Amsterdam (EuroTour Leg 3)

Once we arrived at our AirBnB in Amsterdam we dropped off our bags and darted out to get food nearby.

We noticed a bar near the Chinese restaurant where we got dinner, and stopped at the bar afterwards. They didn’t have much of anything that I prefer to drink and it was super crowded so we didn’t stay long and called it a night.

The following day we booked activities. Several of us picked different activities but we all agreed to do the Ice Bar, a guided tour on the canal, and the sex museum in the red light district.


I had a little time before activities so I got a manicure and pedicure. Although my friends wanted to see the Anne Frank house the line was way too long and would have cut into the other activities we had planned during our short stay.

One other friend and myself had purchased tickets for Body Worlds. I hadn’t gotten a chance to catch the exhibition several years ago when it was in both Philadelphia and the Washington DC area, so I was excited to catch it now.

 The Body Worlds exhibition takes an interesting look into the magic of the human body. One of the exhibits compared an average weeks spread of food for countries/cultures around the world and there was no surprise that the American family was among the top calorie consumers and had the unhealthiest food choices.
There were also several sex exhibits that were interesting and a display of a child fetus through each month of gestation. I really enjoyed Body Worlds.

 

I wanted to rent a bike and do some low key exploring but nobody else was interested and there wasn’t much time to fit it in.

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The canal tour was fun as well, our boat captain was funny and very attractive. And seeing the city from the canals was definite interesting, specifically learning about the architecture and design of most homes. Which explained why the steps in our AirBnB were so narrow and winding, which can be really dangerous. I will say it was a real team effort hauling our luggage up two levels of narrow and winding staircases.

The Ice Bar was an experience. It was fun and the drinks they have at their regular bar were really good.


   
After leaving the Ice Bar we headed to a nearby club, where we stayed and danced for almost an hour until I realized that I had left the hat (as seen in the photos above) I borrowed from my friend that day at the Ice Bar. As we were leaving to back to get the hat the bouncer tried to convince us to stay. We explained what happened and he offered us a bottle of champagne (well Prosecco) if we returned after retrieving the hat.

Unfortunately, the hat was nowhere to be found so we returned empty handed. But luckily the bouncer kept his word and the champagne was an added bonus to the night.


On our last night, we went to the sex museum and visited to the red light district. The museum was fun and enlightening. Learning about the sex industry in Amsterdam gave me a much different perspective on this business. I don’t plan to run out and join the industry but it is interesting to see how these “mostly women” are viewed by society and how the government has regulated or at least involved itself in this industry.

  From what we were told, a good majority of the women who put themselves on display in the windows and elsewhere to advertise themselves for sex, are in long term committed relationships or married. And their careers are not hidden or shamed by their family or friends. They all look at it as just another job.

I think most people will agree that Americans are quite prudish and overly judgmental when it comes to sex and ones sexuality. So I’m sure many of us a bit surprised when we are taken out of our element to a freer more open culture. Europe in general is a very sexually open continent, with nude beaches and nude bath houses etc.

It’s reasons like this that make me appreciate the traveling that I get to experience.

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Last Train From Paris

Next stop on the tour was Amsterdam!  But not after yet a little more travel drama…but this time we arrived at the train station in Paris to depart for Amsterdam. We probably got there way too early.


Unfortunately, we had to walk down to the second to the last Thalys train car (#18) for our seats only to learn that there was no more room for any of our luggage on our car. After being directed to the previous car (#17) to check for availability and being told the same.

We broke up our group of 4 into 2.  Two of us ran all the way to the 5th train car, where we finally found availability for our massive luggage.  We were not pleased with leaving out luggage so far out of sight and reach from the reserved seating we had in car #18, but what are you gonna do?

Returning to our seats was not a simple task as a train employee was refereeing an argument between a nice lady with kids who purchased a reserved seat and the arrogant man who was sitting in her seat and was determined not to move.

The train was full so finding an empty seat for him would probably not be easy. Getting past that drama took a few minutes. Finally we arrived at our reserved seating of 4 only to find a group of young guys playing cards and occupying them.

After making it clear that we had reserved those seats we were on our way to Amsterdam. I believe it was about a 3 hour ride.


