OutTakes- EuroTrip Edition (Includes video clips, for once!)

This post was meant to be done about a month ago- or at the very least not right after i’ve come back from my latest travel adventure (I went to Italy but obviously thats for another set of posts) but life has a funny way of kicking plans straight to the curb and here we are: back home, still unpacking and finishing up the last set of posts. And truth time- while I was more than happy to just quietly move on to writing about this last trip and forget about my customary Outtakes post, a couple of friends and readers have been insistent about it so, here we go. (Porcsha, this ones for you.)

For those that have followed this blog for a while, I’m sure you’re used to my “Outtakes” post by now but for any new readers, here’s we go-

I’m a horribly procrastination prone writer/blogger and I like to travel. Those two things tend to intersect badly when I’m trying to post about recent travels while also trying to plan upcoming trips and it’s the reason why sometimes I forget to talk about the hotels I stayed at or the tours I took. And so, we get outtakes posts with photographs I forgot to include in other posts as well as the side stories and misadventures I got up to that didn’t fit that well in the general posts I was writing. Like I say to friends when I arrive at their homes or crash land into their lives – hope you enjoy the meds!

Dallas —> Edinburgh 

I did actually manage to cover this part of the trip pretty extensively and accurately- sharing how I lost one of my credit cards on the flight from Paris that first day (because of course I did). On the plus side I must have looked so stressed and tired on this part of the trip that the counter agent for that flight waved the weight overage fee on my checked bag, so I guess you win some and lose some (sometimes literally). 

The hotel I stayed at was the Best Western Braid Hills and I had a couple of reasons to pick it. First, the reviews on it were some of the best in the area and that’s pretty important to me when I’m traveling somewhere I’ve never been before by myself. My friend Rob who I met up with there berated me a bit (gently) as it’s located outside the city center but in general I tend to pick the quieter places where I can come back and unwind. Also I ended up choosing Edinburgh as my first stop almost in a whim, because at first I had been planning of visiting London instead and so by the time I started trying to book a room, pickings were getting slim. I definetly don’t regret staying at this hotel though, and though I plan to come back to Edinburgh in the future with my bf and probably stay in the city center, I’d still recommend this hotel for anyone looking for some relaxation with their stay and great views.

Like I said, this part of the trip was pretty faithfully covered in my original posts but here’s a video clip from the day trip my friend Rob and I took up to Loch Lomond (this would be after we mutually agreed it would be best for him to continue the hike on his own as I was probably gonna die if I tried to complete it with him and I headed back down to the lake )

(This goes without saying but I’m not sponsored by any of the hotels, restaurants, tour companies or anything else I mention in this post- it would be hella sweet if I was but that’s just not the case currently)

Post From this Part of the Trip :  My visit to the Scottish National Gallery
My visit to The National Museum of Scotland
My visit to Loch Lomond and the Last Night in Edinburgh

Edinburg –> Amsterdam 

How to start writing about this part of the trip…. Don’t choose connecting flights that have less than 3 hours of a layover in Dublin because going through customs there is like getting popped in the face by a giant time stealer? That’s probably good advice. Anyways, long story short, I missed my connecting flight to Amsterdam, ended up having to go through some odd airport backrooms to get back to the right side and get my luggage and then had to buy another ticket. Thankfully it wasn’t pricy and finally I made it to my hotel and though I had meant to maybe walk around that evening and explore a little the reality is I shot off an email to a friend I hadn’t talked to in almost a year who lives in the city, ordered delivery and then promptly crashed.

I stayed at the Quentin England Hotel, mainly because of the location which is right by all the museums I wanted to see and just a couple of blocks away from the Vondelpark which just seemed like a good idea.  Amsterdam is a pretty walkable city (at least as long as you don’t fear getting run over by the overwhelming multitude of bike riders) and I don’t know that there’s a “bad” place to stay, so at least to me it’s relative to what you’d like to visit and i’d definetly stay in the area again- though perhaps not at this hotel because my room ended up actually being in the -1 floor which was unexpected.

My first day here I made my way to Dam Square where I was meeting up with the group that would be doing the historical walking tour I had signed up for. I had never done one of these before but it was genuinely fun and I even met a cool girl to walk around with afterwards. During our lunch I got an answer back from the friend who I had emailed the day before letting me know he would be available to meet up either that day or the next- honestly I was a bit shocked he had even responded given how crappy of a friend I had been lately but we made plans to meet up the next day as I had plans to spend as much time as possible at the Rijksmuseum (I made two posts on this visit and could easily have done 3 more.)

