The "Top 5" List

It's hard to believe the 47 days came and went in what seemed like forever and yet the blink of an eye at the same time.

I'll be sharing some thoughts later on about our trip, including recommendations for visiting Provence and the car vs. train debate. I will also share just exactly how much we spent on this trip (eek) so that you can get an idea how much things cost to take a trip like this to Europe and what type of budget you might plan on having based on the type of travel you want to do.

However, Timothy and I have been reminiscing about our trip on the plane ride home so far and we have come up with random "Top 5" lists from various parts of our trip.  (None of these are ranked in order-- just our top 5)

Top 5 Best Cities

1. Jonkoping, Sweden
2. Oppenheim, Germany
3. Ihringen, Germany
4. Castellina in Chianti, Italy
5. Lourmarin, France

Top 5 Best Places We Stayed

1. The Amsterdam Marriott City Center Hotel
2. The Villa with a pool in Chaponost, France
3. The Renaissance Aix-en-Provence
4. The Radisson Blu Waterfront Hotel in Stockholm
5. The apartment over the antiques shop in Ihringen, Germany

Top 5 Best Meals

1. The German dinner in Ihringen
2. The Italian dinner on our balcony in Cernobbio
3. Markus Knab's lasagne on the first night we met them
4. Annika Thiel's bacon wrapped chicken with cream... so amazing!
5. The restaurant on top of the hill in Gandria, Lugano

Top 5 Experiences

1. Being on top of the Santis Mountain in Switzerland after riding the aerial tram 8,000 feet
2. Riding in the cockpit of a 737 from Stockholm to Dusseldorf
3. The rest & reading time & dinners on the hill in Cinque Terre
4. Riding the Rhine River cruise to St. Goar and hiking around the Rhinefels Castle
5. Shopping & cooking a 5 course meal all day in Florence

Top 5 New People We Met

1. Markus & Anja
2. Our Airbnb hosts, Suzanne & Georges in Chaponost, France
3. Maj Britt with Weingut Vorgrimmler (also our Freiburg Airbnb host)
4. All our L'Eremo Sul Mare friends we bonded with being on the hill in Vernazza
5. Davide & Kerry, our Airbnb hosts in Cernobbio, Italy (Lake Como)

Biggest "Oops" or Frustrations:

1. Being bit by a really intense mosquito and having my entire ankle swell and a rash/ring around it for 3 weeks!
2. Getting on the wrong ferry to Vernazza and taking a 2.5 hour detour
3. Missing our exit in France and having to drive 20km in each direction and spend $7 on toll fees
4. Almost hitting a car in Cernobbio because ours was parked at a downhill angle and the shift gears kept lunging it forward
5. Anytime we got lost!
6. The fact that Google Translate has to use data so many times we couldn't read signs or menus and had no idea what we were doing or where we were eating

Things we are thankful for... (there are more than 5):

1. Staying healthy
2. No one stealing anything of ours
3. All of the people we met
4. Safety in every way
5. The funds to take a trip like this
6. The discovery of how truly good people are around the world
7. Making new friends in other countries
8. European hospitality

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