We knew the inappropriately long picture overload had to come at some point, right?
The fact that I packed (literally) 101 pictures into this one single post is either really seriously awesome orrr really annoying. You can vote in the comments – JUST KIDDING, you will never even make it to the comments because you’d have to scroll for 50 years! joke’s on you!
I guess I decided to pack these all into one just in the name of efficiency. Might as well make this a one-stop-Europe-picture-post-stop, and might as be sitting on my couch in maternity leggings while making it happen. I just said MATERNITY LEGGINGS. This is now a thing in my life and I am not mad about it.
Our itinerary for this trip was pretty straightforward.
- Days 1-7 – France:Viking River Cruise!
- Days 7-10 – Switzerland: exploring Lucerne and region on our own
- Days 10-12 – Germany: exploring Munich and region on our own
Basic and easy. Three countries, 12 days. Plenty of time and opportunity to take great pictures with the iPhone 7 plus because YES THIS WHOLE POST IS PICTURES FROM MY PHONE. I’m not freaking out about it, you’re freaking out about it.
Are you sure you’re ready for this?
Here’s the only picture we have of the two of us on our Viking cruise ship, because guess what?
OUR CRUISE NEVER SET SAIL.
And I don’t even mean that in a sad way. The funny thing about this semi-large and seemingly deal-breaker detail is that, strangely enough, it really wasn’t a big deal at all. The river was just too high for us to sail on, so we spent our week with Viking getting off and on the docked ship in Avignon, taking bus tours to the cities on our itinerary, and eventually transferring to (super nice) hotels as needed.
I will say that the one area I was most sad about missing out on was all the amazing food, because this is not your normal cruise ship food, friends. The food that we had in our short two days on board was just 100% incredible and didn’t even hold a tiny candle next to some of the hotel food that followed. I wish we could have eaten every single meal there.
(Pictured here: my self-created “taste of Provence” plate w ratatouille, green olives for days, marinated tomatoes and mozz salad, herbed potatoes, pickled cabbage salad, roasted chicken, and several large shavings of the best cheese that has ever touched my lips. I *might* be pregnant.)
A few people have asked questions about Viking cruises via email and in blog and social comments, and I’m so glad you’re asking! Here are my quick answers to those questions:
Were you the youngest ones on the ship? Yes, for sure. We did find 2-3 kindred youngins (aka 30-somethings – hi Lily! 👋🏼) traveling with parents, and a few couples who’d hit the 40-50’s mark, but for the most part, this is a 55+ crowd.
If it’s 55+, would you recommend the experience to other young people? Yes, in a heartbeat. This is not going to be everyone’s thing, for sure. BUT. Viking cruises are such a good fit for people (all ages) who want to see the BEST of the world without spending hours upon hours planning and preparing, figuring out all the details, and stressing about the logistics of international travel. I say: SIGN ME UP.
What was the best thing about the cruise? Tours, food, cities… but mostly the mental freedom. We loved just looking at the itinerary to see where we’d be going the next day and knowing that Viking would be taking us to all the best spots. There was ZERO need for scrambling on our part to research, plan, or prepare. It was kind of like being at summer camp – you just go along for the ride and let someone else lead, knowing it will be awesome, rather than having to make lots of small decisions at every turn. I know it sounds cheesy, but I feel like our minds really got a chance to relax and actually take in the surroundings because of that mental freedom.
Even when the surroundings included a flooded river. 👇🏼
Other Viking highlights: tour bus! we secretly loved it.
Beautifully decorated ship.
Cozy, luxurious room that did not feel cruise-ship chintzy.
Hot chocolate, coffee, and cookie bar at all hours, thank you very much.
Here’s my excited-to-be-in-France-even-when-it’s-raining look.
And soon after, here’s my almost-passed-out-on-a-tour-and-now-cramming-a-Larabar look. Special times brought to you by dehydration, jetlag, and pregnancy.
Photo credit: Bjork Ostrom.
CREPES CREPES CREPES CREPES CREPES CREPES
Cucumber juice? France is so cool.
Sitting outside the Palais des Papes with Bjork one night, sipping hot chocolate at a cafe, watching people walk by in the plaza. Everything about it was so charmed.
Such a sweet forever memory. ♡
Just reminding you THESE PHOTOS WERE ALL TAKEN WITH MY PHONE. K, not freaking out.
