After returning home from my month overseas in March, I spent April + May working on freelance design projects and launched Adjust Your Focus™. While I love being home, after about a month the travel bug bites. One of my best friends, Holly and I had been talking about exploring Europe for a while and finally decided to make that a reality in June!

Image below: Sammy had some thoughts about my packing, climbing into my suitcase. How cute is he?

Europe Intro117

So what happened? Spent a very busy two weeks exploring… 4 countries, 6 cities, 3 flights, 3 airlines, 1 ferry, 2 hop on bus tours and 1 crazy Contiki coach. I left with hundreds of photos, many new friends, countless memories, a nice tan and unfortunately the flu (and by the time I was home strep throat).

Two weeks wasn’t nearly enough time, but that’s how long Holly could take off work. Neither of us had been to any of these cities before and I am grateful we were able to share so many new experiences together! At some point I’d definitely like to go back to each place for longer, but for now here is a whirlwind of a trip and nice taste of Europe…



From Washington we flew direct to Paris over night, arriving in the morning local time. Once through customs we took a shuttle to the hotel (stayed by the airport since the next morning we had an early flight to Rome), freshened up and were off on the train heading into the city. The one full day we had was spent walking miles and miles + taking in the city of love. We returned to Paris later for two nights on the Contiki tour.

At a Glance:

  • Went into the Musée d’Orsay + on the rooftop, spending a few hours looking at the countless impressionist and expressionist masterpieces
  • Enjoyed the famous macarons at Ladurée
  • Walked along the Seine River
  • Found the love locks (first week of June was when the love locks were being taken down, thrilled we were able to see some still)
  • Eiffel Tower tour with summit access
  • Enjoyed gelato + incredible views at the top of the Eiffel Tower
  • Met a friend of a friend for an evening out + delicious dinner where the locals go (thanks Jana and Mylene!)
  • Tour inside Notre-Dame de Paris, also known as Notre-Dame Cathedral
  • Had escargot + champagne
  • Magical picnic (wine + chocolate) under the Eiffel Tower + watched the light show
  • Parisian night out: dinner in an atmospheric restaurant + authentic cabaret experience, complete with can-can girls and champagne + hit the clubs with group

From our first day. For all pictures: click on one to bring up a slideshow gallery

From our time with Contiki. 


Rome + Pisa + Florence

After the first day in Paris, Holly and I flew to Rome where we had a couple days on our own before starting our tour with Contiki. The days were spent exploring ruins + sightseeing. The nights were spent making new friends from England, Argentina and Italy.

From Rome the tour + road trip began to Florence, stopping to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

At a Glance: Rome

  • Hop on hop off bus tour
  • Stood next to the Roman Colosseum and Arch of Constantine
  • Explored the Roman Forum + ruins
  • Wandered the cobblestone streets + went rome-ing around
  • Stood next to Trevi Fountain, which unfortunately is under a lot of construction
  • Made friends with some horses
  • Had gelato next to the Barcaccia Fountain
  • Climbed to the top of the Spanish Steps
  • Tour inside the Roman Pantheon
  • Enjoyed an authentic dinner experience (thanks BonAppetour and Francesca)
  • Vatican City tour: Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica

For all pictures: click on one to bring up a slideshow gallery

At a Glance: Pisa + Florence

  • Pushed and stood in front of the Leaning Tower of Pisa
  • Karaoke at Red Garter
  • Locally guided walking tour of Florence
  • Demonstration of Florentine leather making
  • Bought a new leather bag
  • Wandered the charming streets with new friends
  • Enjoyed an authentic Tuscan feast, trying regional dishes in the heart of Florence
  • Danced and drank way too much at Space Electronic Disco, Florence’s biggest club

For all pictures: click on one to bring up a slideshow gallery


Lucerne + Lauterbrunnen + Swiss Alps

En route north, we caught a glimpse of stunning Lake Como as we made our way into the Swiss Alps. We spent the afternoon in the beautiful Alpine town of Lucerne, and thankfully the rain held off. After the stop in Lucerne we continued to Lauterbrunnen, where we spent two nights. I have to say Switzerland was my favorite!

At a Glance:

  • Walked across the lovely Kapellbrücke (Chapel Bridge) covered wooden footbridge spanning diagonally across the Reuss River in Lucerne
  • Explored the city of Lucerne, really stunning
  • Stocked up on genuine Swiss chocolate
  • Wandered through Isenfluh, one of the typical Swiss mountain villages
  • Enjoyed local Swiss cheese and wine in Lauterbrunnen
  • Camping Jungfrau bar night in Lauterbrunnen
  • Took train to Jungfrau Mountain
  • Enjoyed breathtaking views from the top of Europe
  • Winter wonderland activities on the Swiss Alps
  • Walked through an ice palace
  • Hiked to the top + stood behind the Staubbachfall waterfall (Lauterbrunnen’s landmark and Europe’s highest free-falling waterfall)

For all pictures: click on one to bring up a slideshow gallery



And our last stop, London. The tour technically ended in Paris (where we went after Lauterbrunnen) but there was a transfer offered where we took the coach and ferry over. From here we spent the last night with those left from the tour and then Holly and I had a few days on our own before heading home. We were very lucky and experienced sunny London! Holly even got a little sunburn. Unfortunately the last day here I really wasn’t feeling well, caught the flu, but tried not to let it ruin a busy last day in Europe.

At a Glance:

For all pictures: click on one to bring up a slideshow gallery

And that was a glance into two incredible weeks in Europe! Have you been to any of these destinations/what did you think? Would love to hear about your trip.

Check back soon for a post focused more on Contiki + the tour I did.

What’s next? After a week of bed rest, meds and baths returning home I am feeling much better, have caught up on sleep and am energized. Good thing because I am leaving Monday on another adventure… this time in the USA. I will be going on a road trip with my mom from upstate New York to Denver, Colorado + stopping at a lot of national parks along the way. That area of the country will be new to me so I can’t wait to explore Montana, South Dakota and Wyoming. Have you been to any of these states?

Today’s tidbit
“When you’re traveling, you are what you are, right there and then. People don’t have your past to hold against you. No yesterdays on the road.”― William Least-Heat Moon