The next day was a jam packed adventure- I woke up early to make it to the Van Gogh museum, then walked to the Albert Cuyp Market to meet up with Elsa before she headed off to Geneva and then took a break in the form of getting lost on my way back to the hotel to drop off my bounty of accidentally acquired souvenirs before meeting up with my friend Dennis that afternoon for a good couple of hours. He took me to an excellent music shop where I made a couple of purchases, namely this Toto greatest hits CD which I think he’s still befuddled by to this day. But really, it was such a good deal, I love Toto and the look on his face when he realized I was seriously gonna buy it was priceless.

Post From this Part of the Trip: 

First Day in Amsterdam
Rijksmuseum pt 1
Rijksmuseum Pt 2
Last Day in Amsterdam

Amsterdam –> Munich 

The longest part of the trip, the time I spent in Germany with my good friend, Bavarian native (and fantastic human being all around), Julia. I made the 8 hour journey from Amsterdam to Munich via train and while it wasn’t always comfy or easy, it was still an experience worth having if only so I know what to do the next time. So technically my first day in Germany was spent traveling to Munich, navigating the train-station with Julia, being stuck in rushhour traffic for a bit before she took me on a picturesque side road to get to her apartment (she lives outside of Munich thankfully, in a charming smaller town and I have never been so tempted to want to switch lives with someone then when we drove into it). 

My second day in Germany was actually not spent in Germany. Julia and I had agreed on doing a day trip to Salzburg since I had picked up a travel guide book to Bavaria that listed it as a possible day trip option and when am I ever not swayed by suggestions in guidebooks? It was honestly the highlight of the trip since it was the day we were blessed with perfect weather, bountiful energy and a beautiful city full of winding streets, beautiful churches and grand squares to explore.

We ended that day by her driving us out of Salzburg and then to find one of her favorite churches in Ramsau which we made it to right as the sun was setting and it was a perfect end to the day. On the drive home we got a bit turned around and ended up having to bust out the google maps to find the way but we were still laughing and happy by the time we stumbled up the stairs to her apartment and after a small dinner and fresh fruit we dropped off to sleep so we could wake up relatively early for the next days adventure.

A day exploring Neues Schloss Herrenchiemsee and then crossing the lake by ferry to wander on the Fraueninsel and take a look at the Benedictine abbey of Frauenwörth. The day ended with us driving in after dusk to her hometown of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, and us stopping in at a Burger King to grab a quick dinner. The experience was surreal for us both but the fries were hot, crispy and delicious.  Afterwards, Julia dropping me off at the Biohotel Garmischer Hof (I booked it last minute but would definetly recommend if staying in the area).

The next day involved waking up somewhat early, checking out of the hotel since I had only booked it for one night (and booking another one for that next night as our plans changed a bit) and then taking a Julia guided tour around Garmisch-Partenkirchen before heading on our way towards Neuschwanstein Castle. I covered this extensively it’s own post but we ended up skipping the tour of Neuschwanstein and instead hopped on over to the town of Füssen to grab lunch and some Schneeball. We finished up the day at a Linderhof Palace and then drove back to Garmisch-Partenkirchen so she could introduce me to her bunnies (and her family to off course).

My final day in Germany involved heading over to her family’s house again to see her bunnie’s (Tinki, the white one, looked like she wanted to prove she wasn’t scared of strangers and would fight me- I love her) after which we grabbed a quick breakfast at a local cafe and then headed off to the town of Mittenwald. It was rainy but the colorful town was incredibly beautiful and charming nonetheless and by the time we made it back to her apartment and I started packing, I knew I would want to be back to explore more of what this region of Germany had to offer. (And of course it doesn’t hurt that Julia gifted me a fantastic book full of beautiful photos of the region as a welcoming present, or that her family put together a parting gift for me that included a little cow because of course their daughter made friends with a weird American girl who loves cows).

That last night was meant to be a quiet and relaxing one and Julia and I both needed to go to sleep early so she could help me catch my early train the next morning but, unexpectedly, I got a call from work. I mentioned in my Loch Lomond post that I had been dealing with stress from waiting to hear back for a job I interviewed for just a couple of days before I left on the trip, and I had resigned myself at this point that I hadn’t gotten it, as they had said they would be contacting candidates the next week (which would have been when I was still in Amsterdam).  So there I was, 9pm Germany time trying to go to sleep by listening to soothing music in Julias living room and thinking about my Paris plans when my phone starts to go off and I just stare at it because who could be calling me from Texas right now? Turns out, I got the job and even though I was still on vacation and would be till the following week, they would be retroactively bumping up my pay-grade from that last Sunday if I accepted the job offer. I accepted happily, told a sleepy Julia what had happened and decided to stress less about all the money I had been spending on souvenirs.

