Czech Please!

That island life...

Loving that island life…

There’s nothing like one of your best friend’s arriving to change the pace of a trip. Prior to Andrew’s arrival on the island, Dan and I had entered a somewhat coma-like state and spent the majority of our two-week visit to Tenerife enjoying real rest. We joked that we don’t think we’ve slept that much in years; an accomplishment aided by an incredibly dark room and an amazing mattress (an Airbnb first!). On top of our demanding sleep schedule, I made my way through a couple of books, wrote a bit, Dan got in a good amount of work, and we both got plenty of sun; Dan’s olive skin naturally taking to it a bit better than mine! The highlight though, other than our evening pilgrimage to the corner store to pick out an ice cream bar for dessert (we got real crazy here, folks!), was the introduction of a new DeRose addiction: Breaking Bad. No spoilers please, we’re only in Season 2! Continue reading

Spanish Style Beach Vacation

While we are certainly grateful that the timing of our trip spared us the majority of another infamous Chicago winter, one of the things that we have not gotten much of on this European adventure is sunshine. And when most of your daily transport is done on foot, even 50 degrees doesn’t cut it! So when holed up on yet another cold and rainy evening in France, it was easy to prioritize warm weather over other travel factors when booking future legs of our journey. As a result, we have inserted a little “vacation” in the midst of our trip and are spending just under two weeks in the Canary Islands, Spain off the northwest coast of Africa. Continue reading

Lovely Lisbon

Nine days of fast and furious fun with my parents in Spain distracted us enough to almost forget what was to come after their departure. So when boarding our plane from Madrid to Lisbon, I was literally clueless about what to expect for our next destination. Admittedly, if you had asked me a few months ago where Lisbon was on the map, I shamefully would have had to admit that I had no idea. So with nothing to expect, and everything to learn, we arrived in what I will boldly call my new favorite city: Lisbon, Portugal! Continue reading

Barcelona with the Brays!

For those of you who know my parents, you will not be surprised to see a couple of guest posts coming your way later this week regaling our readers with the many stories from our time together in Spain.  But until the co-authors of the Brayzette, the family Christmas newsletter that has graced homes across America for over three decades, debut their first international edition, you will have to put up with me for another post…

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The Not-So-Nice Elements of Travel

Dan and I have been enjoying a really nice time in Nice, France this week (okay, okay…only one cheesy joke!) and are soaking in the first spring-like weather of our trip.  In true DeRose fashion, we have continued our theme of eating well in a country that is known for its food; we lunched on mussels drenched in arrabiata sauce in the Old City, we cooked fresh filets straight from the local butcher, and we sampled our fair share of Niçois sweets from the many pâtisseries along the way. But while I could go on and on about our culinary tourism (and the beautiful sites!), I’ll spare you my shameless bragging and share a bit of the not-so-glamorous elements of long-term travel: the planning of travel and more often than not, the actual travel itself! Continue reading

Living like the French do…

Dan and I are almost at the one-month mark of our trip. And while our initial arrival in London practically seems like a lifetime ago, in another way, time has completely flown by! After our first three weeks of rapid intercontinental puddle jumping, we made the conscious decision to slow down the pace of our trip. And consequently, the pace of our tributary blog posts; je suis desole! Continue reading

Mon Amour

It’s not every day that your little sister gets engaged.  But it’s also not every day that you’re in Europe on a trip of a lifetime. But if there’s one thing I know about our family, it’s that we like to be there for each other.  So when faced with the prospect of missing such a monumental occasion, I just couldn’t do it.  Thankfully, Dan generously encouraged me to “go make some memories” and I booked a last minute flight to meet my Mom in Chicago for 36 hours in order to surprise Amy and toast her engagement.  AMS>ORD>PAR. Crazy! Meanwhile, my Dad and Katie Claire toasted from Colorado as my aunt and cousins had flown in to visit them.  All in all, everyone was very excited for them! Continue reading

The Different Faces of Amsterdam

Our time in Berlin wasn’t all spent with Dan learning rich German history while I caught up on reality television! Okay, so I did spend one whole lovely afternoon relishing my American-bred affection for watching others find love through group dating, but I promise I did get out to see the city as well! If I’m being honest, Berlin wasn’t my favorite place we’ve visited, but I did appreciate our time wandering the halls of museums and the opportunity to cook our own meals at our apartment. It’s the simple things in life! Continue reading

Guten tag from Berlin!

With renewed energy from the very nicest people on earth in Bray, Ireland, we set eastward to the land I have read the most about in history and economics, Germany. What we were going to learn at any of the 200 museums sprawled across the Berlin landscape I had no idea, but I was sure it was going to set the backdrop for this ever-important stage over the last 100 years. What we discovered instead was a series of dichotomies and paradoxes that left me more confused than enlightened. Continue reading