For the past 2 months, we've been traveling leisurely. We've had multiple days to take in a place once we make it there. We take things out of our suitcases, we make sure not to rush ourselves, we break for reading and relaxing time most days.
This week, we tested out a different way to travel!
We spent the past 7 days with a small group tour of 14 people and we sped through Venice, Slovenia, Austria, and Budapest. The name of the company that ran the trip is G Adventures. The tour included all of the logistics as well as some basic sightseeing in each city, but we were mostly on our own during the days to do what we liked.
Seeing the sights like this has a different feel to it. First of all, it's a lot more exciting. It feels like something awesome is always just around the corner. It also makes the days go by so much faster.
We don't have to pore over our map as much because in another day or two, it won't be relevant! Don't like a certain hotel? We'll be gone in the morning anyway.
In this way, we've visited Ljubljana, Lake Bled, Salzburg, and Vienna. We started the group tour in Venice (but got there 2 days early) and ended in Budapest (but stayed an extra 2 nights).
The down side to this week was that I didn't get enough time in each of the locations! OY! I feel like I passed through Austria, but didn't visit it in a meaningful way. It was like taking one bite of a delicious plate of pasta/wienerschnitzel/strudel/goulash, but not finishing it. It left me somewhat unsatisfied. From that, at least I learned a lot about how I like to travel.
During the week, we traveled by train to our different locations and I found that it is delightful to sit on a train for a couple hours and step off to a different language on the signs and in the air. Because there are so many languages spoken in these parts of Europe, almost everywhere we've visited, we can easily communicate in English.
We also tested out a different climate. Traveling north into Slovenia and Austria meant higher elevation and colder temperatures. It didn't feel like spring here quite yet! With temps in the 50s and even 40s, I wore all my warm weather clothes.
My favorite place of the week was Lake Bled. It's so charming and picturesque. The Bled castle sits high up on a granite cliff and overlooks a green/blue lake with a tiny island in the middle of it. A great spot for running, walking, and biking. I want to return in another season someday!
Now we've got under 3 weeks left before finishing our trip around the world. We're heading to Croatia (for sightseeing and biking) and Iceland (to feel like we're on another planet).