Our amazing hotel in Lyon which gifted me with my life’s most luscious robe and the softest scrambled eggs I’ve ever eaten. The Carlton Hotel is a winner. Good pick, Viking.
Crepes back on the scene.
French Onion Soup from a darling little Lyonnaise Bouchon. Obvi.
oh hai again crepes 😍
Meet Lily and Alice! The perks of going on a cruise = meeting new friends.
Before we can appreciate the beauty of Switzerland, we need to appreciate the beauty of my husband carrying both of our 50 lb. suitcases up the stairs of the train station LIT-ER-ALLY one minute before our train departed for Geneva.
It was 0% stressful.
Thanks beeb. 😘
Our Airbnb in Lucerne was basically a legit tiny house it was GOALS in every way. Also included many petting sessions with James the most awesome Swiss dog.
Things I loved about Switzerland: the food (lots of variety and for whatever reason I felt like we found some of our best food here), the weather (crisp and sunny), the views (!!), and the ability to finally wear my Swiss outfit that was definitely not cool enough for France but totally fit the vibe in Switzy.
Just want you to know: those are curry-spiced beet fritters. 🔥❤️
Basic with a capital B, but this magical sandwich of plain bread, mozzarella, fresh tomato, basil, and aioli eaten on a train through Switzerland will be a forever memory for me. It was a moment of pure Swiss bliss.
A boat trip around Lake Lucerne at sunset. Extremely cold, crisp, and clear views of one of the most beautiful countries in the world with my winter boy by my side. Couldn’t have been better.
On the way up 👆🏼 and not even nervous.
This whole day at the top of Mount Pilatus is a forever memory. The panoramic views were just… I have never seen anything like it. I remember being up at the top and thinking: someday soon I’ll be back and home and this will all just seem like a dream. True dat. But it was such an incredible dream for those few hours while it lasted. I think for both Bjork and I, this was our favorite experience of the trip.
Germany actually started in Austria, with an adorable hostel (Hotel Tannenhof) and a rental car and a plan to visit the castles.
Spaetzle, sauerkraut, and bacon at the Christmas Market. Words cannot describe how good this was.
That is the last picture I have of Bjork for the whole trip, because a mystery virus slash food poisoning took him down and out for the remaining 36 hours of the trip. And when I say down and out, I mean literally did.not.get.out.of.bed. for 36 hours. I cannot even sugarcoat it for you – it was a pretty depressing way to end the trip.
I spent the rest of the trip by myself, walking around Christmas Markets and taking half-hearted pictures and eating warm cinnamon almonds. It was better than being sick, but dang. Life’s less fun without my travel buddy.
Which brings us to my last forever memory of the trip – The Last Dinner – which involved me going out solo to a restaurant to have dinner, but getting so emotional when they brought me to my table for one in such a beautiful, candle-lit restaurant that I actually had to leave so as not to openly cry like a pregnant fool at my table (“no, I’m sorry, just a change of plans”). I went back up to the room where I proceeded to ordered room service pizza and eat it next to the bed that Bjork, still, 36 hours later, had not gotten out of. 💔
We will laugh about it someday. Just give us 20 years.
What a trip, you guys.
It was so phenomenal. It ended on a bittersweet note, but the other 11 out of 12 days were all just absolutely five-star awesome. And thankfully, the day we got back home, Bjork returned to his happy, healthy, feel-good self.
Most so than other trips we’ve taken, I just have so many feelings about this trip – most notably a feeling of deep gratitude that we were able to knock off such a huge travel experience and spend such meaningful time together as we bring our just-the-two-of-us chapter in our lives to a close. It makes me feel weepy. I’m not hormonal at all tho.
The world is so amazing, and now, the big question for all of us, you and me — where to next? ✈️
I mean, it’s probably not even hard to take a baby along on international adventures, right?
Shout out to Viking Cruises for hosting us, Mom and Dad for watching the Sagey Girl, and YOU for your excellent recommendations which I studied and took notes on using a pen and a napkin on the train. You guys are the best. ♡
OTHER ANSWERS TO COMMENTS:
I have the iPhone 7 plus which has an even better camera than the iPhone 7. Many of these photos were taken in “portrait mode” which creates the look of the shallow depth of field.
My coat (aw, shucks, thanks for asking) is from Express, and it’s as wonderful as it looks, and at the time of this post it’s on SALE! Click here to see the coat.
