France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovakia, Italy, WHEW!

Brian and I seem to have a real thing for the jam-packed itinerary … join us on a recounting of our trek through Europe in June. (Full photos here.)

Day 1: Paris, France

After arriving via the XL Airways redeye, we were in desperate need of a brisk walk if we were going to stay awake through the day. Our whirlwind (cloudy) afternoon in Paris featured all the Parisian standards (the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, the Notre Dame, and the Eiffel Tower) and ended with fancy dinner at Monsieur Bleu and a well-deserved rest at Le Meridien Etoile.


Days 2 & 3: Zermatt, Switzerland

First thing in the morning, we hopped on an early TGV from Paris to Basel, where we transferred a few times until we ended up in Zermatt. Our first order of business: burgers and beers at the Brown Cow Pub. Once our bellies were full, we embarked on a trip up to Gornergrat, where we enjoyed stunning views of the snowy Swiss Alps (note: this was June).


After a droopy-eyed evening, we crashed for a solid night of sleep at the Best Western Hotel Butterfly. That next morning, we hopped aboard a cable car up the mountain to see Glacier Paradise (cable car = worth it, the ice sculptures = not worth it).



After a light-headed experience at massive elevation, we took the cable car halfway down the mountain and returned to Zermatt via a lovely hike.

DSC00732 DSC00733

Day 4: Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland

A sunny morning in Zermatt offered a few spectacular shots of the Matternhorn before it was time to get on our way via train to Lauterbrunnen.


A few hours later, after checking in at the quaint Hotel Oberland and filling our bellies with soup …


… we took a stroll along the Lauterbrunnen floor to Trummelbach Falls. I can’t recommend this enough — it is without a doubt one of the most spectacular walks I can remember in my life.

DSC00773DSC00723DSC00816 DSC00823

Post-hike, we returned to our hotel for dinner (steak, rosti, and ice cream).

Day 5: Lucerne, Switzerland

After a morning wandering Wengen …


… we were ready to head to Lucerne, a beautiful lakeside town that features the Alps in the distance.


That night, after a delicious Mexican dinner at Pacifico, we cozied up in at the Hotel Montana for a nightcap and late night piano music.


Day 6: Zurich, Switzerland

We ended up spending most of the sixth day in Lucerne, enjoying the beautiful lake, refreshing Aperol Spritzes, and self-absorbed swans. We only had a few hours in Zurich before we left on the overnight train to Vienna.


Days 7 & 8: Vienna, Austria

Although a good chunk of my time in Vienna was spent at the WordCamp conference, I did break away enough to get a taste of Vienna’s amazing architecture, quality cocktails, and legendary music at Musikverein.

DSC00902 DSC00905 DSC00915 DSC00920 DSC00922

Day 9: Bratislava, Slovakia

Although our Starwood hotel wasn’t quite as centrally located as I had hoped, a few Uber rides allowed us to enjoy an amazing dinner at Prasna Basta, followed by a stroll through Old Town.

DSC00960 DSC00961 DSC00977 DSC00940

Day 10: Milan, Italy

Our last stop: Milan (full disclosure: the choice of bookending with Milan was mostly due to the great price we got on Emirates back to JFK). Although we had a short opportunity to walk around the city center (during which time I took the photos below), most of our time in Milan was spent shuttling from airport to airport.

DSC00994 DSC00991

Credit Cards, Accounts, and Other Tips

As a personal finance nerd who is always in search of a bargain and spends her free time reading NerdWallet and PointsGuy (and who may or may not have shed a few tears when Suze Orman went off the air), I’m happy to share some of my findings. Add your own tips and thoughts in the comments …

The Cherry Blossoms at BBG

Nothing says the coming of spring quite like the magnificent cherry blossoms. Brooklyn Botanic Garden is a former client of mine, so I was fortunate enough to score a guest pass and fantastic company on my April stroll through the garden.