After a year of saving up, we finally left for our 2-week backpacking trip through Europe on May 31, 2015. Here’s how we did it and where we went!
Day 1 (May 31): Travel Day
The day finally came! We were finally leaving! We had a flights from Lafayette, LA to Houston, TX then to Frankfurt, Germany, to finally land in Dublin, Ireland at 11am next day. Unfortunately,the first leg of our flight was cancelled to Houston, and the flight changes that we would’ve had to deal with would have cut our trip short by a day. Fortunately, we got to the Lafayette airport early, had a long layover, and had really nice parents willing to drive us several hours to the Houston airport so we could catch our next flight!
Day 2 (June 1): Arrive in Dublin, Ireland
We finally arrived in Dublin, Ireland around 11 am. After we managed to get through customs (which thankfully didn’t take long!), we hopped on a bus and headed to our hostel. We ended up staying at the Kinlay House in the Temple Bar area, and absolutely loved it. It wasn’t too expensive, it was clean, and the staff were very friendly. Because we planned everything out months in advance, we knew that the hostel was on one of the Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus Tour routes, as were many of the places were were planning on going to, so we purchased 2-day passes for each of us. It made getting around much easier, and the live tours around the city were quite interesting!
We ended up falling alseep after we arrived at the hostel (which was a terrible decision on our part!) and didn’t make it back out until dinner. We decided to take it easy and explore the Temple Bar area and stop at the famous Temple Bar!
We ended up grabbing a quick dinner at a kebob shop and called it a night!
Day 3 (June 2): Guinness Brewery and the Old Jameson Distillery
While it might be a very touristy thing to do, I highly recommend going to the Guinness Brewery and the Old Jameson Distillery. I’ve been twice to both now, and have seen/learned something new each time. The guided tour at the Old Jameson Distillery is wonderful! And as a bonus – each ticket includes a free dram/drink or a pint!
For lunch we stopped at BoBo’s Burgers and The Greek burger and onion rings are to die for!
We took it easy the rest of the day – mostly just walking around and seeing the sights. We stopped in a few pubs and grabbed dinner at one and called it a day!
Day 4 (June 3) : Sightseeing Dublin, Day 2
Day 5 (June 4) : Travel to Scottish Highlands, Stay in Inverness
We caught an early RyanAir flight from Dublin to Edinburgh, then hopped on a train heading to Tain, Scotland a few hours away. Ethan’s favorite scotch is Glenmorangie, whose distillery is located about 3 miles from Tain’s train station. We figured we could just walk it, but sadly when we arrived, their tours were sold out for the day. This was a mistake on my part – I wasn’t able to pre-book tickets so I didn’t have a spot reserved and the time we arrived they were already full! Thankfully they were really nice about it and set up a tasting! After finding our way back to the train station, we hopped on a train heading to Inverness. We arrived around 8pm, and stayed at the Glasdair B&B.
Day 6 (June 5) : Loch Ness Trip, Travel to Dundee
After waking up early and grabbing a delicious breakfast at our B&B, we made our way to the meeting point for our Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle tour. As it turned out, Ethan had a bit of a surprise for me and popped the question! I said yes of course, and we can’t wait to go back and see the castle when we aren’t busy getting engaged!
A funny story about that – I was in a horrible mood all morning. It was cold, raining and I was tired and incredibly grumpy. We found a cute hill overlooking the castle remains, and Ethan decided it would be a good spot for a picture. We brought a mini-tripod with us so we wouldn’t have to ask strangers to take our picture, but it takes a few minutes to get set up. While he was doing that, he switched the camera to record (I clearly didn’t know about this) and you can see me sighing in displeasure about having to sit around in the rain instead of asking someone to just take the picture.
He finally managed to set it up, moves to my side, and the camera promptly falls over. This happens again, and by then I am visibly annoyed. After re-adjusting it and managing to keep it upright for more than a few seconds, Ethan looks over at me to give me a quick kiss and he starts to bend down. I am immediately telling him “No!” thinking the camera is going to snap a picture any second and he just bend down to grab something or tie his shoe, but NOPE. He was proposing! After changing my answer to “YES” and snatching the ring, I hugged him half to death and attractively started crying and snotting (it was cold ok) all over both of us. Then the camera falls over. Again.
