One of the greatest parts about my relationship with my mom is the passion we both share for traveling. When I was fifteen and came home from school begging to go to Europe, I had no idea that in five years time I would have traveled to ten different countries and be living abroad in London.
Most recently, our travels landed us in two of Europe’s most vibrant cities, Paris & Amsterdam.
After a long 22 hours of traveling from Pensacola, through Atlanta, and a pit stop in London, we finally made it to Paris. While even though we were exhausted and slightly insane, we nevertheless quickly threw down our luggage and set off down Avenue de Suffren towards the Eiffel Tower. Having traveled to Paris five years prior, we weren’t shocked by the pick pocketers or the delicious pastries but one look at the Eiffel Tower and we were awed all over again.
Infatuated with French cuisine, landmarks, and culture we woke up the next day with only one goal on our mind: to have a Parisian picnic. For the next two hours, we wandered through 7th stopping at local markets and shops; grabbing a baguette and french pastries from Les Gourmandises d’Eiffel, olives and brie from the Saxe-Breteuil Market, and soon landing a spot beneath the Eiffel Tower with our array of French cuisine.
As a lover of art and history, I made sure our second day itinerary included a road trip through the north of France; passing through Monet’s garden on our way to Normandy beach and sporadically stopping at any adorable coffee shop we found. A little too obsessed with impressionist artwork, standing in Monet’s garden was possibly one of the most surreal experiences I have ever had. And if crossing the iconic green bridge that appears in most of Monet’s paintings wasn’t overwhelming enough, standing on Normandy beach hours later sure was.
We wrapped our four day Parisian adventure up with a quick visit to see Mona and a fondue date down Rue Mouffetard, and off to Amsterdam we were.
From croissants in Paris to bike rides in Amsterdam, we loved every part of Holland from the moment we stepped off the plane (really not an exaggeration since we couldn’t even make it out of the airport without purchasing a few souvenirs). With the whole day waiting for us to explore, we checked into our hotel and began our adventures through Amsterdam.
For the next few days, we walked through the Waterlooplein Market about once an hour, each time picking up another bag of tulip bulbs and cheese, and if flowers and gouda weren’t enough to have sold me on Amsterdam, the Van Gogh Museum definitely was. Designed to progress the viewer through the transitions of his style by each floor respectively, it was amazing to be in a place that housed more of Van Gogh’s original artwork than any other museum in the world (the gift shop made a lot of money that day).
Wanting to fully experience the Amsterdam way of life, we rented bikes the next day, riding all the way from Anne Frank’s house, through Vondelpark, stopping quick for more souvenirs in the Albert City Market, and finally plopping down at Troost Brewery in De Pijp.
We experienced more rural Holland the next day as we visited windmills and clog making factories in the small villages of Edam, Volendam and Zaandam. After a tour of the Heinkein museum and a chilly visit to the Icebar, we concluded our trip in true Dutch style as we rode our bikes home in the pouring rain and fifty degree weather.
While drastically different cultures in their own unique ways, Paris and Amsterdam made the perfect pairing for a trip full of good food, great art, and a lifetime of memories. Check out the gallery below for a few highlights of our time abroad in two of the most beautiful cities in the world.