Europe 2017: London Day 2

Hey there!

Glad you’ve come back to hear more about our European Adventures and our time in London! BTW, you can check out the hashtag #tandeineurope to see some of the photos that I’ve posted there from/during our trip.

LONDON DAY 2

You’re going to be hearing a lot about London and be getting potentially overkilled with images. I planned a pretty tight schedule for our time in London. London was my favorite spot from my trip to Europe in 2013 and there was a lot I wanted to revisit or didn’t feel I got the chance to do! We did sooo much in London and spent the most time there, so prepare yourselves!

I woke up ready to take on the city! Trevor wanted to sleep. This is the story of our lives. I had pre-ordered tickets to Tower of London and wanted to get there right away. I loved Tower of London last time I was in England and was excited to go again and take the time to read more of the information this time. Once we got there, we made our way straight to the Crown Jewels. My first time there, we waited in line outside of the building for probably an hour before getting to actually walk through the building and felt like we were pushed through like cows. It was very much timed and I didn’t really enjoy the experience that much. Visiting earlier in the day was the best decision ever, purely for being able to walk through the Crown Jewels building at our own pace and actually look around!

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It was cold, and despite the smile, I was freezing.

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I love spiral staircases!
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We actually saw a raven this time!
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One of my favorite pictures from London!

After our time at the Tower of London, we took some classic pictures out front of Tower Bridge!

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OH – so Trevor and I both have Apple Watches, which we super love for so many reasons. The picture above was taken by triggering the shutter of Trevor’s iPhone with a button/app on his Watch – talk about slick! Most of the photos of us together are taken that way!

After our time by the Tower, we took the Tube toward Churchill War Rooms. We snagged these photos on our walk from the station to the War Rooms.

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This doesn’t even need a caption..

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When we arrived at the War Rooms we debated if it was a good time to go or not. There was a pretty hefty line but decided to wait it out.

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See that nice line behind me… This was taken when we were still deciding if we should hop in it.

I am SO glad we decided to do Churchill War Rooms. It was something on our agenda I didn’t go to back in 2013, so that was a plus to start. The price includes an audio tour, which most places require you to pay extra for, another plus. The area you get to tour is HUGE. We spent over an hour and a half (maybe 2 hours) there and felt we were being engaged by the material the whole time. (wow, just used some major teacher lingo there) All around, such a good experience. They even have the 10 Downing Street door from when Churchill was Prime Minister in the Museum area!

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By the time we finished walking through the War Rooms, we were starving. We decided to eat at Pret-A-Manger because they were everywhere. We found an area near Westminster Abbey to enjoy our sandwiches! They were amazing and visiting Pret became a noticable pattern in our time in London.

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Upon the completion of our delicious (late) lunch, I convinced Trevor to let us go into Westminster Abbey. Although not originally on the agenda, I figured since we were there, we should do it! We only have pictures from the outside because they have a policy of no photos on the inside. But believe me, it was phenomenal inside. If you’re ever in London – GO. I almost cried because of the beauty.

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Following the beauty of Westminster Abbey, we walked around the area around the Abbey and Big Ben to enjoy some of the typical sightseeing.

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Honestly, London offers so much natural beauty. I could only imagine living in such an amazing area. Following our walk around, we headed to our meeting place for the Jack the Ripper Tour! I was sooo excited for the tour and I have watched so many documentaries and read so much about Jack the Ripper. Trevor, on the other hand, had no idea any of the information shared with us (apparently he never cared to listen when I’d shared details earlier) and found it super fascinating. Below are some photos of some of the locations we visited on the walking tour!

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After the amazing tour, we made our way back to our hotel. It was a day filled with a lot of walking and we were ready for some rest. I just looked back on my activity – on this day we walked 9.75 miles!

I can’t wait to keep sharing our fun time in Europe, be sure to check back for more!
XO Elisebeth

Europe 2017: London Day 1

Hello again,

Glad you’ve come back to hear more about our European Adventures! BTW, you can check out the hashtag #tandeineurope to see some of the photos that I’ve posted there from/during our trip.

TRAVEL FROM AMSTERDAM TO LONDON / LONDON DAY 1

Y’all are in for quite the read. We had delays and reschedule-ments and everything in between. At this point in the trip, I was assuming (and hoping) this would be the only hiccups we would experience.

