At the end of May, I had the opportunity to travel to Europe – specifically, Amsterdam, Southern England, & London! It really pays off having a best friend who loves to travel (and also loves doing all of the planning).
The 9-day adventure was full of amazing sights with awesome friends. Each location was incredible in its own way, and the three destinations were so different that it’s hard to pick which one was my favorite.
The adventure started on a Friday afternoon, though it took us until the afternoon of the following day to finally reach Amsterdam. We immediately started to explore the city, even though we were all a bit jetlagged. Saturday was the day for drinking tours, as we made stops at both Heineken and the House of Bols.
My favorite part of Amsterdam was definitely the architecture – every house is so different, and many of them have their own coat of arms. A lot of the buildings are older, with narrow staircases, and have hooks at the top of their roofs to help pulley furniture to the higher floors.
One of the characteristics that stuck out to me the most was that almost everybody bikes in Amsterdam, and you’d better get out of the way if you ever find yourself in the middle of a bike lane. Because of the number of number of walking paths and canals, it was also easy to navigate your way around the city. All of the canals are constructed in circles surrounding the city, making it difficult to get lost.
The second day of the trip was full of more tours, rides on the canal, and exploring the city. We made stops at the Anne Frank House, Brouwerijtij, and the Red Light District of course. I also highly recommend getting a pancake while visiting the Netherlands – my vote is for the banana and Nutella pancake!
On the third and final full day in the Netherlands, we had a private tour guide take us to view the windmills and to explore the city of Rotterdam, among many other places.
Southern England Highlights
The second leg of the trip took us to southern England, near the shore and right smack in the middle of the English countryside. The views here were gorgeous, and we were very lucky to stay with a former pastor of a church from my hometown in Pennsylvania. We toured the area where the Mayflower set sail from Plymouth, and it was a nice change of pace from the hustle of the city life.
The final stop of our journey was London, a complete opposite experience from the previous days of exploring the country. While London was too far spread out for me to ever want to live there, I loved doing all of the touristy things such as riding the London Eye and looking for the Queen at Buckingham Palace. Another highlight for me was touring the Belfast ship.
My favorite part of the London segment was definitely watching the Lion King performance. We went all out for this show and had front row seats overlooking the orchestra pit. It was amazing to me how well they stuck to the original movie, and the production of it all was phenomenal.
We also had the opportunity to tour Parliament, and the nerd in me convinced everybody to take a short detour to King’s Cross station as well!
As always, any trip planned by Curtis is a great one, and I’m looking forward to the Las Vegas and Grand Canyon adventure in April. I may not post a recap about that one, though, because you know what they say about what happens in Vegas…