Thursday, July 30, 2015

What's Next?

I'm so excited, August's Adventures have been planned! We've got 8 months left in Europe and I plan on taking advantage of every single 4-day/ weekend we have left.

+ Vienna, Austria

+ Bratislava, Slovakia

+ Bergen, Norway

+ Stavenger, Norway

My must's before we leave? (There's still so many, but I know I HAVE to go to these places)

+ Edinburgh, Scotland

+ Brussels, Belgium

+ Bruges, Belgium

+ Luxembourg

I know it doesn't seem like much more, but if we have another 3 years here my list would be never ending!

**All these pictures are from Google

Berlin, Germany

This is the last trip from 2013 I have to blog about and I'll be all caught up, from 2013 that is, I still have lots to do from 2014! Haha, the struggle is real.

In June 2013, we took our first family trip to Berlin! The capital of Germany! Drew was the one who booked everything. He booked a hotel in the Mitte area, near Alexander Platz.
Sidles Family Vacation to Berlin

Rylie was super excited for our family vacation

We stayed at the Motel One, (Completely different from Motel 8 in the states) Honestly for the price we paid it wasn't worth it. Parking alone for one night was 24 euros! Don't get me wrong it was a nice hotel, but we stayed in Berlin for 2 nights. 48 euros just my car could sit in a garage. At the time I wasn't working and we had just paid for our Budapest adventure. Drew decided that we needed to take advantage of the 4-day in June, so we were off to Berlin. We must have hit traffic because I remember the drive taking almost 5 hours! (It's only 3.5)
"Double Beds" Can you see where the dogs were laying?
Drew planned everything, from where we were staying, to what we were doing.
I think he did a great job. Of course, after this I've taken over planning the vacations, but every now and then I let him plan one. ;)
The first thing we saw was Check Point Charlie. We even got our passports stamped, it's more of a tourist thing, but Drew and I both wanted passport stamps.

Sidles' @ Check Point Charlie June 2013


Checkpoint Charlie has become one of Berlin's primary tourist attractions. An open-air exhibit was opened during the summer of 2006. Gallery walls along the Friedrichstraße and the Zimmerstraße inform on escape attempts, how the checkpoint was expanded, and its significance during the Cold War, in particular the confrontation of Soviet and American tanks in 1961. An overview of other important memorial sites and museums on the division of Germany and the wall is presented as well. Tourists can have their photographs taken for a fee with actors dressed as allied military policemen standing in front of the guard house. Several souvenir stands with fake military items and stores proliferate as well. It's a big tourist attraction. It's nice to see though.

From the Berlin Wall, we headed off to the Berlin Victory Column. Looking back now, Drew lead me on the long way. -_- Although we did find the Sony Center. We even took a little break so I could get some Starbucks! (It's the little things that matter) The Victory Column looks like it is made of Gold, Berliners have given the statue the nickname Goldelse, meaning "Golden Lizzy". We found a little Bratwurst stand and sat for a quick lunch.

From the Victory Column, we made the hour long walk down to the Brandenburg Gate. You can see the Brandenburg Gate, and it doesn't look like it's a far walk. Ever heard the phrase looks can be deceiving? Haha It's not that bad of a walk though, there are lots of places to stop off and see. Maybe that's why the walk took so long. When we finally made it to the Brandenburg gate, we found Boba Tea (Drink with Tapioca Balls in it), since being in Germany we haven't been able to find it!

After our long day we dropped the dogs off at the hotel, and headed off the Alexander Platz. We heard it was supposed to be this big place to go souvenir shopping and hang out. It wasn't. There were more Mall shops, then souvenir shops. But the great thing about the Alexanderplatz was the Berlin TV Tower. We ended up going up the TV tower. From 203 and 207 metres high you can look out over the entire city with its large number of tourist attractions: you can see the Reichstag (Parliament building), the Brandenburg Gate and the Main Railway Station from here, as well as the Olympic Stadium, the Museum Island (Museumsinsel) and the Potsdam Square (Potsdamer Platz). It was an amazing site. I would suggest buying your ticket at one of the kiosk for a future time, you can skip all of the wait lines. It's a little bit more, but sometimes paying a little bit more is worth not having to wait for 2 hours.