Post From this Part of the Trip: 

Salzburg, Austria pt1
Salzburg, Austria pt2 (the Churches post)
Salzburg, Austria (Finalpost)
Ramsau , Germany
Herrenchiemsee, Germany
Garmish-Partenkirchen, Germany
Neuschwanstien, Germany
Fussen, Germany
Schloss Linderhof, Germany
Mittenwald, Germany (Last Post)

Munich –> Paris 

By the time I got to Paris, I was somewhat tired. Just kidding I was mother-frikin exhausted and ready to ooze onto the hotel bed. But I only had 2 full days left, so I found some extra energy reserves, called it an early the night the day I made it there and woke up the next day bright and early so I could go meet up with the tour that would take me to Versailles. I stayed at the Hotel Minerve, located in the Latin quarter in the 5th district of Paris and about 10 minutes walking distance from Notre Dame on the recommendation from Rachid for the area and because the reviews were pretty great. I don’t think i’d stay there again as the rooms where a bit cramped but, the view from my small balcony was pretty excellent and I did actually love the neighborhood a lot.

So about the tour to Versailles. I had signed up for a tour through Viator because 1. I didn’t really want to deal with getting to Versailles by myself either through the metro or by cab and 2. there was a tour that provided skip the line tickets without being an actual guided tour- they just gave you a map and audio guide and set you loose for the next 8 hours. Perfect for me. It’s operated by the PARISCityVISION Agency and they actually run a whole bunch of tours all over Paris and the surrounding area, plus their office is located just blocks from the Louvre so its super easy to find. If you’re looking to take a tour, i’d definetly recommend them.

I finished up that first day in Paris by meeting up with my friend Rachid and us taking a really wonderful night walk over some bridges and unexpected to the exterior area of Louvre which was open to us to walk through. It was a surreal experience for both of us in the best way and by the time I made it back to my hotel that night it was almost 11 but even though my feet ached I still fell asleep feeling happy and just a teensy bit enamored by the city.

I took it easy the last day of the trip, spending pretty much the whole morning repacking my mess of souvenirs and clothes and everything so that I would hopefully not end up having to pay a weight overage charge (I succeeded!) and finding a little present Julia had slipped into my backpack when I wasn’t looking apparently. I then spent the rest of the late morning and afternoon at the Louvre and I didn’t even see a third of it, which was honestly kinda fantastic. Rachid and I met up outside by Pyramid entrance and we went off to see Sacré Cœur and a beautiful sunset there was the perfect goodbye to the city.

The next morning I woke up at the ungodly hour of 4am to get ready and head off to CDG and headed home, determined to come back to Europe again soon (though after a lot of rest.)

Post From this Part of the Trip: 
Versailles, Pt1
Versailles Pt 2
Musée du Louvre pt 1
Musée du Louvre pt 2
Sacré Cœur (last post)

Misc: 

(Cappuccinos in Germany and inside Versailles- also cappuccinos were had in literally every other country I went to, hence the video below )

So thats it, finally. There so many other stories, anecdotes, videos and photos I haven’t shared here but at least you can trust I shared the best ones, the good stuff if you will. I’m working on possibly doing a whole video edit of clips from all the videos I took on this trip but 1. still need to find the perfect music for it and 2. the whole point of this post is what a horrible procrastinator I am so obviously it will be about a year before that gets put together probably. I had an absolute blast on this trip though, and hopefully if you’ve been following this adventure or even if you just read this one post, you had some fun reading it as well.

Will post sometime in the next week (no, really I will!) about this most recent trip I took to Italy and all the sundry adventures therein.

Not drowning in my coffee cups yet,
~m

Intimate with Van Gogh and Market Flowers- Amsterdam

An early start to a jam packed day : a morning visit to the Van Gogh museum, meeting up with Elsa (the girl I had met during the historical walking tour of the day before) right after to explore the Albert Cuyp Market and then heading back to the hotel to freshen up before heading back out to meet with my friend Dennis for the first time. And somewhere in there or after, finding time to pack up to head to Germany the next day.