My boots are from Macy’s / Bare Traps and they were so warm and comfy through our whole trip, even with walking 5+ miles almost every day. Click here to see the boots.
I cannot believe that all this great pictures are made with your Phone! 🙆
Hope Bjork is already okay.
Thx for this very lovely posting.
Have great xmas time.
Tanja from Mid Germany
Ooooo It all looks so beautiful! What a fantastic experience! 😀
Wow all these photos are gorgeous! I still can’t believe you took them all with your iPhone! My husband and I are hoping to plan a Europe trip for September, this post motivated me even more 🙂
yesss! you will love it! my best advice is not to stay less than three nights in any one place, and pack light (i.e. no big DSLR cameras). Someone told me both of those things and they were both super helpful for making our trip awesome!
These pictures are seriously so pretty!! And your trip looked/sounds amazing and delicious!
thank you Sahra! we had a great time.
I loved the trip report and pictures! Looks like an amazing time. Thanks for sharing!!
I can’t decide what this post makes me want to do more. Buy an iphone 7, find some amazing food, or travel back to Europe.
Years ago my husband and I took a two week trip through Switzerland. We had many train rides and views like you described…what I wouldn’t give for that experience again. It was an amazing trip, much like yours appears to have been!
ALL OF IT! DO ALL OF IT! 😀
Wow. These photos are spectacular. What an amazing trip…except for your hub’s sickness! So glad you got to rest and travel!
Thanks Faith! 🙂
Wow! I need to upgrade from the 6 plus to the 7 plus. Your pictures are AMAZING BEAUTIFUL!! I peep Bokeh! Does the 7 plus have aperture capability?! *grabs purse, off to the Sprint store!* BTW- You wear pregnancy fashionably well! 🙂
Yes, it has (or simulates) a 1.8 aperture when on portrait mode! crazy, right??
been crossing my fingers for this post…just KNEW you wouldn’t let us down 😀 Ahhhhh my photo-loving heart is happy <3
I just got over food poisoning (doesn't sound like mine was near as bad) and I am majorly empathizing with Bjork and you for having to go it alone with baby!
I love that such gorgeous photos are possible with today's little hand-held technology!! It is so freeing to not haul around a pricy DSLR and 10 lenses!! 🙂
P.s. that grey jacket <3 good heavens girl…where did you get it!! it looks so warm but also looks like you can still MOVE in it…perfect combo 🙂
Your evaluation of the jacket is spot on and it’s exactly why I bought it! preg belly needs some room to move.. and I’m not quite ready for a maternity jacket just yet! hahah!
I made it to the end of your post and now I NEED to know where you got that grey jacket. It looks so cozy and fashionable.
Express! 🙂 I added a link in the post at the end!
I don’t even know where to start. Those photos are AMAZING. I truly am kind of freaking out. Clearly I need an iphone 7.
I stumbled upon your blog recently, and I’m so grateful I did. I love your style of writing, and I’m loving the recipes I’ve tried so far. I recently left Minneapolis (hopefully only temporarily), but I feel like we could have been best friends if I still lived there. (In a totally awesome, not-weird-or-creepy-but-perhaps-too-forward-way, promise.) I had a baby in May (Abbott NW Mother Baby Center is THEEE best), and I feel like I can totally relate to your “almost-passed-out-on-a-tour-and-now-cramming-a-Larabar” experience. I always had Larabars in my bag while I was pregnant, and I almost passed out during our babymoon in California. (Zika said nope to our babymoon to Costa Rica.) Thanks for creating such a lovely, cozy, fun blog and for sharing your talents! Europe looks like it was wonderful!
This is such a sweet comment. Totally made my day. Thanks Brittany – so glad to have you here! 🙂
This post was amazing! I loved all the photos, they were all beautiful and can’t believe you took them on a phone! Thanks for sharing!
What a trip !!!
I am so glade you went to Brasserie Georges. Don’t know if it’s because of me but anyway, it’s nice !
I whish you all the best for the next days…
Yes – you and a few others! 🙂 I took notes on all those recs!
what an incredible journey!!!! first of all, thank you for sharing! I’ve always been a little to snobby to consider a cruise, but after seeing these pictures and hearing about your experience, I think I’m SOLD. as in, currently googling options…like, right now. Second, how do you edit your iPhone photos?! they are all really, really lovely. Third, I am now craving a giant German pretzel. and some macarons. and cheese. and some hot cocoa. holy amazing. So glad you both had a great trip! good luck getting resettled back at home!!