Ironically, this happened to be the same train that 3 Americans would stop a gunman a mere 2 weeks later; only that train was going to Paris from Amsterdam. #Godisgood

 

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Paris 2015 (EuroTour Leg 2)

We took a taxi from Charles de Gaulle airport to our AirBnB.  Which was nice and in a great location. Check in went very smoothly and after changing clothes we were out the door to site see the Champs-Élysées, the Eiffel Tower etc.11807733_10153563176729190_4788113633193727604_o 11807321_10153563169679190_2758840853483044888_o

 

We grabbed lunch and tried to get tickets for a dinner show, but the two shows we had interest in seeing were sold out for that night.

Although it was something we discussed doing weeks in advance we hadn’t actually purchased the tickets. (Lesson Learned: Book ahead, next time).

11822392_10153563167269190_3817035091518645833_nAfter site seeing, we returned to the apartment to figure out our next move.  This took awhile but eventually found a place to have a really nice dinner.  Santa Carne, an Argentinean steakhouse.

Our party of four had an amazing time at Santa Carne. 3 of us ordered the L’assiette du chef (Chef’s choice) which is essentially 3 different types of steak with potatoes and salad. The couple at the table next to us had gotten the same dish and it looked amazing. He also said he had ordered it medium well which is normally how I take my steak, but it was a bit too red for me so when I ordered mine I got it well done and was more than satisfied.

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The fourth person in our party ordered the La Brochette (steak skewer) and she also was happy but for only 10 Euro more why not get the Chef’s choice? We also ordered a rose wine which was okay.

The service was amazing! Our Argentinean server, Ariel was a bit shy about speaking English to us and communication was a small challenge but he gladly grabbed a chef from the kitchen, Lara/Laura to interpret for us all and she was awesome as well. It was a great time and made my second time in Paris a thousand times better than my first trip to Paris.11813429_10153563168969190_6516908020220582999_n

We had a mini photo shoot while waiting outside to be seated for dinner…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was wearing a silver and custom made center pearl ring on my left ring finger.  A 28-year old Ariel grabbed my left hand and noted the ring. I quickly switched the ring to my middle finger to indicate that I was not indeed engaged or married, as he continued to flirt.  We all had a laugh about that.



After dinner we stopped for me to get my favorite European treat, a crepe!  It was a delicious Nutella and banana crepe.
Magic in the making
Magic in the making
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Someone wanted to be in the photo.

 

 

 

 

 

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England 2015 (EuroTour Leg 1)

The three of us arrived in London, Heathrow on a Wednesday morning and awaited our fourth party’s arrival flight.  Luckily after an hour we realized her flight was delayed several hours.  We went to our day room not too far from the airport and waited for her to arrive.

My Godbrother picked us up from the hotel and we went back to his house about 2-hours away not too far from Cambridge, UK.  Although the original plan was for us to stay with him, we ultimately got two rooms at nearby hotel (Worlington Hall Country House Hotel).

 
The room I stayed in was a suite, a 2-level apartment almost, looked as though it hadn’t been rented out in months, had a slight smell of mildew/mold and it was outside of the rest of the hotel.  It was sooo cold we slept in our clothes but because we were unsure of the cleanliness we slept on top of the sheets.  Man I almost froze that night. I woke up congested and irritated.

He came to get us after we ate the traditional English Breakfast at the hotel and we went back to his house to shower and get dressed. There was no way I could shower in a room that cold.


After 4 women got dressed we were off to Cambridge to sight see. We visited a museum had lunch at Revolution Bar and took a ton of selfies and usies. Here are some pictures of our afternoon.

The next day my bro grilled the best chicken wings and later we roasted marshmallows and s’mores on the fire pit at his house. We booked a different hotel for that night.  After chatting with the manager we thought that it was 2 double beds and because the price was so high we agreed to make it work (2 in each bed). But when we later got to the room, we realized it was actually two twin beds pushed together.  They had given us the keys earlier in the day but told us the room would not be ready until much later.   Four women in what is essentially a queen size bed was NOT fun!  I didn’t sleep much at all.On the third day we went to London and got another hotel.  We dropped off our bags at the hotel before heading out to sight see.  We saw Big Ben, London Bridge, and Buckingham Palace.  We followed that with dinner at an Irish Pub where most of us got the Fish and Chips, which was much better than the first time I had tried it years ago in another England Pub.


  

We had planned to go out to the club scene that night but were pretty tired by the end of the day so we just headed back to our hotel for the evening.

The next day we would be leaving for Paris but that didn’t go quite as planned…

 

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