Nadia and I were very busy in December welcoming our first visitor and traveling a bit! Right after Thanksgiving, we boarded a bus to head up north to Birmingham to visit our friends Dave & Tracy. We met them last November during our honeymoon cruise on the second night at dinner and ended up hanging out with them the rest of the trip!
We arrived around Noon and relaxed for a few hours before heading to downtown Birmingham and the German Christmas Market. The Market was by far the biggest we had seen yet! Lots of food and shopping stalls and of course beer! We had a great time walking around and seeing all of the sites. We also had a chance to check out the newly built library. It was beautiful and view from the top of Birmingham was amazing! If you are planning to visit Birmingham it is a must!
Saturday we took a short road trip to Stratford-upon-Avon, which sits along the banks of the River Avon, and is the birth place of Shakespeare. We enjoyed walking around and seeing the quaint town. It is a great little town and we look forward to seeing more of it this spring when we travel back with our new students.
On Sunday we only had a few hours to spend with our friends and just relaxed. The weekend went by way too fast and we are so thankful for the time we were able to spend with them. We really hope to see them again soon and maybe for a little longer next time!
A few weeks later, our friend Sam arrived as our first official visitor!! We had a packed schedule – Paris, Brussels, and Amsterdam! So of course we hit the ground running…right into Central London! We had a great first day out and had an early night to get up super early for Paris!
Our day in Paris was VERY PACKED: 4 AM wake up call, Eurostar, Motor Coach tour, River Cruise down the Seine, Champagne lunch at the Eiffel Tower, drink espresso, window shopping, walking around, and picture taking fools!! That’s how we do Paris in a day!!! We had an amazing time and I think our pictures show it. It was too hard to pick a few, so I have added all of them in a slideshow below!
A few days after Paris, we traveled to Brussels and Amsterdam. I’ll be honest, we didn’t really do a lot of research before heading to each place. We talked about doing some highlights, but we all just wanted to relax, kick back, drink a few pints and that is exactly what we did. We had a great time exploring both cities and seeing some of the big ticket items, but mostly we just enjoyed each other’s company. It had been several years since we had seen Sam and it was really great to catch up with him. We had the best time laughing, eating, and drinking our way around Europe!
Even though we feel like we didn’t see much, we still managed to take over 200 pictures between both cities! If I had to tell you two things to eat in Brussels, it would be Mayo Frites and Waffles! I promise you that you have never had Waffles like the ones in Belgium!! If we would have spent one more day in Brussels, I don’t think my pants would have fit anymore!
Once we arrived in Amsterdam we made our way to the Heineken Experience. It was once where they brewed the famous, but now it’s a historic brewery and corporate visitor center. We had a great time learning all about how Heineken came to be and REALLY(!) enjoyed tasting a few pints. We continued on our beer journey by heading to the Ice Bar, where the entire bar (walls, bar, stools, and even glasses) is made out of solid ice. The temperature is set at -10 degrees Celsius and you enjoy drinks out of a solid glass of ice. Since your body can’t be at that temperature for too long, we were only allowed to be there for 45 minutes. It was a lot of fun and I’m really glad we did it. If you have the chance to visit one, I highly recommend it.
After partying a little too hard in Amsterdam, we tried to get an earlier flight back to London with no luck. Even if you book a cheap flight, you still have to pay a change fee plus the price difference. Instead of letting it get us down, we had a great time exploring the Amsterdam Airport!! The things you do when you have loads of time in a huge airport! haha
Once we arrived back in London, we only had about 12 hours until Sam left. We gave him a proper goodbye, by taking him to our favorite sandwich shop, Steve’s. It’s a local place located right across the street from our flat. Besides the amazing food, I love that Steve knows who we are and always asks “how we’re gettin’ on!” As the old saying goes, sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name! 😉
Thanks Sam for being our first guest and our travel buddy for our first trips outside of the UK!! It was a blessing to spend some time with you and made me remember how awesome you are! I’m so grateful to have you as a friend. Lots of love and waffles!! xoxo