10 Things My First European Trip Taught Me

I recently returned from my honeymoon (and my first European trip since I was a baby!) My husband and I visited Santorini, but also spent a night in Athens, and a night in London. While I certainly don’t claim to know everything about Europe, I wanted to share 10 things I learned while abroad.

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  1. It’s not all glamorous. Travel can be frustrating and exhausting, but oh-so worth it.
  2. Talk to the locals for recommendations on restaurants, beaches, etc . Get away from the popular tourist locations because the views are just as beautiful, but you don’t have to share the experience with dozens/hundreds of others.Wedding-10
  3. Expectations lead to disappointment. Try to go with an open mind and you will enjoy your time even more!
  4. You will miss routine and “normalcy”. But then when you get back home, you will miss the craziness of travel. It’s a cycle.Honeymoon-20
  5. The little things are what get the most expensive. Buying drinks with dinner. Paying for taxis and transportation. It can be really easy to spend an extra $20 a day that you don’t NEED to spend. But if you’re smart and plan ahead, you can avoid these costs and save a lot of money.

     

  6. Don’t try to see too much in a short period of time. We spent 8 nights in Santorini. I thought that would be too much and I was worried we would get bored. But there was SO much to see, plus we still had time to relax. We met several people who only had 24-48 hours on the island, which is still great, but I can’t imagine how you’d get an authentic experience in such a rushed period of time. Not to mention, staying in one place for longer will save you money on travel expenses!
  7. European airlines aren’t the same as North American airlines. I had read about the lack of leg space, and the expensive baggage charges, but it was even worse than I expected. On our Vueling flight, my knees actually hit the seat in front of me before the person even put it in recline. After, it was even worse. They also didn’t offer us water, snacks, etc. unless you wanted to pay for it!
  8. Water isn’t free at most restaurants. You can ask for tap water, but it isn’t safe to drink everywhere. We bought a 6-pack of water every few days because this girl needs to stay hydrated!

     

  9. You’ll miss your own bathroom. The bathrooms aren’t cleaned to the same standard as ours at home, you often have to pay to use them, and sometimes you aren’t allowed to throw your toilet paper in the toilet. I was pretty excited to be back in a Canadian airport with a “normal” toilet.
  10. It truly will change you, you’ll come home a different person with stories, experiences and lessons that you’ll cherish forever.

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Valentine’s Day in the Mountains

This is the 6th Valentine’s Day since Quinton and I started dating, but only the 1st that we’ve been able to spend together! We wanted to make it extra special, so we drove to our favourite spot and spent some time exploring the mountains! I’ve been here several times now, but I am still in complete awe every time. Pictures don’t even do this place justice. The mountains are SO huge, and completely surround you. I don’t think I could ever get sick of this! I can’t believe in 4 months I get to live in Alberta, and experience this on a regular basis!

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We’re standing on a huge frozen lake! You could walk across the lake, and they even had horse drawn carriage rides & designated spots to play hockey

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When we saw this wedding ceremony site we both said “Let’s cancel our venue and get married here”. haha, not actually happening!

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We climbed back up to the exact spot we got engaged. It’s a little dirt part off the main path, and no one else was up there so we hung up our hammocks and enjoyed the view until we got too cold!

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A House On Wheels

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Okay, so it isn’t ours, but I can dream, right?

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I don’t know when my obsession started, or where it came from, but for over a year now I have had this crazy dream of living in a vintage travel trailer. As soon as I figure out how to winter-proof it for Edmonton winters, I’m going to make it happen!

Bon Echo Provincial Park – Ontario

This was the best day in a long time. Leana and I embarked on our adventure with no plan or itinerary. We decided to rent a canoe, then we decided to park it and hike up through an unmarked forest. I’d say the views were worth it! And they definitely helped with my mountain withdrawals! Bon Echo, I’ll be back. Bon-Echo-6 Bon-Echo-7 Bon-Echo Bon-Echo-1 Bon-Echo-3 Bon-Echo-4

Mount Cheam – Chilliwack, British Columbia

There’s not a whole lot the two of us are afraid of when it comes to heights and mountains…but this trek was a little bit too much for us. Once the tires of the Jeep slipped a couple times, Quinton backed down the mountain. Maybe next time. Grad Weekend-25 Grad Weekend-29 Grad Weekend-26 Grad Weekend-28 Grad Weekend-27

The Best Day

April 27, 2015 we were driving through Jasper National Park on our way to Edmonton. We tried to find somewhere to go for breakfast. After struggling to find somewhere serving breakfast, we finally decided on a restaurant. We ate breakfast and figured out where we wanted to go next.

Then we headed to Maligne Canyon. We parked at the 6th bridge and started walking towards the canyon. We talked about going on a long term hike and what we would wear/pack of we did so. We reached the canyon and decided to go off the main path and climb down to the waterfall. The river was dried out and Quinton just kept walking further up the river. He kept saying “all we need now is a view of the mountains”. He kept looking around like he was looking for something, and wasn’t really satisfied with the views (Which were AMAZING).

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We got to the end of the river and climbed back up to the main path. Soon we saw a side path that led further up the mountain so we climbed up that. At the top we had a sweet view of the canyon and the surrounding mountains. Quinton kept complaining that the view wasn’t perfect. The clouds were too grey, we weren’t high enough, the mountain was cut off. I just told him to enjoy the view because it was amazing! We took my camera out to take pictures but I was missing a piece from the tripod. So we had to make a makeshift tripod on the ground. We didn’t love the first pictures we took, and Q was being especially picky. He was like “can we hang it in a tree to get a better angle”. I didn’t really know why he all of a sudden cared so much, but I wasn’t complaining. Then we realized the path went further so we turned the bend and the view got even better. I found a better place to put my camera. So I put it on 10 pictures and ran over and took a couple. Q kept asking “so it takes 10 right?”. He was like “let’s do one more photo”.

So I set up my timer, run over beside him and he gets down on one knee. Before he could say anything I said “ARE YOU SERIOUS?”, I couldn’t believe it was actually happening. He used my full name, and I don’t remember everything he said, but he told me that I’m the person he wants to spend his whole life with, and he wants to do adventures with me for the rest of his life. And that being with me is the best decision he ever made. Then he opened the ring box, which I didn’t even look at, and asked if I would marry him. Of course I said yes and hugged him before he even put the ring on my finger!

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Bruce Peninsula

It’s official, we have found the most beautiful place in Ontario. Even though we went during the off-season, this national park was absolutely breathtaking. We can’t wait to visit again once the snow has melted! Bruce-3 Bruce-5 Bruce-10 Bruce-27 Bruce-31 Bruce-32 Bruce-36 Bruce-40 Bruce-43 Bruce-45 Bruce-48 Bruce-52 Bruce-57 Bruce Peninsula

Camp Yukon

Who knew this was hiding in the Yukon?! Definitely not me.

I just came back from a week in Whitehorse, Yukon. I was a camp counselor at a Christian summer camp, and it was a life changing week! God taught me so much about trusting in Him and relying on His strength.

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