We grabbed a quick and simple breakfast from a café not too far from our AirBnB and walked around the area along the canals. We packed up and hit the road. Our walk to the train station was much easier than our way to the AirBnB – no wrong trains were gotten on, no misunderstandings of where we were going to. All in all, it was feeling easy at this point.

We made it to Amsterdam’s airport with ease and boarded our plane. We had a connection through Paris CDG. We learned on our first transfer through CDG that France will make you go through security again even for connections. Also, thanks to the security requirements, I have more stamps in my passport from France than I anticipated gaining! Our connection from Amsterdam to London, however, was much shorter than our first. We ended up having to run through CDG, which is quite the large airport, to make sure we would make boarding on time. Definitely not my favorite moment of the trip.

By the time we made it to our gate, we hopped in line and began boarding shortly. We all made it on the plane pretty promptly but got delayed on the plane for some reason I don’t remember. Our flight got delayed about 20 minutes on the Paris side and then we sat in the plane even longer once landing in London. For only a 40 minute flight, we spent a lot of time on that plane. When we finally got off of our plane, we grabbed our luggage and got onto the Tube to go to our hotel. I had scheduled a Jack the Ripper Tour for that evening at 7 pm and I knew we weren’t going to make it on time. It was about 6 by the time we got off the Tube and were starting to walk to our hotel. I called up the tour company and they so willingly offered to reschedule our time with the next day’s group! (Seriously, shoutout to Discovery Tours. You rocked. Read my Yelp review.)

Once we finally checked into our hotel, we just kind of SAT. After our less than perfect AirBnB experience in Amsterdam, hotel-living was feeling amazing. Trevor is the King of “travel hacking” and we got our nights in our London hotel for free! Seriously, the only reason we were able to do even half of this trip was that he invested so much time in finding amazing deals on travel.

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Our cute hotel

Eventually, we got pretty hungry and decided to grab some food. After some Yelp research, we found a place that we thought would be a good fit because they apparently serve the best fish and chips. We wanted to make sure we had fish and chips at least once over there, so why not the first night?! We walked over to the cutest little place, which ended up being really fancy inside. We were asked if we had a reservation, in which we awkwardly responded “No” to and received an odd look. Yelp didn’t prepare us for that! They ended up finding a spot for us, although we were definitely not receiving the top end service or experience that was raved about. Nonetheless, the food was fantastic! We split a plate of fish and chips with mushy peas since it was getting later in the evening. I was so surprised that Trevor was loving the mushy peas! No excuses about peas in the future now…

After a hearty dinner, we walked around the area near our hotel a bit. We weren’t in central London by any means and couldn’t see any significant landmarks without a bus or Tube ride. I was glad we selected a more neighborhood-like area though. The streets were clean, there were very few homeless people in our hotel’s immediate vicinity, and there were smaller shops nearby. We ended up stumbling upon a cute little store that apparently sold film! We were hoping to return when it was open but never did.

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Night 1 in London ended with an enjoyable shower (since we only ever did a quick rinse in Amsterdam) and enjoying some Doctor Who on Netflix before being fast asleep in our oh-so-comfy hotel bed!

There’s a lot more to read about our time in London and I’ll keep sharing the rest of our journey through Europe, so check back later for more!
XO Elisebeth

Europe 2017: Amsterdam Day 2

Hello again,

Glad you’ve come back to hear more about our European Adventures! BTW, you can check out the hashtag #tandeineurope to see some of the photos that I’ve posted there from/during our trip.

AMSTERDAM DAY 2 / LAST FULL DAY IN AMSTERDAM 😦

So yeah, we slept a whole freaking 12 hours from a long day of travel and whatnot. We were both exhausted from all of that travel (clearly, since Trevor fell asleep at the Van Gogh Museum).

So Day 2 – I found out the news of the ants when I woke up. We woke up to a message from our host saying he’d send someone over to get that checked out. So we got dressed and headed out for some food. We found a cute little place, La Pain Quotidien, just down the road from our AirBnB. We drank what we deemed the best orange juice ever (clearly this was a judgment we revoked later on when we drank even better orange juice) and had some delicious food.

