EUROPE Summer 2015: Planning, Packing & Highlights

Wow. What an incredible trip and adventure! I can’t believe how quickly it went by. I arrived back home yesterday (and am impressed that I have this blog post completed!) with a whirlwind of emotions and so many memories.

I have never taken a trip like this before and certainly pushed myself outside of my comfort zone at times (directions are not my forte). But this past month showed me so much of this amazing world – and so much about myself. After saving up to take this trip for years, I am extremely grateful and happy (and exhausted).

I’m not going to recap every detail of my travels but I did want to answer some planning and packing questions as well as share some highlights: pictures, fitness and food.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be posting about my international CrossFit and workout experiences as well as a “What I Ate” post for each city/country.  I’ll typically stick to my Monday “schedule” but will likely post on some Wednesdays too.

Plitvice National Park, Croatia
Plitvice National Park, Croatia

First, let’s talk planning – because coordinating and organizing a multi-country and city trip with flights, trains, accommodation, tours etc is not always simple. If you’ve been reading for awhile, you know that I’m a type-A planner. So having a plan was important to me but being flexible in that plan was important in general. First, I needed to come up with my general trip idea. I knew I wanted to (and could) go away for a month. I figured out where I wanted to go; what made sense geographically; and what fit in my budget. I had to make many versions of an itinerary to figure out what worked and made sense (once I checked flights, accommodation, etc) so I really had to be patient.

This wasn’t so easy at first but I am so glad that I took the time to allow things to fall into place. I organized everything in an Excel document with 3 tabs: my calendar (see below), my notes for each city (language, time, currency, things to see/do, food, CrossFit, etc) and my booking statuses (transportation, accommodation, tours – what has been paid for, how much, etc.) The excel document (thanks Donna!) was so amazing.

So here’s where I went: (sorry the image quality from Excel isn’t great)

Summer Calendar

My sister has been living in London this year so I used London as my “base” for the first half of the trip and had my round-trip air fare out of London as well. I set out to do most of this trip solo but actually ended up picking up some people along the way and I quickly learned that solo travel is never actual solo… you meet so many people!

My sister joined me for Belgium; Mom and Grandma in Prague; and I did a G Adventure tour (this one) for Croatia. It was a great balance.

I think I planned this trip pretty well (I could have done Bergen better) but was not so stellar at packing (even though I made a billion lists). I was determined to take a backpack (this one) because I thought rolling something would be so annoying. I filled my pack to the brim with clothes, shoes and toiletries. I am really happy with my backpack decision – it worked out great.

For my clothes, I took too many sweatshirts, jeans, jackets, etc – other than in Bergen, it was so hot!

Europe packing

I also packed a bunch of snacks – Larabars, EPIC bars, Kit’s bars, Made in Nature Fruit Fusion packs, Vega electrolyte packs for easy snacking and for on the go breakfasts when I was in a pinch.

I had a small “day” backpack (similar one) and a fanny pack (this one) as well. The fanny pack was so perfect and useful. As I said, my transportation for the first half of my trip was generally out of London so I had the luxury of leaving my large backpack at my sister’s flat and only taking what I needed (in a backpack I borrowed from her) for that leg of the journey. I was also able to do laundry at her flat twice, which was so necessary.

And I owe a big thank you to Mama Honey Bee because I swapped some clothes I didn’t need for ones I did when she came to London/Prague.

Amy Airport

I thought sharing a few photos from everywhere would be an ideal way to detail my trip. I would be happy to answer any questions as best as I can so just comment below. And I’ll certainly be sharing more details re: food and fitness but until then, hope you enjoy some pics!

London, England

London
London
Borough Market
Borough Market

Tube

Brussels, Ghent, Bruges – Belgium

Brussels
Brussels, Belgium
Bruges, Belgium
Bruges, Belgium
Ghent, Belgium
Ghent, Belgium

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam
Amsterdam
Amsterdam
Amsterdam
Amsterdam Bike Tour
Amsterdam Bike Tour

Bergen, Norway

Mt Ulriken, Norway
Mt Ulriken, Norway
Mt Ulriken, Norway
Mt Ulriken, Norway
Fjord, Norway
Fjord, Norway
Bergen, Norway
Bergen, Norway

Prague, Czech Republic

Prague
Prague
Charles Bridge
Charles Bridge
Terezin
Terezin

Croatia

Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik
Bumping into Mark Sisson in Hvar
Bumping into Mark Sisson in Hvar

Croatia Sunset

Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik
Plitvice National Park
Plitvice National Park

Rome, Italy

Rome

Colosseum
Colosseum

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Santorini, Greece

Santorini1
Fira, Santorini

Santorini2

Santorini3
Oia, Santorini
Nea Kameni Volcano
Nea Kameni Volcano

16 thoughts on “EUROPE Summer 2015: Planning, Packing & Highlights

  1. I can’t believe your month of travelling is over and I am so sad that we were not in London at the same time :(
    It looks like you had an incredible trip and I can’t wait to hear all about it! xxx

  2. Looks like you had so much fun! I studied abroad in London last summer and it was literally the best time of my life. Also, I’m pretty sure I’ve been on that same bike tour in Amsterdam because that windmill looks very familiar. Did you go on the one where they took you to the cheese farm? (if not, that must sound super weird hahaha)

    1. I pre-booked! I only had a few days in Amsterdam and didn’t want to risk not getting on the tour – summer travel in Europe is a tourist hot spot! It was really easy to book online and then I just brought my confirmation. Hope this helps :)

  3. Nice pics Amy buy hiking with sports shoes is not a great deal. I advice you using a proper hiking /climbing boots because of the terrain, the grid, the stability.
    anyway, i am an amateur hiking girls and my boots have saved my feet in so so so many and different situations (5000 msnm in Nep is not a good momento for wearing shoes, :P)

    Regards

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