Thanks Jess! I totally hear you on the too-snobby-for-a-cruise thing, I feel the same way. But Viking was a totally different experience than any cruise I’ve ever been on. It’s a cruise for the cruise snobs. 😉 haha.
Europe-obsessed foodie-fan here. Adored this post. Just wanted to say that travel with a wee babe is totally doable. We took our four month old to Berlin for Christmas last year and jet lag worked in our favor since he was still happily alert for us to cruise all the Christmas markets at night. We just popped him in our ergo carrier and went exploring. China at 8 months for work was a little harder but doable. So what I’m saying is if you’ve caught the travel bug, do it! Especially before the babe is crawling or walking!
hahaha the image of you walking around with him in the Christmas market while jet lagged is so cute to me. 🙂 Thanks for the tips Alissa!
Well….now I’m hungry! haha
You ad an amazing trip! Thank you for sharing these photos. It is giving me the travel bug for sure!
You and I both Meaghan!
Love the photos and the trip looks amaaaaazing. And regarding your last little comment – you totally can travel internationally with a baby! We went to Ireland when our son was 9 months. As long as you go before he/she is mobile it isn’t too bad. The toddler age is a little trickier 😉
ahh yes! thanks for the encouragement – I’ll have to see if i can convince Bjork. 🙂
Where on earth did you get that coat? Perfection! Also, would love to know where you got the brown boots 🙂
Express! I will link it in the post!
What an awesome trip! That German castle? Amazing. I think you just sold me on an iPhone 7. 😉
I’m sorry to hear that Bjork got sick the last couple of days. Same thing happened to me recently on a trip to Thailand. Except I forced myself to get out of bed because ELEPHANTS. But I paid for it on the plane ride home. It sucked so bad. I feel yer pain, Bjork. Hope you’re feeling better!
Reading through this post and looking through the amazing food photography brought a smile on my face this morning 🙂
A while back when I had a chance to travel a bit, I remembered how exciting it was to explore the new cultures and the new food experience each place would have. What stuck with me the most is the different types of foods and flavours I never tasted or even thought to combine! Oh the inspirations 🙂 Your photographs brought back that happy memory and feeling.
Thanks for this post and letting me travel with you. 🙂
Have a safe trip!
Thanks for coming along for the ride Joyce! 🙂
These photos are incredible! This is making me seriously consider getting an iphone 7! So glad you and Bjork got a chance to have a babymoon before the baby arrives 🙂
Do it! iPhone 7 plus is the one with the better camera.
WOW. Your photos were AMAZING! Maybe i need to upgrade to an iPhone 7…
Also, I love Viking cruises. I’ve been on two so far with my family, and you’re right about the crowd. Definitely older, but I have always had a great time!
So glad the two of you had fun (despite Bjork’s illness at the end).
That’s awesome to hear! Thanks Carolyn!
Not that I’m a stalker or anything but I’ve been dying to see these pictures!!! So glad you had a wonderful trip (except for 36 hours) and thanks for filling our inboxes with gorgeous pics! Glad to see you got your spatzel and castles. Also, thanks for the info on Viking. I keep telling my husband we should go on one and we’d be the youngest on the boat at mid-40s. Hardest part would be picking the itinerary!
haha – I’m so glad you were waiting to see them as much as I was waiting to post them! It seriously took us forever to pick the itinerary – they all look so amazing.
I made it to the bottom! Woohoo! Seriously though, these pictures are incredible and make me want to a) upgrade to an iPhone 7 (and I thought my 6S was amazing) and b) HEAD TO EUROPE IMMEDIATELY and eat #allofthecrepes! So happy that you guys got to have this experience! And for the record, I remember those last weeks of just Mr. Hungry and I before Hungry Jr. came on the scene and they were very sweet indeed. But that being said, we have so. much. fun. traveling together as a family that I ain’t even mad. We spent three weeks in St. Maarten when he was only 6 months old, and have been traveling every since! Now we live in Belize and he’s 9 years old. Totally doable and it makes them more interesting and well-rounded little people to boot! Can’t wait to see photos of Baby Yum and all of your new adventures together!!!
Wait, you’re in belize?! did I know that?? love all your comments here – they are so encouraging. thanks for the sweet words Mellissa!
Your photos are amazing! Did you edit the photos in any way?
Yes – VSCO and Snapseed on my phone.