Monday, April 09, 2012

Eurotrip

In the past few posts, I touched on how I'm taking a couple trips soon, but I haven't been able to exaggerate on where I'm going and what I'll be doing when I get there.
On Saturday, May 5th, my sister and I are heading to the Ciampino airport in Rome where we are flying to London for four days! I'm obviously very excited for this upcoming vacation, but I'm almost more excited to see my sister in London and her reactions to the city. Neither of us have ever been to England (in fact, it's her first time in Europe) and our To See and Do list is longer than my arm. My sister is to English culture as to I am to good food. She's completely obsessed with British culture, a first class
Greetings from London!
Beatlemaniac, and has her eye on Prince Harry (well, I guess that's not saying much - we all do). Of course we have a bunch of touristy things planned such as riding on a double decker bus, visiting Big Ben, London Bridge, the London Eye, and harass the guards at Buckingham Palace. But there's so much more to London than meets the eye (pun intended). One thing that's really great about London is that the majority of museums are free. However, one thing that's not so great is that London is an incredibly expensive city when it comes to food and transportation. Oh well. I guess you can't have your crumpet and eat it, too.
The best time to go to Buckingham Palace is at 11:30 am, which is the time that the guards change their places. It's a bit of a monarchy show in which it's passerbys are supposed to salute the guards who protect the Queen her Majesty. We're also going to the Globe Theatre, which is where Shakespeare held his plays. The original building burned down, but was replaced with a replica. We're also planning on visiting Westminster Abbey, where Will and Kate tied the knot in 2011. There is also something called Poet's Corner that my sister wants to visit. One place I hope to visit is called the Afghan Kitchen, which my sister is a little skeptical of. It's a cheap but
lovely little restaurant that serves Afghan food. I've never had Afghan food and so I really don't know what to expect, but it's cheap, and I'm willing to try new things. Besides - the Eyewitness Travel guidebook on London I bought suggested it, so it must be worth checking out.
My sister found (after her extensive research on things to do in London) a free Harry Potter walking tour that includes sights of where Harry Potter was filmed, including Platform 9 3/4. We're also going to Carnaby Street which was the place to be in London during the Swinging 60's as well as a trip to Abbey Road, the famous road that is named after the Beatles' album. After explaining everything that my sister has listed above, she concluded her message by saying, "We should also check out Piccadilly Circus, but I might be pretty ambitious with all this. I don't mind if I don't sleep though." Good, because with the amount of things we have planned, I don't think there's going to be time to sleep.
On Wednesday May 9th, the two of us both head back to the airport, but are going to separate 
Beautiful Amsterdam.
destinations. My sister will fly back to Rome in order to start her job as an au pair in replacement of my American friend Micah. But I will not be going back to Rome just yet. I booked a ticket to a city called Eindhoven, which is located in the Netherlands. Or should I say Holland? I'm not really sure what they prefer. From there, I have to take a bus to Amsterdam, which will take less than an hour. Case in point... I'm going to Amsterdam! And, yes, I am going with just me, myself and I. And my backpack.
I am returning back to Rome the following Friday or Saturday, but I'm still waiting to book my ticket to get the cheapest deal I can find. I feel like I should be nervous going to Amsterdam all by myself, but I'm not. In fact, I'm excited. I have at least
three full days to do anything that I want. I can walk at my own pace, decide which places I feel are worth visiting, which places aren't, and will do solely what I want. I'm in the midst of booking a hostel, and so far, The Flying Pig sounds pretty good. My friend Shayna stayed there when she ventured to Amsterdam, and the name is too catchy to not go. There are so many things I want to see and do in Amsterdam. Firstly and most obviously, yes, I do want to visit the famous coffee shops. I don't smoke, and in fact, I never have before in my life, but I feel that one cannot go to Amsterdam without at least going to a coffee shop. Another obvious thing on the list - a walk through the Red Light District, the infamous part of the city where hookers are literally standing in window displays wearing stilettos and lingerie. 
But there's so much more that Amsterdam has to offer. It's home to one of my favourite artists, 
Vincent van Gogh. I'm also excited to see the architecture, walk through tulip gardens, explore the vintage markets, and go inside the Annex House (also known as the Anne Frank House where Anne and her family went into hiding during World War II). I don't mind taking this trip by myself, although I'm hoping to find some other interesting solo travelers at my hostel to venture out with. I'm also meeting up with this girl Sanne who is a friend of my sister's from home. Her family is originally from Holland, but immigrated to Canada. Well, Sanne decided to move back to Holland, where her best friend Lotte also lives, so I plan to meet up with the two of them.
This duel city trip is less than a month away now, and I cannot express how excited I am to explore both. During the week that I'll be away, I won't be updating my blog because 1) I'm only bringing a small backpack, which will only serve room for clothes and necessities and 2) There is no way that I'll have time to blog when I'm so busy. I'm just letting you know so that during the month of May, you don't wonder why I'm not blogging for a full week. But as I did during my Christmas trip, I am bringing my diary to document everything that happens on my vacation so that I don't forget to explain every fun filled detail.

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