We were due to come back to New Zealand in late April but we decided we’d like to stay on this side of the world for a little longer. We always knew a job in the Netherlands without much in the way of Dutch language skills was going to be a long shot so the UK was the back up plan and that is where we are now. So what do you do with the last couple of weeks before leaving Europe?
Go travelling of course!
We rented a car and headed south. First stop was Messines for ANZAC Day (Kate is going to write a post about this as her Grandfather fought here during WW1). After Messines we headed into France via the very picturesque Luxembourg City. We have visited the majority of France’s regions over the last few years with only Lorraine, Alsace and Franche-Comte on the mainland missing. We managed to visit all three on this trip. The first stop was Metz for an overnighter, it is a lovely city built in a Beaux-Arts style that is very similar to Paris and Tours. Probably the highlight architecturally was the Protestant Church.
Strasbourg in Alsace was the next stop. I had heard good things about this city and wasn’t disappointed, it is a mix of French and German with a rich history associated with both countries. The architecture was amazing and the food as per usual in France was lovely.
Well that was Lorraine and Alsace out of the way we only had Franche-Comte left. So we went to Besancon for a couple of nights. While there we visited the fort, La Citadelle, on the hill behind the city and also the clock Museum (this was once the centre of clock production in France) which were very interesting.
We haven’t been to Austria in our travels so far so that was the next stop. Besancon to Austria involves driving across Switzerland (nobody wants to pay Swiss accommodation prices) and the first place I could see on Google maps to stay within Austria was Bregenz. I hadn’t ever heard of it but it was a very nice place to stay, if you are from New Zealand think Queenstown, it had mountains, the lake but not as many international tourists. We had come to realise that our German is not very good and the locals didn’t speak much of anything else.
After Bregenz we headed to Salzburg, the weather was not great (Raining and 4C). We had a trip via a cable car up to 1700 metres and it was snowing quite heavily when we were there but the city is beautiful. It has internationally renowned baroque architecture and one of the best-preserved city centers north of the Alps. I’d like to go back during winter to take a few picture as it is picture postcard pretty. Oh by the way some guy by the name of Mozart lived here as well.
The next stop involved a bit of a travel fail. We were going to Stuttgart to see the Porsche and Mercedes Museums and we were going to be there on a Monday. The Porsche and Mercedes Museums are closed on a Monday (Europe is a little different to New Zealand), luckily we realised early enough to visit the Mercedes Museum when we arrived on the Sunday afternoon. The museum was pretty cool but not as good as the BMW Museum in Munich. If you have to make a choice go to Munich.
Our intention was to go to Cologne after Stuttgart but accommodation was near impossible to find so we headed back to France and the lovely city of Reims. If you haven’t noticed we are pretty flexible about where we visit 🙂
Reims has a lot of interest for a traveller, the cathedral is very cool, once again the history is amazing and it has a restaurant that everybody needs to visit! Le Dix Set served the best meal I have had on this trip. You can’t beat France for a good feed.
The rest of the trip to the UK involved a fair amount of driving and a ferry trip that made me feel sick (very unusual). Hopefully the lack of language barrier on this side of the channel will make the job search a little easier and I’m looking forward to exploring this part of the world.