“I’m like a bloke from London, England”

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)

London, England (Wednesday May 11th, 2011)

London, England

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.

Across the Pond...

Across the Pond...

These first pictures are all via the “London Eye,” a massive, slow-moving Ferris Wheel that travels high above the city, providing great views as far as the “Eye” can see.

Again, how about the skyline!

Again, how about the skyline!

High in the Sky

High in the Sky

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.”

Big Ben

Big Ben

Roethlisberger Who?!

Roethlisberger Who?!

The tower is 96.3 metres (315.9 ft) high

The tower is 96.3 metres (315.9 ft) high

The “London Eye” features enclosed pods, where you can sit or stand, while climbing above the city.

One of the "London Eye" Pods (iPods?)

One of the "London Eye" Pods (iPods?)

The EyePod Shuffle

The EyePod Shuffle

Erin and I in our Pod

Erin and I in our Pod

The London Eye

The London Eye

Blue-lit Trees Lined Our Walk from the London Eye

Blue-lit Trees Lined Our Walk from the London Eye

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.

Big Ben Against a Clear Blue Sky

Big Ben Against a Clear Blue Sky

Erin Looking Oh, So British

Erin Looking Oh, So British

Big Ben?  Bigger than Big Kurtz!

Big Ben? Bigger than Big Kurtz!

Postcard-esque

Postcard-esque

The lighting on this is rubbish, but wha'ever...

The lighting on this is rubbish, but wha'ever...

Not totally unlike her time in “The States,” Erin had many things to discuss with many people.

Who's in charge, here?!

Who's in charge, here?!

"Okay, here's the thing.  You and I need to have a serious conversation about a lot of things."

"Okay, here's the thing. You and I need to have a serious conversation about a lot of things."

I Spy Big Ben

I Spy Big Ben

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!

"I was going to wear my Alexander McQueen gown today, but alas, it's at the cleaners."

"I was going to wear my Alexander McQueen gown today, but alas, it's at the cleaners."

Is there anything in London that isn't tall?  Well, other than the Queen, that is.

Is there anything in London that isn't tall? Well, other than the Queen, that is.

"Take 'em to Church"

"Take 'em to Church"

Three Cheers for the Bus Driver

Three Cheers for the Bus Driver

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.

London Pride

London Pride

Bottoms Up

Bottoms Up

Playing Footy

Playing Footy

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.

Peek-a-boo

Peek-a-boo

Step inside the booth Superman is alive

Step inside the booth Superman is alive

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.”

The guards "change" only once per day, at 11:15 a.m.

The guards "change" only once per day, at 11:15 a.m.

In the event that nature called one of the guards, I was quite ready to step in.

In the event that nature called one of the guards, I was quite ready to step in.

The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Walk

The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Walk

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.

I'd explain where this is, but truthfully, I have no idea.  How's this:  it was a 5 minute walk from our hotel.

I'd explain where this is, but truthfully, I have no idea. How's this: it was a 5 minute walk from our hotel.

Our first Dutch Meal?  Spanish Tapas.  Go Figure.

Our first Dutch Meal? Spanish Tapas. Go Figure.

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.

Cafe Kobalt

Cafe Kobalt

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!

Canal "Buses" - The Easiest Way to See the City

Canal "Buses" - The Easiest Way to See the City

I hope this guy knows where he's going...

I hope this guy knows where he's going...

First Mate, at the ready

First Mate, at the ready

The City of Canals

The City of Canals

Venice of the North

Venice of the North

Ain't No Party Like An Amsterdam Party 'Cause An Amsterdam Party Don't Stop

Ain't No Party Like An Amsterdam Party 'Cause An Amsterdam Party Don't Stop

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.

De Gooyer Windmill

De Gooyer Windmill

"This windmill is blowing my hair everywhere!"

"This windmill is blowing my hair everywhere!"

Brouwerij 't IJ and the De Gooyer Windmill

Brouwerij 't IJ and the De Gooyer Windmill

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 Amstel Hotel

The Amstel Hotel

The Heineken Brewery

The Heineken Brewery

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.

XXX

XXX

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.

"That bike better keep its distance!"

"That bike better keep its distance!"

Of course, while cycling is one thing, shopping is another issue altogether!

When it comes to hand-painted plateware, Erin is extremely “hands on.”

"Let me just get all up in here, right quick!"

"Let me just get all up in here, right quick!"

For our final dinner in Holland, we inadvertently made reservations for three.

"Excuse me, are you going to finish that?"

"Excuse me, are you going to finish that?"

Here’s hoping we are fortunate enough to keep traveling.

If so, I’ll keep posting!

Advertisements

9 Comments

  1. These pictures are wonderful and the captions made my day. Jason I think you should take a brief vacay from sports writing and focus on a travel blog. You have a knack for capturing the essence of a place and Jolley’s fantastic reactions to the world.

    Big hugs to you both.

  2. Highly amused, as always! London is such a great city…and after that, I don’t need to visit Amsterdam! Jk…miss you guys! Travel writing isn’t a bad idea Jason! Love those shoes Erin!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s