Europe 2018: We’ll Always be Back

What: Lots of summertime in Europe as well as some transition time to Fall

Where: Paris, UK (its own post here), Chamonix, Annecy, Grachen (Switzerland), Berlin, and Barcelona

When: A few days in July (Paris), then August 22-September 20th

Why: Why not? Biggest pull was to be in Chamonix for Matt’s CCC 100k race at the end of August, to be in Berlin for the Berlin Marathon in early September, and then we built around that depending on where it was cheap to fly in and out of Europe and where else we wanted to visit.

Big Takeaways:

  • We really like Europe and there’s still so much more to see. We repeated quite a bit this time with going to the same races, so in the future, we’d like to see some new places
  • There is still so much to explore in Paris and we’d love to go back when Paavo can walk further distances and last longer than just a couple hours. So much cool stuff to see on foot.
  • The last time we visited Paris was in late September/early October, and the weather was beautiful, with perfect temps in the 70s. It was a bit hot this time, in the 90s and above for July, so I’d likely go again when it’s cooler
  • Chamonix and the whole Chamonix valley is just stunning. It’s still some of the prettiest scenery we’ve ever seen, and some of our favorite hiking trails. I don’t think I’d want to visit there every year, but going back every few years is fantastic.
  • Annecy is a great trip after Chamonix because it’s still beautiful, but there’s a bit more to do and a bit bigger city. Lots of great walking both in the city and in the mountains around it, and great running along the lake.
  • I’d love to spend more time in Geneva, but damn it’s expensive! When we went 2 years ago, we lucked out on lodging, but no luck this time, so we stayed in an airport hotel our one night there.
  • Speaking of Switzerland, holy expensive. Like, everything. Restaurants, lodging, groceries, coffee…every purchase was questioned like, “Do we really need this right now?”
  • While in Grachen, I’m really glad we made the trip to Zermatt. You can only get there by train, which was really easy to do, and honestly, half the excitement of the trip for Paavo, so it was great for us. We had a beautiful day and had clear views of the Matterhorn, we ate cheap(ish) from the grocery store, and found a great playground with nice moms and kids.
  • Berlin will always be our favorite food place to visit because of all the vegan options, especially in the area we stayed, near the Friedrichshain neighborhood
  • It was so cool seeing the world record broken in the marathon at the Berlin Marathon this year by Eliud Kipchoge. Matt ran the marathon and was obviously far behind, but it was cool for him to be in the same race, and cool for Julie to see the finish, as she was just a few hundred meters from the finish.
  • The playgrounds were better in Chamonix, Annecy, Grachen, and Berlin, both in terms of quality and quantity. Anything that’s more kid friendly for us gets extra bonus points!!!
  • Barcelona is huge. We had just a couple days there and barely saw anything, though we made sure to visit Park Guell, along with a few other parks and restaurants. We’d love to go back and explore more.
  • We had lots of great friends visit us along the way, including Chamonix, Annecy, Grachen, and Berlin. It’s such a great way to share the experience!
  • Lastly, the morning we arrived in Paris, Julie took a pregnancy test and found out we were pregnant with #2! We have a baby boy on the way with a due date of 3/29/19, so the moment we arrived in Europe, we knew we’d be back in the States soon. We tried to find pre-natal care in Europe but it proved difficult without local insurance – we either couldn’t afford the appointments (~$750 per appointment in Geneva) or doctors wouldn’t see us without insurance (Berlin), so that’s why our Europe time was cut a little short and we headed back to the States, eventually moving to Boulder, CO on 10/1!


cloud cakes paris

Heck yeah he got his own cupcake at Cloud Cakes

paris zoo

Enjoying the Paris Zoological Park

hank burger paris

Paavo surveying his loot at the all vegan Hank Burker

Love walking the streets of Paris with this guy

Gotta visit this place if you’re in Paris

cloud cakes paris

Paavo: Take the damn picture already! A vegan bakery – Cloud Cakes!

Beautiful hike and views

Hiking with Dionne, Joel and Esther

Paavo playing with Dionne, or Dee Dee, as he calls her, aka his bestie

Paavo managed to get a donkey ride on our hike!

Can’t complain about a view like this!

Yep, more grasshoppers. The kid loves them.

Hunting for grasshoppers on a “hike” outside of Chamonix

Paavo has a knack for catching grasshoppers

Matt coming into Vallorcine aid station with just over 6 miles to go for the CCC 100k race.

utmb chamonix

At the finish for UTMB, waiting for the winner to come in.

Boys and trucks playing together happily

We may have had gelato in Annecy. Every.Single.Day.

Peek a boo!

So happy at this playground in Annecy

Loving the lake and the weather in Annecy

Playing in the sand on the banks of Lake Annecy

The view from our place in Grachen. Not bad!

Riding the train to Zermatt, half the fun of the journey

The Matterhorn peeking out while in Zermatt

For how small Grachen was, it had some darn good playgrounds

A Paavo size digger!?! Seriously awesome playground

Paavo thought this was the coolest yard ever in Grachen

Paavo always manages to find a cool animal to sit on

Playing on the skateboard pipe in the park

dragon playground berlin

Awesome playground near us in Berlin

dragon playground berlin

In the dragon’s mouth at the “dragon playground” in Berlin

Matt rockin out at the Berlin Marathon

Paavo the ice cream connoisseur

berlin marathon eliud kipchoge

Eliud Kipchoge on his way to break the world record in the Berlin Marathon

Proud of Matt’s medal after the marathon

Yeah, we love our ice cream

Watching the world go by with ice cream in hand

park guell barcelona

My favorite guys at Park Guell in Barcelona

park guell barcelona

Exploring Park Guell in Barcelona

Nothing cuter than a toddler in little gym shorts

park guell barcelona

Always wants to touch stuff and I can’t blame him. At Park Guell in Barcelona

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2 Responses to Europe 2018: We’ll Always be Back

  1. John Budge says:

    Congrats on #2…very exciting! If the lottery gods are in my favor, I’ll say hi as I pass through Boulder on my way to the San Juan’s:) Happy Thanksgiving!!!

    • Julie says:

      Thanks John! I hope the lottery gods are in your favor too! Would love to see you as you pass through to the San Juans. Hope you had a great holiday!

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