First stop though, the Van Gogh Museum, happily only about a 10 minute walk from my hotel which was helpful as it was yet another slightly rainy morning. Putting in my headphones and listening to some U2 while I walked through the quiet streets was it’s own adventure though, and once I made it to the museum I couldn’t quite mind the drizzle. You might notice theres only one photo of the museum in this post and thats because photography is only permitted at certain designated areas- the Entrance Hall and by what are called ‘selfie walls’ (which I don’t think I even saw….or maybe they were the areas that were surrounded by people and so I skipped them). I did see some people sneaking photos of the artwork when the attendants weren’t looking – btw, this museum has the most attendants i’ve ever seen anywhere- but i’m happy to follow the rules in these cases and respected the policy.

I’ve heard some people describe this museum as small, and I guess compared to the Rijksmuseum it is, but considering its dedicated to just one artist, i’d say it does the job perfectly. It feels intimate to me, partly because when I visited early that morning the crowds hadn’t descended yet, and partly because of it’s size. Every section feels carefully crafted and above all else, respectful to the spirit of the man who’s work we’re all there to see and reading the placards, seeing his artwork with your own eyes, it’s so humbling. There’s a deep melancholy to everything of course, you can’t quite escape that, but it’s appropriate and real, and you leave the museum feeling, hopefully, like you’ve gained just that little bit more of a closer understanding to who Van Gogh was as an artists and as a person outside of his art.

According to the I Amsterdam website, the Albert Cuypmarkt is the largest and most popular outdoor market in the Netherlands, and it’s located on the Albert Cuypstraat between Ferdinand Bolstraat and Van Woustraat, in the De Pijp area of the Oud-Zuid district of the city. It’s also only about a 15 minute walk from the Van Gogh museum which I appreciated as I headed straight from there to meet up with Elsa. I hadn’t planned on visiting, I actually hadn’t known about it until she mentioned it but having only visited the more touristy areas of Amsterdam, I was more than happy to go somewhere with a more local atmosphere.

I definetly recommend some good walking shoes, cash for the vendors, an empty stomach for all the tasty treats for sale and probably a tote bag or two for anything you end up being tempted to buy (and trust me, you will most definetly be tempted by at least one stall if not five). We wandered around the market for a good hour and a half, and I bought a fantastically yummy cappuccino, a couple of art prints for my friend Rachid (who I would be visiting later in Paris) a couple of magnets for friends and a tote bag to add to the collection I had started in Edinburgh. Elsa bought some fresh cheese for a friend she was heading off to see in Geneva and even now i’m sitting here wondering why the heck I didn’t buy myself some cheese as well. Oh well, another reason to head back, no?

After we finished up at the market, Elsa and I walked back towards the Van Gogh museum together, where we parted ways- she was headed to the airport to catch her flight to Geneva and I was headed back to the hotel to freshen up (and unload all the souvenirs I had bought) before heading out again. I’m not going to go into how I got lost heading back to the hotel despite having just walked from there that morning….but I will mention that eventually I realized I was going the wrong way well past the point you would think I’d have figured it out and had to call a cab to come get me…and the cabbie ended up being the same one from the day before who had dropped me off near the walking tour meet up point. Whats kinda shocking is he actually remembered me and after I had settled into the back seat said, “hey so how was the tour yesterday?” and I completely freaked out before I realized why he knew that. Lovely guy though, I definetly suggest using Amsterdam Taxi-Online if you’d like to support a local business but still have an uber-like convenience.

I met up with Dennis at Leidseplein Square at around 1:30, again just another 15 minute walk from where I was staying and honestly, I have to agree with everyone else who’s said this- Amsterdam is truly one of the most walkable cities. Not saying you can’t get lost or you won’t be run over by either a tram, bus, car or bike….but you’ll get further to your destination before you do at least. There were no real solid plans for this part of the day, though there had been a mention of a record store and possible a book store, an idea I was more than keen on. Side note- I met Dennis online about oh, 5 years ago back after I had first gotten interested in Amsterdam as a future travel destination, and as he was a city native it was the basis of our first few conversations but we kept communicating because he has really fantastic taste in music and we have similar taste in books and movies. Unlike my first meeting with Rob in Edinburgh though, this one was planned much more on the fly and involved a lot less hiking.

A wonderful guy with a ice-dry sense of humor and a high tolerance for my sometimes over-exuberant personality, we clicked about as soon as we met and hanging out with him that afternoon was the perfect way to end my trip to Amsterdam. We went to a music shop called Concerto, a really fantastically stocked and chill place where I had to hold myself back from buying a vinyl copy of U2’s The Joshua Tree and instead contented myself with buying a couple of CD’s… one of which was a Toto’s Greatest Hits- which yes, he did rather mercilessly make fun of me for but I still hold up as an awesome and sound purchase. Afterwards he took me to the American Book Center, a really lovely and well stocked bookshop where we browsed their graphic novel section and he most graciously allowed me to photograph him holding some I wanted to buy (but would be responsible and wait till I got back home to buy- adulting, I do it sometimes).

