From Austria to Vietnam – My June, July & August

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Oh boy, the post-travel blues have gotten me bad…

I have to be honest, while it feels nice to be home in Vancouver, I find myself constantly daydreaming about all the beautiful places and people I’ve left behind from this summer’s adventure of a lifetime. You know, there are some points in your life where you just wish you could just hit pause… Points where you feel completely happy, fulfilled and almost as if you were doing exactly what you were always meant to do. This is how I feel about my summer. My 3 month stint blogging, photographing and creating videos full-time for CroisiEurope is officially over, and it was absolutely everything I dreamt it would be and more! 13 countries later, I am finally able to snuggle into the comfort of my own bed and while I like being home, I constantly catch myself reminiscing on all the incredible memories I’ve made… but hey, I suppose nostalgia is just in my blood!

I have SO many posts to write and so many stories to share, but because I haven’t given a proper update on this blog* since my third cruise, here’s a quick rundown of where I’ve been since leaving Provence. For your viewing pleasure, there’s also a video recap from each cruise (they’re short, but if you’re gonna be choosy, the Douro and Venice videos are my favourite).

7 Scenic Train Routes in Europe You Can't Miss

*Daily blog posts from my internship can be found on the CroisiEurope website

Cruise #4: The Danube

Countries visited: Austria, Hungary, Slovakia

After leaving France, I headed straight to Linz, Austria, where I boarded a cruise that would take me through a slew of gorgeous stops, including world-famous capitals like Vienna, Budapest and Bratislava, whose magic and infinite beauty make me determined to visit again soon! Spending only a day or two in each of these cities was simply not enough, and there is no doubt I will be back. Along the way, I also made awesome memories like spontaneously hiking up a giant hill in Durnstein and randomly becoming part of a Hungarian cowboy show!

Cruise #5: The Rhine

Countries visited: Switzerland, Germany, France, the Netherlands

My 5th cruise was packed with crazy activities and sights. Navigating ten days on the Rhine, I got my fair share of fun adventures, that’s for sure. Cruising from Basel to Amsterdam, I had the opportunity to gawk at the largest waterfalls in Europe, eat Black Forest Cake in Black Forest, prance through the storybook town of Strasbourg and even try on 45,000 euro diamonds! This all ended with a free day off in Amsterdam, where I got to explore the secret gardens behind the city’s canal houses (which are only open to the public one weekend a year).

Cruise #6: The Douro

Countries visited: Portugal and Spain

Whenever I talk about the Douro Valley, I’ve been told my eyes dreamily glaze over as I ramble about the region’s mindnumbing beauty. I am shameless about my adoration for this place, because Portugal absolutely stole my heart during my 6th  cruise. Moving along the Douro with stops at Porto, Vila Real, Guimares, Braga, Lamego and even the golden city of Salamanca, Spain, this trip offered a packed itinerary with so many beautiful sights that I was a giggly, mushy mess the entire week. The showstopper of this trip however was the Douro Valley itself, whose picturesque landscapes might actually top my list of favourite sights from this summer. Don’t believe me? Check out these 10 photos that will show you exactly what I mean.

Checking in to the Berghotel Rehlegg: Alpine Luxury in Berchtesgaden National Park

Cruise #7: The Guadalquivir

Countries visited: Spain

If you asked me today where I’d want to move, in a heartbeat I would choose Spain. My cruise along the Guadalquivir river took me through sweltering temperatures (up to 47 degrees Celsius!) to explore the region of Andalusia, where I immersed myself in the country’s spectacular culture and food. There are far too many great moments from this trip to count! From visiting the coolest cathedral I’ve seen in Europe, to touring Game of Thrones locations in the incredible city of Seville, this was by far one of my favourite cruises. I’m telling you this as a friend: if you’re ever thinking of visiting Andalusia, do it…. here’s why.

Cruise #8: The Po River and Venetian Lagoon

Countries visited: Italy

This trip confirmed one sure fact: I adore Italy. On my 8th cruise, I spent plenty of time in Venice, but also stopped by various spots along the Po River and Venetian Lagoon. Highlights of course included visiting the rainbow paradise of Burano, channelling my inner Juliet in Verona and discovering the most beautiful sights to see in Venice. Never have I seen so many beautiful sunrises and sunsets in my life!

Cruise #9: Berlin

Countries visited: Germany

Berlin is hands-down one of my favourite cities in Europe, so I was thrilled to be sent back there, this time for a short five day sightseeing cruise. From wandering the city’s Botanical Gardens to touring various museums and palaces, it was probably the most interesting cruise of the summer, with plenty of fascinating history to appease the nerd in me!

Cruise #10: The Mekong

Countries visited: Vietnam and Cambodia

The video for this one is still on its way, because I’m really taking my time to do the magic of this trip justice. It was my first time in Southeast Asia, and after bouncing around Europe for 3 months, arriving in Cambodia was like a breath of fresh air. I adored being immersed in an environment and culture so different from home. There are too many incredible experiences from this cruise to list, but some of my favourites include exploring the incredible temples of Angkor, visiting a local farmer’s home for a private tour, riding ox carts to visit a small pagoda and in general, cruising along the Mekong, past countless towns and floating villages, soaking in and learning all about an entirely different way of life. Of course, I also enjoyed slurping up some pho in Vietnam and stocking up on colourful market goods!

Royal Palace phnom Penh by Christina Guan

Royal Palace, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

… What’s next?

I’m not staying put for long, because in just over a week, I’ll be starting a new chapter of my life in Munich, where I’ll spend 7 months doing a semester at Ludwig-Maximilians Universitat. I am so thrilled that I’ll be back in Europe so soon, and I plan to fit in plenty of travels during my weekends and holidays. There’s big things in the works for this blog as well – think crazy rebranding, repositioning, stronger promotion efforts, all that good stuff. This past summer blogging full-time has pushed me to prioritize blogging more in my life, so I plan to really put all my heart into this. I hope you’re ready!

Bali Culture Bucket List: 8 Awesome Cultural Things to do in Bali

All in all, it was an incredible summer, but there’s no use dwelling nostalgically over the past when there’s so much cool future happening… you know? Upwards and onwards – I’ll have lots of new stuff coming for you soon!

– Christina

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