European Adventure – Part One

January 17, 2017

Filed in: Life, Travel

Have you ever wondered what adventures await with spontaneity? The next few blog posts will be dedicated to finally documenting my European Adventure from October 2015. With minimal lead time in planning, our trip was crazy, memorable, and so incredibly refreshing! Enjoy the many stories! 🙂

Day 1–San Antonio, TX. > Baltimore, MD > Reykjavik, Iceland > Copenhagen, Denmark > Milan, Italy. (AKA, a very long travel day)

Meeting in the International Terminal at BWI, Brianne & I were more than ready to begin our European Adventure aboard a WOW Air flight to Iceland. Hang on, I can already hear the snickers!! I’m not sure which should have given me more apprehension, the price tag of my ticket ($129), or the airline’s slogan, “We promise you that WOW feeling.” In any regard, there were seatbelts, oxygen masks, and exit windows. Did I mention the Barbie resemblance of the flight attendants in their purple suit/skirts and darling little hats? We were supposed to have a 4 hour layover, but because of an unruly passenger delay in Iceland (which, we happened to be in the same row with!), we arrived late and only had a 2.5 hour layover. Definitely enough time for these 2 girls to hit the town!! (Barely, but, don’t underestimate the determination of 2 girls wanting to explore a new city!)

We knew exactly what we wanted to see and quickly headed to the train station. Problem 1, we went to the train station and not the subway station. We quickly realized our mistake while waiting for a stuck train and headed to the other station. Problem solved! Destination–Pastry & Coffee. We were in the land of Danish’s after all, and it didn’t disappoint. Walking the bicycle lined streets with a Danish pastry in hand, can it get any better than this? After blissfully enjoying the sights, we quickly realized the time, and we had no time to spare in getting back to the airport. I’m sure it did our body good to begin running off the calories we had only just begun to consume on our European journey.

Next stop, Milan! Enroute from Copenhagen to Milan, we were able to look down below to the Italian Alps at Sunset. That  was to be the first of many breathtaking moments during this trip. How incredible is the world in which we are priviledged to live in! Seeing things like that just creates an even stronger desire to see more of God’s creative hand on creation.

Landing in Milan after 9pm, we were definitely ready for our sweet little AirBnb. But first we had to navigate ourselves to Brescia for those pillows. Okay, we can do this! Find the bus and purchase tickets to the train station, done. Arrive at the train station and purchase train tickets, done. Walk to platform 3…… hold on, not so fast. The train was just canceled. (Apparently, they can sell train tickets while simultaneously canceling them. Please, someone needs to help their Ops team.) Meanwhile, we quickly darted back to the very {un}pleasant Italian gentleman who had just sold us the tickets 20 seconds prior…. being those crazy American girls, “Hi there. This train was just canceled. Is there another one we can take? We need to make it to Brescia for our hotel tonight.” He replies (Scowling and pulling down the shade separating us from the counter, indicating their closing for the night), “No train. No ticket. Good night!!” Fabulous. Knowing that if we didn’t act fast, we were going to be spending the night on a park bench.

Sending up a flare prayer, we quickly rushed over to the only attendant still open. We managed to look pitiful enough for her to actually help us, and she quickly instructed us on another train we could take. It took us via an indirect route, but we were to arrive in Brescia before our AirBnb closed for the night. Grabbing our scribbled-over tickets, we hoped the conductors wouldn’t give us any problems thinking that we had personally scribbled our new train plans on them. With many prayers, laughs, and a few sighs of relief, Brianne & I had navigated through day 1, including getting to our AirBnb with gelato in hand before our kind host locked the doors. I’d call that a huge success and answer to prayer!

Day 2 & 3–Venice, Italy.

What could make ones day any better than indulging in glorious Italian bruschetta, fresh buffalo mozzarella, and heavenly Gelato stands at every turn?? Italy has definitely stolen my heart. Actually, to be more specific, Venice. I can still remember the gasps my friend Brianne & I had when we stepped out of the Venezia Santa Lucia train station and saw the Grand Canal for the first time. Oh my goodness. It was Disney storybook worthy! All I needed was an Italian boy to swiftly sweep me off my feet. One didn’t, but I sure enjoyed my weight in gelato, pasta and bruschetta while in their Land!

Although traveling with maps, we both really enjoyed the spur of the moment plans and just wandering around the city, or rather, owning the city. (One must ALWAYS walk confidently as if they know exactly where they’re going, especially in a strange city.) We did. Confession time, we were headed to our favorite gelato stand via a new route with much gusto. We won’t mention the time that we did take a path walking past the Venice jail… we’ll just call it the Complete Walking Tour of Venezia. One of us might have also taken a little accidental partial dip in the canal while attempting to catch a picturesque image; I’d say the picture was worth it. 🙂

One of my favorite highlights from Venice was to take in a chamber orchestra concert from the second row. Incredible talent!! The cellist was beyond amazing and put so much passion into his playing; he definitely would give Yo-Yo Ma a run for his money. The acoustics in the gorgeous church turned Symphony hall/museum was exquisite and made the music breathtaking. Definitely worth every penny in going to see them!

I left Venice with a new founded piece of wisdom. You’re in the land of strong espresso, don’t sissy out and order a latte! You will receive a glass of warm milk; doing nothing to caffeinate your soul, and be sorely humbled by the experience.

Below is a collection of some of my favorite images taken during the European Adventure! You’ll hear more about Florence, Cinque Terre, Rome & Paris in Part 2 (and maybe 3)! Since my camera itself weighs more than 11lb, I managed to take these with my tiny Samsung camera and an iPhone. 🙂 Although it pained me at times to not have my “real camera,” I did enjoy the freedom of being fully present in the moment and not continually searching for the best angle for this or that image. (Because let’s be real, that does happen with every photographer, am I right?)

European Adventure with Brianne & Kate

All images copyright of Katherine Pleckham / Kate Grace Photography and may not be used, distributed or sold without direct written permission.

comments +

  1. Sam Pleckham says:

    Very inspiring photos!

  2. Laura says:

    WOW! It looks like you are having the adventure of a lifetime and you are soaking all of that culture in!
    Beautiful work, I am excited to see more!

  3. Jen says:

    Loved seeing your photos! I went to Italy in college but I need to go back because all I had then was a point and shoot and no photography skills.

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