de Ruif was also a favorite - it was always great meeting friends for a round of Lefe around the wooden tables, and it often ending in a dance party in their dancing room. It's connected to a barge in the back so on sunny days you can drink out on the canal, and on rainy afternoons it's the perfect cozy ambiance with the melting candles and cozy corners. It's also right next to the Nieuwe Kerk, down a dark alley way on the side, so it feels like its a secret medieval lair, which is pretty cool.

4. Doerak Beircafe was the bomb. Great beers, ample seating, and fun board games to play with friends.

- Cutest Cafes -
1. Boulangerie Michel is an adorable french cafe with delicious sandwiches if Slagerij Leo is too busy and has cute decor and seating in the back.

2. Kek ( Koffee & Kraft) is amazing, but because of that there's always a line out the door. It has DELICIOUS salads (my usual was basically just avocado and bacon), yummy coffee, smoothies, and AWESOME decor. There are tons of fun books and trinkets and awesome furniture for sale and it has a fun, hip vibe perfect for an afternoon of people watching.

- Favorite stores - 
My favorite store in Delft was Dille & Kamille (which is a chain, but still felt so cute and adorable), and was the perfect pick me up for yummy candles, kitchen decor, fun gifts, and pretty much any kitchen tool you could ever need.

We found the sweetest pottery store run by a little old lady who lived above the shop and mainly just wanted to open a store because she loved pottery. We bought two little mugs from her and they're our favorites.

We didn't shop much when we were there since we were living on a student budget, but here were a few of my favorite places to window shop: Instore Conceptstore, Seven Days, and Bij Marlies. They had great concept and lifestyle stores, which was a new concept for me at the time, and I loved being able to roam these places and envisioning living there and living the life they were selling. Great idea if you ask me :)

Must Do's in Delft:
- Get a fresh stroopwafel on Market Day (Thursdays or Saturdays)
- Bike to brunch at cafe Du Midi
- Make friends with the old man that owns the clog shop at the corner Markt & Voldersgracht
- Wait in line for ice cream at De Lilie
- Get a beer and some bitterballen at Beestenmarkt
- Enjoy a night cap at Wijndhaven
- Beers and board games at t'Klooster
- Grab a three euro sandwich from Slagerij Leo van Vliet and ride bikes to the Delftse hout park
- Climb to the top of Old Kerk

AUSTRIA // Video

Thursday, June 30, 2016
I'm SO excited to have finally finished our Austria video! It's taken a while to get through all the footage while adjusting to our live back in the states, but it's been so much fun to relive our travels, especially right now since we're really missing Holland and our European adventures. Austria feels like a dream - it was such a quick trip and fell in love with the country immediately, and we can't wait to go back and see the rest of it!

Austria // Intentional Detours

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Travel days can be tough, especially when it is the last day of a fun trip and you're getting a bit stressed about heading home. There are a ton of logistics to worry about - returning the rental car, remembering to put gas in the rental car, hoping there are no surprise scratches on your rental car, getting through security at the airport, repacking your carryon to fit some of those last minute souvenirs... the list goes on. With this mumbo jumbo in mind, Anna and I have made a habit of booking afternoon flights and sneaking one last side adventure into our travel days before the chaos at the airport begins. We usually pull this off by driving to within 30 minutes of the airport with a while to spare before check-in and then finding a random country road to explore. Driving aimlessly is the best especially since this part of the trip is completely unplanned and anything you find is totally unexpected. We did this in Portugal where we found some amazing landscapes in the Algarves just off the main road back to Lisbon. In Scotland, we found the perfect loch-side spot for scarfing the last of our snacks that we weren't going to pack. In Austria, we gave this strategy another go by arriving in Innsbruck with about an hour to kill. Anna pulled up a map and saw some cool roads winding up a nearby hillside overlooking the city. We started our detour with the goal of finding a place to grab a coffee with a view. Fifteen minutes later we were at a beautiful roadside hotel, sipping kaffee looking out over the Inn valley. This place wasn't a spot that we would normally plan to visit but still it stands out now as a favorite memory from the trip. With that in mind, we're chalking this one up to another win for intentional travel day detours.

