tommy

Euro Travels

Belgium, England, France, Ireland, Netherlands, Spain, photography

I ended up sleeping on several East Coast couches before heading off to England, the Republic of Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, and Spain. This was my first trip across the Atlantic so it was a serious introduction to European culture. It’s hard to understand what a monarchy is before seeing palaces firsthand. Government buildings in the states simply aren’t gilded.

As far as planning goes my journey began with little more direction than a round trip ticket from New York City to London. What was I going to do?

First stop, England…

I stayed at Oxford with Geoffrey Lim, an Exeter friend busy finishing his Master’s of English at New College. With the undergraduate semester wrapping up, I was able to observe the Union’s final debate: “Is extreme poverty a justifiable defense for thievery?” (such a meaty subject) – A notable point brought up, the offenders may be subject to vigilante justice.

Ireland…

I took a ferry from Wales to catch a rugby game in Ireland and to celebrate St. Paddy’s Day! A local informed me people go to Dublin (from Wales) for two reasons: crack and rugby. Ireland won the match, perhaps all the crack contributed to their success? I headed south for the holiday and managed to see the Blarney Castle on the way. I couldn’t help but think how much the castle must weigh as I was spelunking the caves underneath.

the Netherlands…

I had to visit Amsterdam for the museums, canals, and coffee shops. I stayed at the Flying Pig Hostel. Of all the cities I visited, this would have been the best one to splurge and get a small, quiet room; however, I mistakenly booked a night in a 16+ person room… with a club downstairs. I had the room for four nights and slept two. Walking into the train station (that was filthy because of a strike), I couldn’t help but think there was more to see in the Dutch capital, so I went to AirBnB.com and found a bed. They were incredibly hospitable and let me tag along on a private canal tour.

Belgium…

Brussels is in between Amsterdam and Paris. Belgium has lots of beer and a few dilapidated building, the end.

France…

Communication wasn’t an issue in France, but I could tell knowing the language would have been rewarding – I’m sure the art and culinary scene is much richer when explored through the native tongue. I can strongly recommend the walking tours of Versailles and Paris, but I’m a sucker for stories of royalty and empires so milage will vary. I plan on going back, with skis.

Spain…

Barcelona was the highlight of my trip – it was the warmest and most scooter-friendly! I was determined to rent a Vespa and alquilar I did. When I wasn’t busy biking or motoring around I was looking at Gaudi’s work. If you’re visiting I would encourage you to rent an automatic scooter and go to Catalonia for the great Dali collection.

Last stop, London

I headed to London for my return flight and, to my surprise, ran into Geoffrey Lim in the lobby of my hostel! He was in town for the theatre; I too was seeing a show (Oliver). The next day we visited the National Gallery and afterward I flew home…