Friday Five: Best Travel Adventures

Every Friday I’ll indulge my order-crazed brain in a list of randomness. Welcome to my Friday Fives.

We’ve covered our travel nightmares of past and present…and seeing as we’re currently on one of our best adventures to date we thought it only fair to share a few of our favorite adventures from our decade together. It was near impossible to whittle down this list, but here we go…pack those bags.

5. Amsterdam

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We’ve been to “Venice of the North” twice. The first time was a forced overnight layover that KLM handled beautifully: paid hotel, paid meals, paid transportation, free night to explore the city and first class back to the states the next morning. (American? Delta? Are you reading this?). The second time was one of the many stops along our European tour with our Chinese orchestra. Both times we were pressed for time–you could spend a week here–but we made the most of it, running around like crazy people trying to see as much as possible. Highlights include: The Anne Frank House (always, forever, haunting, beautiful, life-changing, a must), the canals, witnessing the hot mess that is the Red Light District (disgusting, but you should at least see it), staying overnight in Monnickerdam (stunning) and touring windmills from the 17th century (wowza). I’d go back in a heartbeat. One of my favorite cities ever.

4. Salzburg

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On said European tour, the Russians in our orchestra (namely, one) got into an arguement with our bus driver, so the orchestra decided to leave all of the non-Chinese members at a remote hotel outside of Salzburg until a new driver could get there. Meanwhile, all of the natives toured the city and had a fun day. Um, I will not get that close to Fraulein Maria and the Von Trapp Family only to sit in a lodge by the highway. We jumped on a public bus (horns on our backs) with the others and did a running tour of the city. I’m serious…most of my photos are blurred from us running down the street. Clearly, we need to go back sometime and do this right, but it was enough to tide me over. Highlights include: seeing Mozart’s birthplace, hoards of Sound of Music tours (yes, please), seeing the hills that are alive, and not shutting up about The Sound of Music for hours after.

3. Hong Kong

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Traveling to Hong Kong was by far one of the best parts of living in China. That city knows what’s up. We loved spending as much free time as possible among its clean streets and English-speaking people. Highlights include: Po Lin Monastery, Kowloon Road, the medicine shops you could smell for miles, Starbucks, Christmas shopping, being there with Sean, my dad and Joe’s mom, Mexican food (omg, yes, every time), avocado sandwiches at La Baguette, entire Lan Kwai Fong district, Victoria Peak, the gardens, sunsets on the harbor, and the ferry. Bonus: looking through old photos and finding the one above. (Thanks, Dad, this is going on the wall!)

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2. Honeymoon

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Few things have felt as good as stepping on a cruise ship the day after you get married, knowing you don’t have to plan, think about, or do anything. It was the way to go for us. Highlights include: snorkeling in the Caribbean, biking through a rain forest, exploring the ruins in Mexico, drinking coke in Belize (they use brown sugar and it’s a game changer), watching the series finales of both Lost and 24, the buffets, the sun, and–Joe’s favorite–cleaning bird poop off my neck in Honduras. Such romance!

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1. Italy

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This is the place that started it all and since it’s also the place we’ve explored the most, the entire country gets a shout-out. Highlights include: two summers in Lucca, weekends in Cinque Terre (pictured), day trips to Pisa, Florence, everything in Rome (love. it.), Venice ($$$$$), Milan and Verona, gnocchi and gelato, our apartment with Chris, parmesan pizza at La Drogheria, Turin (shroud, Olympics, cold), and, oh yeah, falling in love.

Let’s do it all again.

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