I eventually made my way back to the hotel, taking a very leisurely walk back through the streets and trying not to fall prey to the urge to cancel the rest of my travel plans and extend my stay but it was a near thing. Of course the next day proved that perhaps I should have listened to my instincts and stayed at least another day but, thats for another post.

~m

 

Delftware, Ship Models and Romanticism- Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

And now we get into the good stuff…

That was my thought as I left the Hall of Honor gallery and headed towards the rest of the galleries on the second floor. Not to say the paintings and areas I had been in before weren’t very literally breathtaking but, as i’ve mentioned before, my jam is more historical objects/documents than paintings, and boy was I in for an overflowing bounty of arrestingly interesting pieces and items of all kinds.

All kinds of beautiful artwork, craftsmanship and exquisite what have you was what I found wandering the halls of the more than 30 galleries devoted to the 17th century (1600–1700) . From the Navel Power gallery to the King Stadtholder III and Mary Stuart gallery and French Court art and Delftware, there’s honestly something for everyone- provided of course that you interested in these kinds of things in the first place. But what would you be doing here in the museum if you weren’t?

I ended my visit back on the first floor,The 18th century (1700–1800) , making sure to get a good look at the three Van Gogh paintings housed here because at the time I had decided I wouldn’t try and go to the separate Van Gogh museum on this visit. I sat for a good amount of time just there near the entrance/exit area just taking it all in, experiencing that godawful feeling of nostalgia for a moment you’re still living in and wondering if I would ever get the chance to come back to this amazing musuem. Eventually I kicked that weird mood though, and went to hit up the giftshop, because of course I did, it’s become literally impossible for me to go somewhere and not leave many (many) euros lighter.

I headed back to my hotel just a couple of blocks away and enjoyed the great weather on the walk back, a complete sunny departure from the foggy rain of that morning. Once back at the hotel, dinner on it’s way and my bed covered in museum brochures and more ticket stubs than I could count, I made plans for the next day which did actually end up including the Van Gogh museum because go figure.

~m

p.s here’s a floor-plan for the Rijksmuseum for anyone curious.

Medieval Treasures and Night Watch Crowds – Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

It would be hard- though not impossible- to be in  Amsterdam and not visit one of the many amazing museums located there. For me, the struggle was real when it came to deciding between museums like the Ann Frank House, The Van Gogh Museum, and even the rather esoteric Museum of Bags and Purses. Thankfully this heartbreaker of a decision is something tour guides are well aware of and during the morning walking tour I took the guide our group had helpfully suggested that if you were pressed for time and you really could only visit one museum, the best choice would be the Rijksmuseum.

Reasons why this would be your best bet? It’s the largest art museum in the country (and one of the most visited), has a total collection of 1 million objects that span the years 1200 to 2000 – 8000 of which are on display to the public- and it even has three paintings by Van Gogh so that you won’t completely miss out on the experience of seeing one of his paintings here even if you can’t make it to the Van Gogh museum. The museums collection is focused on arts, crafts and history- which made it all that more fantastic for me because while I like art museums, wandering hall after hall of paintings can lose it’s appeal for me after a while. That being said, plunk me down among armoire, cabinets, tapestries and other objects with historical context, add in piles of documents/bank notes and throw in some letters and you’ve got my attention for probably an eternity. That stuff is like cat nip to me and this museum not only had it in spades but its also one of the most beautiful buildings i’ve ever been in.

Almost inadvertently, I started out in the Middle Ages and Renaissance (1100-1600) section, on the ground floor 0 and spent a really peaceful hour slowly perusing the objects on display at my leisure. As you can probably tell from the photos, very few people lingered in this section- though to be fair,  few areas of the museum were really crowded, probably because it was around 1pm on a weekday when I visited. Not really having much of an idea of where I wanted to go next I decided to skip the first floor for the time being and head to the second floor, where the much lauded Night Watch is located.

I found the crowds here in the Gallery of Honor and more specifically in the Night Watch Gallery . I won’t say the Night Watch isn’t spectacular to behold in person, but it’s a bit like the Grand Canyon in the sense that no matter how magnificent it is in person, it’s been well and truly hyped up to an almost dizzying degree so that it can’t quite match up to what you have pictured in your head. The presentation though, thats unexpected and truly breathtaking.

