Thursday, April 7, 2016

The best trip ever, Part Een!

Dam panoramic view, Amsterdam NL

Oh, what a trip! We've hit so many places during the twelve days in Europe that sometime's everything is a blur. There are many memories, however, that are sharp and will stay with me for a very long time.

I am not going to list all of the places we've been to and all of the locations we've seen. This is not the point of this post. I will rather focus on specific details, and small stories that are interesting to me. I may also ask Lena and Maya to contribute to the narrative, maybe they'll offer a point that I either missed or re-interpreted differently.

We've build our original list of destinations based on the simple fact of where we could fly on miles, what we haven't seen yet, and the availability of non-stop flights. The starting point of the trip was to be Amsterdam and the final destination before going home was Brussels. Because of the tragic events in Brussels several weeks before, at almost the last moment we switched to Paris. We also decided to drive on our trip, which was the result of several notable stories to share.

I will take a moment to thank my brother and his excellent website burlaki.com for help in deciding which sights to see and general advice.

Maya! We've decided to take her with us. We told her several months in advance, and she was ecstatic. She literally counted days left before we go on the trip, weeks in advance.  Because of her, some of our itinerary had to include items that she would be interested to see. However, if you know my child she is interested in only one thing - food. Her itinerary included Netherlands' cheese and Belgium's chocolates and waffles. She knew what kind of waffles existed  and wanted to taste all of them. I won't even mention cheese and chocolates. When we told her about going to France, I think she may have lost it for a while, as I've told her stories of our past visit to Paris and the abundance of all sorts of bakeries and restaurants.

She did plan for us to go Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam, for which, thanks to Lena, we were able to acquire tickets in advance (do it if you can, avoid the line that is always there). Upon getting to Paris, she also really really wanted to go up the Eiffel tower. That concluded her list of things to see.

We planned extensively. It could even be said that we over planned. The plan was to go to Amsterdam, and then drive to Bruges with quick stops at Keukenhof gardens, and Hague to see couple of museums, before stopping over for a night at Delft. during our two-night stay in Bruges we planned to go over to Ghent, before finishing up at our final stop with no more stopovers.

The resulting trip had us going the way of Amsterdam to Keukenhof gardens (couple of hours) to Madurodam's mini-Holland park (couple of hours) to Delft. The Delft to Bruges portion was a little longer, so we had an unplanned stop at Antwerp (which lasted a little longer then we planned). From Bruges the drive was much longer, and we decided not to go to Ghent, but did a small detour and a stop at the beautiful village and castle Chateau de Pierrefonds about 100 kms away from Paris.

Overall a bunch of places to see and enjoy.

I will break up this narration into several posts. I have to collect my thoughts on each destination and site separately. Hopefully you will stick with it.

Girls on one of the bridges by Anne Frank's House museum


1 comment:

Ilya said...

Happy to hear you had a grand time! Looking forward to details ;-)