So, Jay-Z may have said it best, on “The Bounce,” in 2002.
However, for a couple of days – or perhaps more accurately a handful of whirlwind hours – I lived it too.
Erin and I have returned from a glorious European adventure, which took us through London, and into Amsterdam.
Since people generally prefer the “don’t tell me, show me” philosophy, far be it from me to slow down the shutter-bugging with my worldwide writings and foreign fodder.
Part #1: London, England (Wednesday May 11th – Thursday May 12th)
We had great luck with weather in London.
Yes, Erin found it to be a wee bit chilly, but the skies were clear, the sunsets bright and colourful.
And how can one possibly travel all the way to the UK, and not snap a few shots of the towering timepiece famously known as “Big Ben.”
The “London Eye” features enclosed pods, where you can sit or stand, while climbing above the city.
Day two in London had Erin working (obviously,) while I caught some ZZZ’s and grabbed a quick work-out at the hotel (no pictures of either, sadly.) We reconvened in the early evening, and set out for some ground-level sight-seeing.
Not totally unlike her time in “The States,” Erin had many things to discuss with many people.
Just a quick jaunt down the road, we stopped at the famous Westminster Abbey. Noteworthy of late, the Gothic church served as the wedding venue for Britain’s Prince William and Kate Middleton. We knocked several times, but apparently Will and Kate were unavailable for tea and crumpets. Bully!
Now after a long, trying afternoon of sightseeing, we opted to stop off at a pub for a pint. This is a wonderful little English tradition, and one that we had very little trouble picking up.
Much like in the U.S., British phone booths have gone the way of the typewriter and VCR.
However, the old-fashioned, red unit still has its place.
After making a few calls, we closed out our final evening in the UK with a trip to Buckingham Palace. We had hoped the Queen would pop out just to say “Cherrio,” but no such luck. When “Her Majesty” is on the premises, four guards stand outside on patrol. When she’s off-site, only two. We were greeted with merely a duo, meaning she wasn’t “home.”
Part #2: Amsterdam, Netherlands (Friday May 13th – Saturday May 14th)
After a very early wake-up, and a very quick plane ride, we touched down in Amsterdam Friday morning.
After checking into the hotel – and changing rooms because the first one was “heinous” – we set out to do it like the Dutch.
As the afternoon progressed, Erin transformed into the paparazzi.
I’m not quite sure how these next few shots came about, however, after 10+ years together, I guess I should be happy that she can still somehow stand the sight of me!
Alas, photo shoots now complete, the touring and exploring continued.
But not before stopping off for another “snack.”
Cafe Kobalt was an excellent recommendation by our hotel concierge “Peter,” so much so that we actually went there twice.
After dinner, the camera made it’s way back to the hotel, while the “American Couple” journeyed deeper into Amsterdam’s seedier parts.
But upon sunrise, Saturday brought about a whole new list of adventures and explorations. Often referred to as “Venice of the North,” Amsterdam is a city of canals. “Hop On, Hop Off” boat rides are the only way to go!
In addition to it’s canals and coffee shops, Holland is equally well-known for it’s Windmills.
Part of our Saturday Canal Bus Tour featured a stop at the De Gooyer windmill, which features a small micro-brewery on the inside.
After “hopping on” once again, we spotted both the Amstel Hotel, and the Heineken Brewery.
We opted not to take the official beer-making tour, as we had certainly created our own “Heineken Experience” the day before.
The city of Amsterdam is often represented by three consecutive X’s. Contrary to common belief, this is actually not a nod towards the X-rated Red Light District. Nor, as Erin suggested, is it a reference to “many hugs” (never mind the fact that in that equation, hugs would be represented by O’s).
Instead, XXX are the three crosses that form the core of Amsterdam’s city crest.
Thanks to Amsterdam’s thin, windy streets, bicycles are the preferred means of land travel.
This wasn’t always a welcome sight for my bride, who is still less than a year removed from being run down by a cyclist in Central Park.
Of course, while cycling is one thing, shopping is another issue altogether!
When it comes to hand-painted plateware, Erin is extremely “hands on.”
For our final dinner in Holland, we inadvertently made reservations for three.
Here’s hoping we are fortunate enough to keep traveling.
If so, I’ll keep posting!