October 11, 2011
Julee’s Tour de Europe
In America, you can hop in a car in Portland and drive three hours and be in Seattle. In Europe, you can hop on a train in Paris and in three hours, you will be immersed in a completely new country with a new language, aesthetic and culture. Take advantage of close proximity while you travel in Europe. Our Cross the Word to Cross the Word contest winner, Julee, did just that. She has just returned from her European adventure. She explored four different countries and even made a stop in London to take a picture with the Queen! Below is her first hand account of every step of her European adventure.
After a 10 hour flight, a three-hour wait in the Schipol airport for the train, an hour walk through cobblestone and rain, we finally made it to the first stop in our European adventure: Brussels. After a long day of travels, we were starving. We found a quaint little restaurant in the Grand Place called “Le Roy”, where we had our first hot meal. That evening, we walked the streets of Brussels and found ourselves at the famous Manneken Pis. We made our way around town by the Hop-on-Hop-off Bus Tour, which took us by many remarkable landmarks in Brussels, and a free tour through the Kings Palace. One word: WOW.
All aboard, we are headed to Paris! We got a cab to our hotel and then, on to sightseeing! The first stop was The Louvre, (just down the street from our hotel!). We saw famous masterpieces like the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, and others that I have only seen in textbooks. We walked around the gardens and could see the beautiful Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower in the distance. We loved the Hop-on-Hop-off Bus Tour in Brussels so much that we decided to try it again in Paris, making our adventures in the City of Lights that much easier. The hour-and-a-half wait to get to the top of the Eiffel Tower was definitely worth the wait – what a breathtaking view it was! We walked down the Champs-Elysées and did some window-shopping, but didn’t dare to go in the stores. As we were sitting outside Notre Dame at a cafe enjoying authentic Parisian crepes, the bells of the cathedral started ringing. It was remarkable to hear. It was a perfect way to end our tour in Paris.
On our first evening in London, we walked through Hyde park, and made our way to the Princess Diana Water Memorial that was given by The Queen. As we were making our way to Kensington Palace it started to pour. We considered turning back, but then we thought better of it…we are Washingtonians! A little rain never hurt anyone, right? We visited The Tower of London and saw the Crown Jewels. It was absolutely amazing. That evening, we took a 30-minute ride on the London Eye. At the top, we could see down inside The House of Parliament. On our last day in London, we mingled with the stars at Madame Tussauds and got our picture with the Queen. After having our picture with the Queen, we couldn’t pass up stopping by Buckingham Palace for our last stop in London.
Third time’s a charm? Fourth time is a charm for us. We found our hotel with no problem at all. After settling in, we ventured off to Dam Square. We started our first full day with a tour in the Anne Frank House. Walking through a house that holds so much history was a little eerie, but it was an amazing experience.
In Amsterdam, we had an experience that was not to be forgotten: bike riding. It is a must do for tourists traveling to Amsterdam, but be careful! It’s not for leisurely riders. Biking is a way of life for the Dutch, and the streets are alive with quickly moving crowds of bikes that you must be watchful of.
We hopped on the free ferry to Amsterdam Noord, made a few turns here and there and ended up in the Dutch countryside. It was a very peaceful ride with beautiful scenery.
What better way to spend our last day in Amsterdam than to take a cruise on the canals? We actually took two cruises: one by day and one by night. The evening cruise was my favorite. We had a live tour guide who told us about the history of the canals and the city.
Thank you I Fly Nonstop and Delta Air Lines for this incredible opportunity! I had a blast on my European adventure and am already planning a trip back.
Spread the word: