Page 2 of niucritter Travel Blog Posts

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam November 19th 2013

Good Evening from Amsterdam! We made it to the Netherlands on Sunday, and stayed with our friend Sarah in Nijmegen the past two nights. Despite some glitches in meeting up with Sarah on Sunday, we enjoyed seeing her and staying in a very homey place for a few days. We went to the town of Utrect yesterday, and had an awesome lunch of traditional pannenkoeken (pancakes). While watching trashy TV, we also discovered the British version of Jersey Shore - Geordie Shore. Amazing. We arrived in Amsterdam this morning, and dropped our bags off at our hotel. If anyone is staying in Amsterdam, I highly recommend the Misc Eat Drink Sleep boutique hotel. It's in a 17th century canal house right off Nieuwmarkt Square and there are only 6 rooms in the entire place. We are ... read more
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Europe » Belgium » West Flanders » Bruges November 16th 2013

We went on another guided tour today to the cities of Gent and Bruges - both located in Flanders region of Belgium (Gent in the east, Bruges in the west), and both important medieval port cities. The tours we have been going on are really nice, because they provide an overview on the area, and allow us to visit a few different places in one day. We started in Gent, which is the capital and largest city in the east Flanders province. Our guide walked us around Gent in a big square, highlighting the churches and the former castle of the Counts of Flanders. It was rather foggy while we were in Gent, so although the buildings and town were beautiful - pictures didn't turn out so great. After about 2 hours in Gent, we headed ... read more
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Europe » Belgium » Brussels-Capital Region » Brussels November 15th 2013

We made it to Brussels yesterday! We took the train from London to Brussels, which meant that we passed under the English Channel (ie, through the "chunnel"). Pretty uneventful train ride, with the exception that my ears kept popping because of the pressure of going into the tunnel. We relaxed yesterday, and just went window shopping around our hotel. We are about a 10 minute cab ride south of the super tourist part of Brussels, and our hotel is in the shopping region - so we are surrounded by stores like Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Cartier, etc. We woke up early this morning and took a cab to the Grand Place for our chocolate walking tour (yes, that's right - chocolate. tour.)! Overall, I was really happy with the tour. There were only 7 people (including us) ... read more
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Europe » United Kingdom » England » Greater London » Belgravia November 13th 2013

We spent today exploring the rest of England on a day trip to Windsor Castle, Stonehenge and Bath. Although it was a long day, it was very good to see places outside of London. While it was a nice experience, we would have liked more time at the stops. The first stop this morning was Windsor Castle. We had about 2 hours to explore the Castle and were able to see the State Apartments and St George's Chapel (where several kings/queens of England are buried including Henry VIII, King George VI, and the Queen Mother). We also saw the changing of the guard...or rather, the changing of the guard blocked our way to the gift shop/exit. Either way, I would make Windsor my home before any of the other castles we have seen so far on ... read more
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Europe » United Kingdom » England » Greater London » Belgravia November 12th 2013

Today was the best day yet in London! We slept in a little bit and took our time heading down to Westminster Abbey. We spent almost 3 hours exploring the Abbey - there was a really good free audio tour that you could pick up on your way in (I would highly recommend doing this as it really helped bring the Abbey to life). It is fun/interesting to read the different memorials and monuments. Again, disappointing that I couldn't take pictures inside as there are some things I would have liked to capture. After Westminster we meandered around, shopped, and walked by St James' Palace. St James' was in the news recently because it is where Prince George was christened. There are also Palace Guards standing out front (you know - the ones who are not ... read more
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Europe » United Kingdom » England » Greater London » Belgravia November 11th 2013

We woke up this morning to fog and drizzle - but that didn't stop our adventures. We had a busy day planned, with lots of places to go and things to see. Our first stop this morning was St Paul's Cathedral. St Paul's is the head church in the Diocese of London for the Church of England - probably most well known in recent history for being the site of Prince Charles and Lady Diana's wedding. It had a very impressive presence, but I was a little disappointed that we were not allowed to take pictures inside. Our next stop after St Paul's was the Tower of London. It was very cool walking toward the tower, seeing the Thames and the Tower Bridge in the background. The Tower was not what I expected. It was a ... read more
Tower Bridge
The London Eye

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Greater London » Belgravia November 10th 2013

Sam and I arrived in London yesterday afternoon - fortunately, the travel was easy and went really smoothly. We didn't really do much yesterday, just found a cute shopping street in Chelsea, walked by Buckingham Palace, and grabbed dinner. Perhaps the most notable thing that happened to us yesterday is that it took both of us about 4 attempts to figure out how to get the power adapter to work (please keep in mind that this is the same adapter I have taken with me on 3 trips now). We blame the wall plug itself, but overall it was an epic failure. Today - we walked (16.41 miles to be exact)! We saw: - Buckingham Palace in the daylight (very cool as there was a parade this morning. Kate Middleton made a public appearance, but didn't ... read more

Europe » Germany » North Rhine-Westphalia » Cologne March 22nd 2012

...and the misadventures continue! Yesterday was a giant misadventure - I was planning to visit the windmills at Kinderdijk park (one of UNESCOs World Heritage Sites). There are a few different ways to get there, and I picked the one that sounded the easiest - train from Nijmegen to Utrecht, then bus from Utrecht to Kinderdijk. After waiting for the bus at Utrecht for 1.5 hours, I finally admitted defeat and went back to Nijmegen. Today was much better! Sarah joined my adventure to Cologne (aka Köln in German), and we only had one misadventure all day. To get to/from Cologne, we had to transfer trains 2x (once in Venlo and once in Dusseldorf ). Unfortunately, we didn't realize our train was at the first transfer...until it left without us. But, in our defense, the train ... read more
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Europe » Netherlands » Province of Utrecht » Utrecht March 20th 2012

I'm pretty sure I have a cold, so I slept in this morning and took the train to Utrecht this afternoon. Utrecht is the 4th most populous city in the Netherlands, and definitely my favorite place to explore so far. A lot of the city center (centruum) dates back to the early Middle Ages, and the main focal point within the city is Domtoren (one of Sarah's friends was actually saying that there's a law within the city that nothing can be taller than Domtoren). Domtoren is the tallest church tower in the Netherlands, and is in the center of the city at Dom Square. Since Domtoren is so large, it's pretty easy to find and walk I was feeling pretty confident about not getting lost. I walked through Dom Cathedral first because I couldn't ... read more
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Europe » Netherlands » Gelderland » Arnhem March 19th 2012

Have you ever had a day where you just need supervision? I feel as though my whole day can be described in two words, "oops!" and "lost!" I somehow managed to get lost looking for the train station in Nijmegen (according to the map, it's only 3 turns from Sarah's apartment!), but stumbled across it on accident. From there, the day continued going downhill. My new word in Dutch today is "Zuid" which means "south." I accidentally got off the train at the wrong Arnhem stop - I got off at Arnhem Zuid, rather than Arnhem Centraal. Ultimately, after consulting a map and realizing it was a 5 kilometer walk, I decided to wait for the next train to travel the one stop over. From there, the central train station in Arnhem has 2 exits...of course ... read more
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