 The views from the TV Tower

Apparently we weren't the only ones who decided to head to Berlin for the weekend, we did meet up with some friends for dinner. We had our firsst experience with currywurst!
We made plans to meet up the next day at the Berlin Zoo. But since we had the dogs, they wouldn't let us into the Zoo. I guess it's only a handful of Zoo's let dogs in. Instead we walked around the park area outside of the zoo. It was a nice walk, we even found a lock bridge.

All in all Berlin was awesome. Drew got his first (of many) steins, we went on our first family vacation, the dogs did amazing out in public (we were most worried about that)  and Drew got to drive on the Autobahn. Berlin is such a great city. It's the capital of Germany for a reason after all!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Zadar, Croatia

To be honest, it took a lot for me to write this post. Drew says it's because I'm lazy, It's just really hard to remember things from 2 years ago. I wish I started this blog when we first got here. But you live an learnIn October 2013, I planned our first trip on our own down to Croatia! We had a hard time decided where we wanted to go, I knew we were going to Plitvice Lakes National Park, so it was either go to Zadar, or Pula. Since Plitvice was on the way back up from Zadar, we decided to go to Zadar, instead of driving to Pula, then 3 hours out of our way to Pltivice.  Since it was about a 10 hour drive we left early Friday morning, our awesome neighbor watched Seamus & Rylie for us, since at the time we didn't have their pet passports, and we were off to Croatia. We passed through Austria, and Slovenia before finally getting to Croatia. I wasn't feeling well, so Drew drove and had a whole car ride where I slept and he talked to himself (Best Husband ever). Thankfully by the time we arrived I felt 100x better. At the time Croatia had just joined the EU, they still had border control, and I got my Passport Stamped! 
I found a place through We stayed at Apartments Venci, for 70 Euros total for 3 nights! What a steal, since we were going during off season, everything was super cheap! We rented an apartment to save money, we went to the local Lidl grocery store and picked up some groceries for our next few meals. I try to book apartments when we travel so we can do this, some times it's worth it, other times just booking a hotel is cheaper.

We were about a 15 minute walk from the center of town, so the next morning we headed into town to check things out. It was 75 degrees out! It was way better than the 40 degrees when we left Germany.

Zadar is a city with rich history dating from prehistoric times to present days. The district of present day Zadar has been populated since prehistoric times. In the Old town of Zadar, Roman ruins stand alongside Romanesque churches and art installations. The earliest evidence of human life comes from the Late Stone Age, while numerous settlements have been dated as early as the Neolithic. Before the Illyrians, the area was inhabited by an ancient Mediterranean people of a pre-Indo-European culture. They assimilated with the Indo-Europeans who settled between the 4th and 2nd millennium BC into a new ethnical unity, that of the Liburnians. Zadar was a Liburnian settlement, laid out in the 9th century BC, built on a small stone islet and embankments where the old city stands and tied to the mainland by the overflown narrow isthmus, which created a natural port in its northern strait. 

Bridge into the old town is lite up at night
After doing some research on Zadar, the thing I was most excited about seeing was the Sea Organ. The Sea organ is an architectural object located in Zadar, Croatia and an experimental musical instrument, which plays music by way of sea waves and tubes located underneath a set of large marble steps. It's not as magical as you would think. When we were looking it up I imaged it playing some sort of melody. But it's just sounds. I equate it to a toddler banging on an organ. But it was still pretty cool. I've still never seen anything like it.

 Sea Organ steps that lead right into the Adriatic Sea

We didn't really have a plan when we went to Croatia, mostly it was walk around and see what we could find. We ended up finding some really cool buildings. We found church, that Drew wanted to climb to the top, so we climbed to the top. We got to see some great views from the top of the Church.

All in all Zadar was a great first trip. Croatia is absolutely beautiful. Everything was cheap, AND the Old town of Zadar, has Free City wide WiFi. Thats what really made me happy. I can honestly say, Croatia was where we were bitten by the travel bug!