*** General observations and musings :) ***

We are working on our list of tops. This will change often.

Our current list of “tops”

Best playground: Prague. Near train station. Has zip line. Popular with the kids.
Best meal – dining out: For me, my meal of Perch on Creamy sauerkraut at the top of the Reichstag in Berlin!! Honestly, I also love the veggie hot dog i got from Mr. Miler’s Hot Dogs in Berlin.  Topped with sauerkraut!  // Henry’s favorite meal was Pizza on the first night in Paris at a place recommended by the owner of the apartment called Pomodoro.
Best view:  Eiffel Tower – except for the crowds.  I also have to vote for the view from the top of Sacre Couer – walkable from the apartment, a gorgeous building and you get to see the Eiffel Tower in the distance.

Our list of “tops,” (as of Nov 17)

Best playground: Hyde Park (Henry), Berlin community playground (Elsa)

Best bakeries: Paris, of course (all in agreement)

Best Museum: Louvre (Charlie), Paris Science Museum (Henry and Elsa), Tie between Victoria and Albert, London and Orsay, Paris (Liz)

Best Cathedral / Church: St. Peters, Rome (Henry), Duomo, Florence (Elsa), Sagrada Familia, Barcelona (Liz and Charlie)

Best Guided Tour: Morocco (Liz and Elsa), Venice (Henry and Charlie)

Best Pizza: Marbella restaurant with Matt, Pino and kids, Gusta Pizza, Florence (Liz)

Best public transportation: London (Elsa and Henry), Venice (Liz), Berlin (Charlie)

Worst public transportation: Rome!

Best view: Montparnasse Tower, Paris (Henry), Vittorio Emmanuel, Rome (Liz), Eiffel Tower (Elsa), Sacre Couer, Paris (Charlie)

Best apartment: London (Henry), Barcelona (Liz and Charlie), Marbella (Elsa)


This is the top of Sacre Couer

Henry says his best view was from the top of Montparsse Tower at night.
Best museum:  In my opinion, the Victoria and Albert in London or the Orsay in Paris!
Best ice cream: Charlie’s new favorite is the Pistachio gelato in Venice.  Right on the piazza outside the Science Museum.
Best pastry:  Beignet framboise.  Little doughnut with raspberry filling. Found them in a small patisserie in Paris and Henry loved them.
Best train/subway: Vienna – clean and efficient. Not overly complicated.

Okay, here are a few random observations. Some are rather preliminary but others may be ‘spot on’:

  • There is a much higher percentage of people who smoke in Europe than in the u.s. at least in the circles where I travel. This makes it hard to enjoy an outdoor dining experience because outside is reserved for smokers. We often retreat inside. Why is it that some smokers light up so soon after they finish their meal or even sometimes smoke when eating? Totally gross.
  • Europeans love their dogs. They go everywhere with them. Charlie’s great aunt Maurita brought hers to the dinner we had out with family. All I could imagine was Cooper at the table. Are you kidding me? At least her dog was very well behaved. Mine would have been on the table.
  • Women in Berlin have their own sense of style. They seem to care less about what’s in or what’s popular than the Parisian women I saw.
  • Shorts with black hose are in.
  • Dying hair to look like Heat Miser, a deranged peacock, SpongeBob or some other kooky character is very much in vogue – regardless of age.
  • Drivers in Prague are a lot less tolerant of pedestrians and tourists than those drivers in other countries. Be careful. You will get run down if you don’t pay attention.
  • In most places, you find people who speak English. Charlie has to keep reminiscing me to ask them first if they speak English – though most do. I think I get nervous and barge right in with my English question.
  • Every time you turn a corner in Prague there is something more beautiful than what you just saw. Whereas, Vienna is a nice blend of old and new. I think this is partly due to their place in history, many of the older buildings and monuments were bombed by the allies during WWII so there are newer building in amongst the old. It’s a nice mix. There are also a lot fewer tourists here in Vienna than we encountered in Prague.
  • Berlin was definitely in the same situation as Vienna during the war but more of the buildings we saw in Berlin were the 1950’s and 1960’s utilitarian buildings with zero charm and no architectural appeal. After Paris and compared to Prague, Berlin can leave you looking for a little more from the cityscape.
  • Paris was a lot dirtier than we thought it would be. The subways were a mess. What’s up with that?
  • Graffiti is everywhere in Paris and Berlin. Not so much in Prague and Vienna. It’s kind of annoying that these people with a $2 can of spray paint will deface centuries-old buildings.
  • London was the cleanest city we visited so far. Maybe it’s because of all of the video cameras watching people everywhere. Regardless of what you think about “big brother” it seems to work.

My running list of “tops”

Squeakiest apartment – Paris

Smallest apartment – Paris

Best location – Tie among a few – London, Earl’s Court – quiet, across from a park where the kids could run.  Prague – literally a stone’s throw from Old Town Square. Rome – walkable to just about everything! Berlin — scary front door but above a great little restaurant and on a street with a ton of other great places like gelatto and a super playground for the kids.


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