An inside joke for friends- of course I love any depiction of Caesar getting stabbed as the final assignment in the worlds worst/best group project

I eventually finished up in this part of the museum, took a quick break on one of the many cushy benches scattered around and made my way to the 17th Century hall, passing through theThe Great Hall which I didn’t take any photos of, because honestly only video can really do justice to how amazing that hall is. Hopefully I can get around to putting together a video compilation of the trip that will include that clip but for now, just take my word on it, it’s unexpected and just that close to heavenly.

~m

Foggy Canals and Amex Adventures- Amsterdam

The day started early…ish. It also started with some light rain and a bit of a foggy mist, which really wasn’t the most promising start to my first day in Amsterdam, especially given I had planned to spend most, if not all, of it walking around. I was tempted to think the rain I had encountered in Scotland had followed me down, but that would be dubious logic, right?  No matter the weather, it was still unbelievable amazing to actually be here, in Amsterdam.

Not to say being in Scotland wasn’t amazing and it’s own kind of dream come true but, Amsterdam was the city I had first picked out to visit when I was 16 and only just starting to dream of traveling to Europe. Full disclosure: this probably had a good bit to do with a big and rather inconvenient crush I had on an incredibly sweet and friendly Dutch boy I knew at the time, but the love for the city remained even after that summer infatuation faded.

I had never done any kind of tour before this trip, but after reading about people who’d done them and not wanting to spend all my hours wandering by myself through a new city, I decided to sign up for one just a few days before leaving and hope for the best. The walking tour I signed up for met at 10am at the National Monument in Dam Square and for someone that hadn’t ever had the chance to really sit down and learn about Amsterdam’s history, it was unbelievably informative while still being super fun. Some of the subjects and areas that were covered in the 3 hours:  Anne Frank’s story, the Dutch East India Company, the Red Light District, multiple hidden Catholic churches, Amsterdam’s Chinatown, and the history and reasons behind the leaning buildings & gable stones. While doing a walking tour that consisted of mostly all couples while I only had my camera as companion might have turned out a bit depressing, the guide we had was so chipper and genuinely enthusiastic about teaching us about her city’s history as to make me feel only that much more happy to be there.

We stopped at a restaurant for half and hour (I can’t remember the name of the place but I can tell you it was surreal, purple and very cool) in the middle of the tour so people could use the bathroom, rest their feet and talk to the tour guide about other tours available.  While I was debating whether to take that nights Red Light District tour one of the other people in the group came over to talk to me- she introduced herself as Elsa from Chicago and we started chatting and getting to know each other better as the tour continued.

By the time the tour concluded at the Homomonument (exactly what it sounds like yes- a memorial that commemorates gay men and lesbians who have been subjected to persecution because of their homosexuality) the sun was well and truly out, the fog has dissipated and we set off to try and find lunch together.


Now, if you’ve read the last couple of posts you might remember that I lost one of my credit cards somewhere on my flight from Paris to Edinburgh and as such only had some Euros and one card left to me while I waited for the other two to arrive by overnight mail. The good news was that my other cards were due to arrive that afternoon to my hotel, the bad news was that I still had a whole morning to try and get by with what I had with me…which wouldn’t have been such a problem if I hadn’t decided to take my American Express card with me instead of say, my debit card. Amex, as some of you might know, is not excepted everywhere. Generally i’d been lucky with it being accepted and thankfully Elsa was a good sport about making sure we could find a place that took it but it was still a fun half hour of walking around the streets of Amsterdam looking for that little blue and white “we accept” sticker on windows. Eventually though we found a nice and quiet sandwich shop and tucked in to barbecue chicken and gouda sandwiches and chilled pear juice which was an interesting but surprisingly tasty combination.

After that we walked off in the general direction of the Rijksmuseum, which I had bought skip-the-line tickets for and where we parted ways as she was headed towards the Vondelpark. We exchanged numbers though, and made tentative plans to possible meet up again the next day before she headed off to Geneva and I headed inside to spend the next couple of hours wandering happily through the many (many many) hallways of one of the most beautiful museums i’ve ever visited.

So, fair warning- the next 2-3 posts will probably be about the Rijksmuseum because i’m a gigantic nerd and so if you’re not too interested in that (but why wouldn’t you be, it’s an amazing museum!) feel free to tune back in for the Salzburg, Germany and France posts that will come after that.

~m