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Breakfast with amazing OJ

After some full tummies, we went to Rijksmuseum. The exterior architecture of Rijksmuseum was absolutely phenomenal. Like, breathtaking. We had a difficult time trying to figure out how to go in and spent some time in their garden area first. There was a really cool fountain that Trevor and I enjoyed the mist spraying off of for a while – which was perfect for a hot, summer day! Eventually, we made it inside and saw some incredible work by Vermeer, Rembrandt, and many other artists. Inside there was also an absolutely AMAZING library. Imagine the library in Beauty & The Beast – that’s what it was like. The photo below is a very not good representation of its wonder and beauty.

When we were all art-ed out, we strolled along the canals on our way to Anne Frank House. It was pretty easy to tell when we had made it by the sizable line out front. I had looked up tickets about a month and a half in advance before our trip and they were sold out already, so I knew we’d be waiting in a line for a while to get inside. Boy, am I glad we waited it out. The experience inside gave me every possible emotion. I felt joy for the life that Anne and her family experienced before going into hiding, for her perspective on life, for her ability to live so much in such a short time. I felt sorrow for how her story ended, for her father, Otto’s loss of everyone, for the pain they had to endure in hiding and in the camp. I felt anger for fellow tourists who clearly showed no respect to the house or those taking in everything they saw (don’t even get me started on this). I felt anger for how not just Anne and her family were treated but all those who were afflicted by this treatment, purely for their religion and culture. I didn’t feel as though I was paying to see a historical site. I felt like I was paying so others could understand and perhaps take a new perspective on life. If you’re in Amsterdam, go, even if that means waiting in a long line.

The experience inside gave me every possible emotion. I felt joy for the life that Anne and her family experienced before going into hiding, for her perspective on life, for her ability to live so much in such a short time. I felt sorrow for how her story ended, for her father, Otto’s loss of everyone, for the pain they had to endure in hiding and in the camp. I felt anger for fellow tourists who clearly showed no respect to the house or those taking in everything they saw (don’t even get me started on this). I felt anger for how not just Anne and her family were treated but all those who were afflicted by this treatment, purely for their religion and culture. I didn’t feel as though I was paying to see a historical site. I felt like I was paying so others could understand and perhaps take a new perspective on life. If you’re in Amsterdam, go, even if that means waiting in a long line.

After visiting, we stood outside and I just kind of took it all in. I don’t know that I’ll ever stop processing that part of the trip….

The worst part of waiting in line for the Anne Frank House was, without a doubt, the amazing smell of pancakes next door. Once we finished our time paying our respects and learning a very intense history lesson, we made our way to eat some Dutch pancakes. What makes a Dutch pancake different from an American pancake? I tried Googling that very same thing while in Amsterdam and didn’t really find any answers. From my personal experience: a Dutch pancake is like if a crêpe and an American pancake had a baby.

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Once we were stuffed to the brim with carbs, we headed back to our AirBnB and changed into some warmer clothes. We of course immediately checked to see if there were any ants around, which there were still plenty of.

This was one of the rare cooler nights on the trip. We headed out to take some pictures around town with the Pentax K1000, Polaroid, and of course, our Nikon in tow. We walked around the more touristy areas near Dam Square, but I didn’t last long because I was very tired from a day of walking. We ended up back at the AirBnB for an earlier bedtime as the next day was a travel day.

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I’ll keep sharing the rest of our journey through Europe so check back later for more!
XO Elisebeth

Europe 2017: Amsterdam Day 1

Hello!

I’m finally getting around to sharing the deets of our lovely trip to Europe… So, without further ado, let’s get started! Just a little heads up – there’s a mixture of pictures from our Nikon and both of our iPhones.. I’ll try to keep it all cohesive though!

AMSTERDAM.

Amsterdam was the one place on this trip I had not visited before. After seeing several photos of the amazing city, I thought it’d be a great place to add to our trip when we decided we for sure wanted to do London and Paris.

Our flight left Minneapolis and connected through Paris CDG. It was a relatively easy flight with good food. Our hope was to get a few hours of sleep on the plane since we’d arrive in Amsterdam around 10 am and would start our first day. Did that happen? Well… We did get some sleep, but not as much as we’d hoped for.

