Hallo! (*Hello in Dutch and not me misspelling “hello”)
I recently returned from a European trip that consisted of 3 different cities in 3 different countries in 9 days with my mom and my sister. It was a whirlwind of a trip since it was my first time going to Europe, but it was also reinvigorating to get away from work and from my troubles. (My car was literally hit while parked the day before I left for Paris…in that moment, I was aggravated, frustrated, disappointed and stunned that all of this was taking place less than 24 hours before my vacation. But I prayed and breathed through the situation and just needed time to process it.)
But my troubles were not completely over until I landed in Paris. My connecting flight to Seattle was delayed due to snow that morning. SNOW. Another reason I despise the icy down-pouring. When I landed in Seattle, I had less than 20 minutes to make it to my connecting flight to Paris. And of course, it was in a completely different terminal.
Once I got off the internal airport train, I sprinted with my rolling suitcase and backpack to my flight gate. The entire time, I was whispering to myself, “Please just make it. Please just make it.” Thankfully, I made it right before the doors closed to the airplane! I was breathing so hard that I could taste blood in the back of my throat. Not even exaggerating. I even developed a cough for the rest of my flight to Paris. But once I got my butt in my seat, I didn’t care. I was on my way to Paris!
Welcome to part one of my European trip: Amsterdam. I met up with my sister and mom at the airport and took a train to Amsterdam. (We missed one of our trains, but it was no biggie because there was another one an hour later). I think we were all just happy to finally be at one of our destinations and check in to our hotel. We dropped our belongings off and explored Amsterdam at night. My mom and I ate a traditional English dinner with chicken skewers and fish n chips. *Sidenote: my mom literally asked me, “Where are the chips?” Me: “That’s what they call fries, Mom.”
Afterwards, we walked back to our hotel in the cold, drizzling weather.
We stayed at Hotel V, which was cozy and small with a great breakfast spread. There was fresh bread, sliced meat, cheese and fruit. It was much needed fuel for the full day we had ahead of us.
Our first stop was the Van Gogh Museum. Learning about his life and his artwork was interesting to see, especially in a timeline fashion. Plus the fact that he went crazy and cut off his own ear added to the fascination.
Afterwards, we went back to the central area of Amsterdam for some traditional food and walked through the Bloommarkt where they sell tulip bulbs and other touristy trinkets. We ate stroopwafel, bitterballen and croquettes…taking in the full Dutch cuisine.
We later did a walking tour throughout Amsterdam, ending up at the Anne Frank House. Unfortunately, tickets for the house have been sold out months in advance, so we didn’t get to go in. But seeing more of Amsterdam was beautiful, albeit rainy. Thankfully, we were equipped with ponchos by our tour guide.
For dinner, we had traditional Indian food. I really wanted to eat at this restaurant because they made dosas, a thin, wafery crepe with filling and different chutney sauces for dipping. The last time I had a dosa was in India back in 2011, so it definitely took me back there…taste bud-wise.
The next morning, we had a little time to spare before our train to Brussels and got to enjoy our breakfast. We then headed back to the train station for the second stop of our European tour: Brussels.
One thing I regret not doing in Amsterdam was renting a bicycle. The city is so bike-friendly! It’s a great way to ride across the canal bridges and take in more of what Amsterdam has to offer. I’d have to say, it is one of my favorite cities now =).
More to come!