Austria // Mayrhofen

Thursday, June 23, 2016

After our hike above Alpbach, the weather turned a bit nasty which was fine because we were driving for about an hour to get to Mayrhofen. This drive led us up the Ziller Valley which was huge compared to where we had been. After checking in at our Inn, we drove up to Ginzling, which is way up in a much narrower, high alpine valley. The sun broke through and for a bit it was shorts-and-T-shirt weather. Having already hiked a few hours that day, we opted for a windshield tour of our new surroundings. Again, waterfalls galore. Ended up driving to nearby Finkenberg and Tux in the Tuxer Tal valley. The latter is definitely more of a ski destination but man was it still gorgeous in the summer.

Austria // Alpbach

We left Holland on a Friday around 1400 (we think we're cool because we use military time now) and landed in Innsbruck a short hour and a half later. The plane's descent was epic – we flew over Munich, came over the alps and then up the valley following the Inn River upstream with steep mountains on each side. When we stepped off the plane, walked out on the runway, turned around and had to look up a few thousand feet to see the peaks surrounding us. A few gliders cruised above close to the valley walls. Everything was lush and green, the sky was perfectly blue and there were a few waterfalls that we could already see in the distance. This place was unreal. We were both in awe and we hadn’t even left the airport…. or runway for that matter.

A Secret Garden

Wednesday, June 15, 2016
One of my favorite things about the Spring so far has been how warm and LIGHT it's been out at night. It doesn't get dark until around 10:45pm, which is a very big change from the 3:30pm sunsets during the winter. It's literally life changing. Instead of watching movies and falling asleep at 9pm like the in the winter, we've been spending the evenings post-dinner taking walks, riding around town, and drinking beers with the rest of Delft in the outdoor square.

So many Hogans in Holland

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Our last visitors of the year were the Hogans - to - be, Jack's brother Tyler & his fiance Carleigh! We met them in Amsterdam and wandered the city a bit, exploring fun neighborhoods like Joordan and Nine Streets. And we had pie at Winkle, because duh.

The next day they came down to Delft and we showed them our some of our dutch favorites - sandwiches from Leo van Vliet, bike riding out to Delftse Hout, windmill selfies, lunch at Cafe Du Midi, wandering around Delft streets, a climb to the top of the windmill (!) , dinner at Pelicaan, sunset selfies at the Markt, and beers at 't Klooster. After having so many visitors the past few months, I have to say that we've nailed down the perfect Delft day.


The next day the boys climbed to the top of the New Church for some awesome views while Carleigh & I drank tea and caught up at one of the cafes in the square. I've always pegged them to be super touristy, but it was actually an awesome view and pretty nice. We then decided to rent a boat for an hour and wander the delft canals by water, and it. was. awesome. We stuck to the main inner canals but it was so much fun to see our favorite views in a new way. It was (almost) the perfect day, until Jack magically dropped his phone in the water as he was jumping out of the boat. It was one of those drops that you couldn't do if you tried (the phone dropped RIGHT between the boat and the dock), and for a second we were all shocked at what had happened. Everyone thought the phone was a gonner, but Jack ran home to grab goggled and a swim suit, and dove right in to try to find it. Everyone was staring and snapping photos - tourist and locals alike- and after 20 minutes of pulling up rusted beer cans and sludge, he gave up. He did one last "feel", and somehow emerged with PHONE IN HAND. It was a dutch miracle. 

Unforuntately, the phone was definitely water logged and completely broken, but we're still hoping insurance will cover it/ we can exchange it somehow. 

BUT, besides the phone mishaps, it was a pretty epic weekend and so much fun to spend time with C&T in Delft.