What started as a lunch-time read about an exhibition on Hieronymus Bosch evolved into a 10 day, multi city Dutch adventure. Right before we left, I was very, very excited and told everyone a few co-workers about our trip. They were bemused at the crazy American chatting away in the lift again, confused that we weren’t flying and surprised we decided to go to Holland for so long and explore outside of Amsterdam. So, can you have a great holiday in Holland beyond a city break to Amsterdam?
After a mere 5 days in Amsterdam, we headed off on a local bus to Edam. Not to put too fine a point on it, the hotels in Amsterdam for Easter weekend were too expensive. We decided on a whim, booked a hotel that looked a bit like a ginger bread house and hoped for the best. It turned out to be a highlight of the holiday.
Nearly 4 years ago, I went to Amsterdam and I developed the beginning of the ‘sickness’ associated with the travel bug. After just 4 days, not only did I definitely want to see more of Europe and the world, I fell absolutely head over heels in love with Amsterdam. When we planned a trip to go to Den Bosch, incorporating Amsterdam, I had a little trepidation. Would I love it as much as I did the first time?
Hosting the Scot’s parents for a week usually means many things: family time, new stories about the hijinks of the dog, nice meals, getting a little bit spoiled. This time we decided to escape the city on a day trip to the seaside town of Whitstable.
After a mere two and a half years of research, I finally bought a new camera last August. I wanted one with excellent image quality, but wouldn’t kill me when I also carry my film SLR (which weights approximately half a ton). I wanted one that wasn’t too expensive, but wouldn’t be a waste of money for photos worse than my phone takes.
It’s been a mere 5 days since I got off the train at Kings Cross, arriving from Holland via Brussels (the changeover was interesting). I thought I would have made time (I only have myself and a VERY busy week to blame) to write a thoughtful post on how wonderful our holiday was, how much I love Holland and perhaps a thoughtful and intelligent review of the exhibition, Jheronimus Bosch – Visions of genius. In reality, I have just edited my photos from the first few days and now spring cleaning is under way with a vengeance. So here are some of my favourite photos and a big high five to myself for remaining committed to my new year’s goals!
You may have gathered, I read a lot. I read rather widely, but one of my favourite topics is travel. As I’m on my own writing journey, I thought about what elements take centre stage in the best travel writing. What makes the best writing different from the just sort of interesting writing? What makes a story one that I can’t put down and then, when I have to, I rave about it? What should I aspire to?
A few weekends ago, after some amazing organisation and honest-to-goodness research scoping out the place (and its whisky) by a friend of ours, we arrived in the Outer Hebrides, Islay, off the West Coast of Scotland. It only involved a plane from London to Glasgow, a 2 hour car ride, 2 hour ferry and another drive to get somewhere where there really isn’t a whole lot. But that’s sort of the point isn’t it? I went, I loved it and I would do it again. You’ve got to be careful with the ferry though or rather be mindful of the potential for high winds. Our trip almost ended up like a drunken episode of Gilligan’s Island.
So to recap, I bought a new camera and then ignored it for the better part of 4 months. In order to remedy this sorry state of affairs (and to prevent myself from going into winter hibernation), I set myself some goals.
1. Take the camera out of the house
2. Take photos along the river near my flat.
3. Go for a stroll along the South Bank
4. Go somewhere new and take photos.
It took a bit more than a month to achieve all four, but I did, finally.
After 2 failed attempts to go to Paris, I finally got to see Notre Dame, The Seine, Hausmann’s urban design, the Louvre. We ate amazing food and I squealed like a toddler when I saw the Eiffel Tower for the first time. (Travel note: don’t try to take the Eurostar in December, it will snow and apparently no one can cope with it.)
I spent 5 glorious sunny days in one of the places that inspired me to travel when I was a kid and all I wanted to do was to see the big sights and walk along the river.