It is every artists dream to backpack Europe. For some of us, it just takes a little longer to get there. In college I took Art History classes and loved them so much that by the time I graduated I actually had more than enough credits for a Minor but was just lacking gallery hours (this was ironic because my first job out of highschool was working in an art gallery, which would have given me the hours I needed for the Minor had I documented them at the time). The inspiration of walking through old architecture was top of the list for me, along with seeing the art in person that I had spent so much time studing in college.
My husband and I finally headed off on our European backpacking adventure this past spring 2019 for our ten year wedding anniversary. Starting in Amsterdam and ending in Florence, we ventured south for almost five weeks. We traveled by train (which was really easy with the Euro Rail app) and stayed mostly at Airbnb's which I would highly recommend doing. Let me know if you're interested in the ones we stayed in and I can message you links. We also flew in style on Virgin Atlantic with first class sleeper seats. Mhmm.
In Amsterdam we stayed on the Herengracht Canal near the Nine Streets in a Silk Merchant's Palace with the most fabulous hosts. We had private quarters but every morning went down to the period kitchen and had a homeade feast and great conversation. Our hosts helped us plan our daily excursions during breakfast. Our fifth and last full day in Amsterdam was our favorite. One of our hosts took us on a private tour through all the backstreets of the city and he was a fountain of historical stories and information. It was really fascinating and ended at the rooftop bar Blue Amsterdam, which had been on our list of places to go but had forgotten about it. When we realized where we were it felt very serendipitous. 360 degree views of the city in a bright, hip and modern setting. I had the traditional Dutch fresh mint tea.
We loved the Netherlands!
Some of the highlights were the tulip fields in Lisse.
The Moco Museum and seeing works by our favorite modern artists
Warhol, Banksy, Lichtenstein and Dali.
Our day trip to Haarlem felt like a dream. We happened to arrive on the day of the Tulip Festival and a carnival happening right in the city center. It felt like such a dichotomy to see the the neon colors, flashing lights, carnival music and candy smells surrounded by the medieval character buildings and cobblestone streets. The children's laughter was infectous. After lunch at the famous Jopenkerk Bewery, we rode the ferris wheel and were able to see views of the city from the sky.
We watched the gorillas at the zoo for hours. Searched out coffeeshops and wine bars. Discovered so many deliciously intimate restaurants. But our very fave was just wondering the neighborhoods, spying street art, feeling the pulse of the city and the beauty of the people. The Netherlands are a very special place.
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