So, we make it to Amsterdam no problem, other than a slightly delayed flight at CDG – great, am I right? We hop on the train to head to Dam Square (the wrong one at first – oops) and head to our AirBnB. Now we booked a lot of our trip using credit card points – all our flights and hotel rooms were covered through points. So when you hear we were in an AirBnB, those nights were meant to be small on our budget, even though we saved tons of moola on flights and lodging. Our Amsterdam AirBnB was quite small. The pictures online lent to that idea but were very well taken and made it look larger than it truly was. We were on the top floor, almost in a little attic type space. It felt like a million degrees out, which did not help with the sweaty situation that was created by 3 flights of stairs. We freshened up and decided to head out to wander around. On our way out of our AirBnB, two men are standing at the front entry and are shocked to see us! One, apparently the building owner, even exclaimed, “You’re not supposed to be here!” I was shocked and scared that we had gone to the wrong place, even though we had gotten the key with no problem. Apparently, our host didn’t receive our texts about having arrived safely and sent the owner over to make sure the lock was still in working order!

I had pre-bought tickets for the Van Gogh Museum for our first day in Amsterdam as it was my top priority for our time there. Van Gogh is my favorite painter, you can ask Trevor…. Anyhow, we walked around the area of our AirBnB, wandered around the canals, and eventually made our way to the Van Gogh Museum after a brief stop by the IAmsterdam sign. We were dying of heat at this point. Thank goodness for air-conditioned museums! We spent a little more time than probably necessary at the Van Gogh Museum, just soaking up the cool relief of the AC! Now keep in mind, many museums have rooms that are darker (this museum included), there was AC, and we traveled many hours to finally get to Amsterdam… This was the perfect recipe for Trevor to fall asleep. Yes, he actually fell asleep while we sat for a bit on a bench.

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The beautiful Amsterdam canals
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I Amsterdam Sig
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Van Gogh Museum
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Beautiful flowers near the Van Gogh Museum

After a nice time at the Museum, we took a longer way back to our AirBnB and saw the Apple Store in Amsterdam. Trevor really wanted to see a few in Europe over our trip, so we took advantage of their AC and great wifi. Night One in Amsterdam, we ended up eating Italian. Yes, I know, we weren’t in Italy, but it was the closest food we could find that we could both agree upon! We ate some amazing pepperoni pizza before heading back to the AirBnB.

I zonked out pretty promptly after getting back to our AirBnB. Trevor, however, discovered ants. Yes, our smaller-than-imagined-AirBnB, was also now invested with ants. Trevor took some photos of where they were thriving and messaged our host via my account since we couldn’t get ahold of him from his phone number earlier. I am so thankful he didn’t wake me up to tell me. I slept 12 hours that night and probably could’ve slept more. Plus…the next day was filled with just as many adventures…

More about Amsterdam and the rest of our journey through Europe to come later, keep on checking back!
XO Elisebeth

The Start of Summer 2017

Hello!

I am here to finally write a post other than those from my “Date Nights” series! While I super love sharing our love with y’all, I’m sure it gets annoying reading basically the same thing over + over + over again. So here we are… a post that is not directly about our Date Nights.

It is freaking summer already.

How did this happen?

Wasn’t it just snowing and we were complaining about subzero temps?

Here in Minnesota, the heat got turned to HIGH really fast this year. I’m all for warm weather + a chance for a good tan, but it’s gotten a bit too hot for my general liking. Last weekend Trevor + I walked around at Grand Old Day since we live a few blocks away + I got a little pink in the shoulders, which has now transitioned to the first tan of the season! Now to work on my pasty legs a bit…

Anywho, summer is off to the most wonderful of starts! Earlier this week we finally booked our plane tickets AND hotel room for PORTLAND. I cannot wait! I repeat, we’re going to Portland. In July. For almost a week. I. CAN’T. WAIT.

(Here’s the part that kind of drifts back to “Date Nights” series territory)

Trev + I have always had this plan to travel as much as possible, thus our upcoming trips to both Europe + Portland for this summer. We’ve both made it a priority so far to do one good vacation together each summer (last year we did DC + NYC) + I hope this continues as our marriage progresses. June’s Date Nights will be our trip as a whole as we spend time exploring together + doing some kinda pricey things. We’ve saved so much money on both of our trips that we’re able to spoil ourselves a bit in both trips + I am so beyond excited for them.

So that’s the start of my 2017 summer! I’m hoping to have a lot to share about Europe after we get back, but also no promises because sometimes I super suck about this whole blogging thing….

Praying your summers are off to an equally wonderful start!
XO Elisebeth