I’ve just spend the last hour going through my photos from my recent trip to Europe with my mom. What an amazing 10 days! We just got home a few days ago and as I look back through pictures, it’s surreal to think we were just there about week ago. I’m incredibly blessed to have had the opportunity to go back to Europe after so many years and to spend this amazing experience with my mom. We both love to travel and loved every moment of our 10 days in Germany and Denmark…. the food, the people, the families, the architecture, the cultures, the languages. I don’t want to forget any of it and thought I’d share all of my memories with you too. I hope you enjoy!
After 24+ hrs and four long flights from California, to Toronto, to Copenhagen and finally to Germany, we landed in Basel, Switzerland. The airport actually lies right on the border of France and Switzerland and it just minutes from Germany too. Our friend Stina and her daughter met at at the airport. We were going to be staying with her at her home near Freiburg, Germany. For years, my mom and I have hosted international students and their leaders in our homes with EF International – an organization that brings international students to the US to stay with American families to learn our culture and improve their English. We’ve hosted so many people and as a result have many international friends all over Europe. Getting to stay with a friend in their home is such a more authentic experience than staying at a hotel and we were so thankful to get to stay with Stina at her home.
We enjoyed our first taste of German food that evening with a dinner of “German Bread”. It was a delicious spread of breads, cheeses, and meats that you ate open-faced and in any combination that you wanted. It was so tasty and perfect after a long day of travel. It really got our taste buds ready for all of the great food that was to come on this trip (I think I was more excited to experience all of the different foods than anything else on this trip!)
We spent a day walking around the picturesque town of Freiburg, Germany. It was a European town, just like you see in picture… cobblestone streets, colorful old buildings, cathedrals, and even a street fair. I actually felt like I was walking around in the TV show “House Hunters International”. That day there was a huge farmers market and vendor fair happening and it was fascinating to see all the foods and items available for sale. For lunch, we had a classic German sausage in a bun. Our friends showed us their favorite vendor and I gotta say, it was delicious. It looked just like a hot dog, but I think it was deep-fried and in a bun like nothing we have here.
We visited an old cathedral in town and was absolutely in awe. European cathedrals are nothing like the churches here in the US. They have incredible artwork and architecture that blows your mind when you think about how long ago they were built. It hardly seems possible to built something that incredible so long ago. We walked up a spiral staircase of about 300 steps to the top of the bell tower. It was quite the workout but gave us the most beautiful view of the city from the top.
We spent the rest of the day meeting up with more international friends from EF including another German course leader Corina, and 3 of my former German students that have stayed with me and my family: Laura, Dagi and Leo. They each traveled about 3 hrs just to come see us and I was so glad they did. It was so special to catch up with each of them and visit them in their country this time.
Because we were still so close to France, we spent the next day visiting a castle! This was such a treat because I certainly didn’t expect to get to add France to list of countries visited on this trip. The drive there was full of farmland and rural towns. We arrived at one of the many towns and looked up into the mountains and there stood a beautiful chateau! As we go closer, it was even better and looked just like a fairy tale. We toured the entire castle, room by room and then finished our day at the gift shop and snack bar for a must-have French baguette sandwich with butter and ham. It sounds so basic and maybe even unappetizing but it is the best thing ever! It’s something I remember from my first trip to France almost 20 yrs ago and I couldn’t wait to have one again! (Did I mention how excited I was to experience all of the food?!)
We spend our last day in Germany like locals and went with Christina to her school where she teaches 5th, 8th and 11th graders English and German. We had the opportunity to see a day in the life of students and teachers at her school and even got to sit in on a couple of her classes. In her English class, the students had just finished a unit on California and had prepared questions for us about life in California. It was so fun to get to hear their questions and encourage them in their English. The questions were great, including “Have you ever been to Neverland Ranch” and “Are American teachers mean?” 🙂 Stina’s daughter also came with us that day and we had a fun time coloring in her “Frozen” color book during classes!
After 3 days in Germany, we headed by plane to Denmark to meet up with one of my best friends, Louise. She came to live with my family when we were both 16 yrs old as a student with EF. We’ve stayed in touch for over 20 yrs and have even been in each other’s weddings. It was so nice to see her again and experience her life in Denmark.
My mom and I spent the next 4 days walking all over Copenhagen and seeing all the sites. We even learned how to use the trains to get around. In Copenhagen, we really enjoyed walking up and down the many pedestrian streets full of cafes and shops. We bought lots of gifts for our family and couldn’t get enough of the delicious bakery panini sandwiches, coffees and pastries. We took a boat trip up and down the many canals in the city where we learned a lot about the city’s history and saw the original Little Mermaid statue from Hans Christian Anderson’s original story. We watched the changing of the guards at noon at the Queen’s Palace and visited a beautiful castle, right in the middle of the city, complete with a room full of royal jewels! We also took the train to a smaller town about 30 minutes from Copenhagen called Hillerod and spent an afternoon there visiting yet another castle and browsing the cobblestone streets. We also spent lots of time with Louise’s family in her home and enjoyed doing every day activities with her family too like going to the playground, grocery shopping and watching soccer on TV.
This past Sunday we started the long trip home. The trip had been amazing but I was so excited to see my husband, daughters and my dog. I missed them so much but am so thankful to them all for keeping life going here at home so I could go on this amazing experience. It was a memory I’ll always have with my mom and look forward to future adventures too!
Have you traveled to Europe? Where is your favorite place to visit? Tell us in the comments below!
Want more useful tips like this?
Subscribe and get my FREE e-Book!
The Top 10 Most Popular Posts from the Past Year
Get simple tips & tricks to better manage your home including real food recipes, kids & family fun, thrifty living, natural living, hacks for your home and more!