At least it makes for a good story right? RIGHT?!?!
After we were done with the tour, we made our way back to the train station and headed to Dundee! Shortly before we left on our trip, I found out I was accepted into University of Dundee’s Anatomy and Advanced Forensic Anthropology master’s program. I wanted to check out the campus and look for apartments while I was there, and see the sights! We ended up staying at The Queens Hotel right across the street from campus. We made a quick pass through campus before trying to find dinner, and ended up stopping in their student shop in the union. Now, I don’t know about you, but my college’s student shop does not sell alcohol, so it was pretty odd to see it at UoD’s. I was clearly pretty excited to pick up some champagne and snacks (aka pringles) to celebrate our recent engagement! On the way back, we grabbed a quick dinner next door to the hotel and called it a day.
Day 7 (June 6) : Sightseeing Dundee
We spent the day walking around campus and looking at flats for me to live in while I was attending school there. I won’t bore you with all the details, so if you ever find yourself in Dundee and need recommendations on where to go and what to eat – email me at email@example.com!
Day 8 (June 7) : Travel to London
The next day, we woke up bright and early to get on a train to Edinburgh and a flight to London. We stayed at Palmers Lodge – Hillspring at Willesden Green. It was close to a tube station and fairly easy to find, clean, and the staff were great! We pretty much walked around London the rest of the day being typical tourists.
We stopped by the London Aquarium, grabbed some pictures of the Elizabeth Tower (houses the bell Big Ben), passed by Buckingham Palace, and strolled through St. James’s Park. Found a swan, some baby geese (and was promptly was chased by the mother goose), and had a nice walking tour up the River Thames.
Day 9 (June 8) : Sightseeing London
The next day, we woke up bright and early to beat the crowd at the London Eye. We got some amazing views of the city! We ended up meeting a future fellow student at Univeristy of Dundee at the Borough Market to grab some breakfast and then all went to the British Museum. We loved the Borough market so much, we ended up grabbing dinner at WOKIT (It. Was. Delicious.) and calling it an early night.
Day 10 (June 9) : Travel to Amsterdam
We ended up traveling by train from London to Amsterdam, and caught a city train to the station where a shuttle from our hostel would pick us up. We stayed at the Lucky Lake Hostel and it was absolutely lovely! I can’t recommend this place enough. Each “room” is an individual caravan! It was so much fun to stay here, the staff was amazing, and the other people staying were very friendly. We ended sightseeing around town the rest of the day, and cooked our own dinner at the hostel’s outdoor kitchen.
Day 11 (June 10) : Sightseeing Amsterdam
We decided to make a short trip outside of the main part of town to visit Muiderslot Castle. It was a quick bus ride from the city center to the town where Muiderslot is located, and a quick walk from there. It was absolutely beautiful, and the gardens were so much fun to explore!
Day 12 (June 11) : Travel to Paris
We decided to take another train from Amsterdam to Paris, and we were very excited to see it was a high-speen train! We arrived in Paris in only a few hours, and walked to Hôtel Le Rocroy where we would be staying. We had planned to head to Normandy beach, but unfortunately those plans didn’t quite work out, so we spent the rest of the day sightseeing and stopping at cafés.
Day 13 (June 12) : Sightseeing Paris
Because we ended up doing a little sightseeing the day before, we had an easy day walking around. We woke up early to get to the entrance of the Catacombs of Paris to beat the crowds, and had a relaxing afternoon. We grabbed some fruit, cheese and wine at a local market and had a nice picnic for lunch, and passed by Notre Dame before walking up and down the River Seine.
Day 14 (June 13) : Back in Dublin
After checking out of and grabbing a delicious breakfast of crêpes at a nearby café, we made our way back to Dublin later that afternoon. We checked in to Glenmore House later than evening.
Day 15 (June 14) : Relax!
We took a bus into town after sleeping in and spent the day just walking around. We were exhausted after traveling so much, so taking it easy was a nice change!
Day 16 (June 15) : Checkout and Flight Home
Early the next morning, we hopped on the airport shuttle right outside of the Glenmore House and caught our flight! We arrived back home around 5pm and couldn’t wait to share our trip with everyone!
Stay tuned! A post with tips for backpacking and what to bring coming soon!
Have any questions about our trip? Comment below or email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org!