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Europe Vacation 2011

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1: Amsterdam | NETHERLANDS | ARRIVED 5 JULY 2011 | Amsterdam is the largest city, and the capital, of the Netherlands. The city is located in the province of North Holland in the west of the country.

2: So we made it to Amsterdam! Of course we were completely exhausted, but the first thing we did was go buy me a new suitcase. The one I came to the city with broke in transit, and actually ended up cutting my hand! On our way to buy a bag we got our first glimpse of the museum district. | JULY 5 2011 | Arrival | Amsterdam | ________________ | ________________

4: FIRST NIGHT OUT After a nap we met up with my old friend Stefan and his boyfriend Jasper. They took us out for dinner (sushi!) and drinks in the Leidseplein, which is a very popular square in Amsterdam with many bars, restaurants and street performers. We spent a lot of time in this square during our stay.

6: On the second day in Amsterdam, we decided to stop by the Heineken Museum. Heineken Lager Beer was first brewed by Gerard Adriaan Heineken in 1873. The beer is made of purified water, malted barley, hops, and yeast. In 1886 H. Elion finished the development of the Heineken A-yeast, which is still used in the brewing process today. | HEINEKEN | JULY 6 2011

10: BOAT TOUR After the Heieneken Museum, we went to a bar to get Andy to try a local food - bitterballen and kroketten. He ended up loving them. I mean, who wouldn't? Delicious deep fried goodness, to follow up the beer we had at the museum. Afterwards Jasper and Stefan had to leave town, so Andy and I went off on our own to explore. After another afternoon nap, we had dinner in the Leidseplein and then headed off on a canal boat tour.

12: walk around town | JULY 7 2011 | A DAY TO

13: SIGHTSEEING On our third day in Amsterdam we spent the day just the two of us. We walked the whole day, from Leidseplein to Amsterdam-Centraal. We stopped by a few museums on the way, and drank lattes at some great cafes.

14: NIEUWE KERK is a 15th-century church in Amsterdam, located on Dam Square, next to the Royal Palace. The bishop of Utrecht gave the city of Amsterdam permission to use a second the parish church in 1408 because the Oude Kerk had grown too small for the growing population of the city.

16: By the end of the day we were exhausted. We went back to the hotel for yet another nap and headed out for dinner. This night we decided to eat at a Dutch food restaurant. Andy got to try smoked eel, pickled herring and Dutch cheese fondue. He loved all of it. Dutch food really is delicious

17: The next day we explored the local market on Albert-Cuyp Straat. This is the same market where I bought my new suitcase. This time, however, our goal was food. More specifically the Burgermeester burger restaurant. Some say it's the best burgers in Amsterdam. | JULY 10 2011

18: THE HOUSE OF BOLS That evening we went to the Bols Museum with Jasper and Stefn Bols began distilling genevers – The Netherlands’ national spirit category – in 1664, a proud tradition that continues to this day. Bols Master Distillers have since perfected the art of distilling genever over the centuries. KLM Blue Delft Miniature Houses presents some of the Old Dutch Houses situated along the canals in Amsterdam and other age-old towns in Holland. These houses are presented to travelers on board KLM flights in Business Class. At the end of the museum there are free cocktails. This really kicked off the night for us! After the museum we headed back to the Leidseplein for more drinks and had a great time. | Lucas Bols

22: The next morning we were pretty tired. We woke up late and had Dutch pannekoeken for breakfast. Later in the afternoon we headed to the Artis Royal Zoo. We had to take the tram to the other side of town to get there. We got off at the wrong stop but managed not to get lost. Our favorite animal of the day was the Malaysian Yellow-Throated Marten, because it actually played with us through the cage. | JULY 9 2011

24: Goodbye, Holland! | SCHIPHOL AIRPORT And so we're off. Andy's first time in Holland and my umptieth. Who knows when I'll see this airport again? Amsterdam Schiphol Airport is the Netherlands' main international airport. Schiphol is an important European airport, ranking as Europe’s 4th busiest and the world's 12th busiest by total passenger traffic. | JULY 10 2011

25: Welcome | Scotland | JULY | JULY 11 2011 | ________________ | ________________ | SCOTLAND The first day in Scotland was pretty quiet. Andy's mom picked us up from the airport with his uncle. We went to his aunt and uncle's place for a big family dinner with Andy's granny. We stayed at his aunt and uncle's for the rest of our stay in Scotland.

26: Stirling Castle The day after arriving in Scotland we headed out to our first castle with Andy's cousin Ian. Stirling Castle, located in Stirling, is one of the largest and most important castles, both historically and architecturally, in Scotland. The castle sits atop Castle Hill, an intrusive crag, which forms part of the Stirling Sill geological formation.

28: After Stirling Castle we walked up to the Wallace Monument. The National Wallace Monument (generally known as the Wallace Monument) is a tower standing on the summit of Abbey Craig, a hilltop near Stirling in Scotland. It commemorates Sir William Wallace, the 13th century Scottish hero

30: Edinburgh | JULY 12 2011 | A DAY IN

31: EDINBURGH CASTLE After a memorable ride on the Glasgow underground, we went to Edinburgh Castle. Edinburgh Castle is a fortress which dominates the skyline of the city of Edinburgh, Scotland, from its position atop the volcanic Castle Rock. Human habitation of the site is dated back as far as the 9th century BC, although the nature of early settlement is unclear. There has been a royal castle here since at least the reign of David I in the 12th century.

34: JULER | JULY 13 2011 | We went to Glasgow to see an old church. Afterwards we went off to Andy's Granny's house. I had my first real British fish & chips

36: Dunoon Ferry

37: WATERFALL After crossing with the ferry we drove a short way and found a small side road. At one point Ian pulled over and made us walk through the woods and came out to a beautiful waterfall. We had a short picnic there and enjoyed the view. It was a secret wonder that I was lucky enough to see.

38: OTTER FERRY Otter Ferry (Scottish Gaelic: An Oitir) is a settlement in Argyll and Bute, Scotland, formerly the site of a ferry across Loch Fyne. Otter Ferry is situated 9 miles from Portavadie where you can catch the ferry to Tarbert. We drove here from the waterfall, and ate dinner at the Oyster Catcher. We watched the sun set over Loch Fyne and skipped rocks on the water.

40: Last day in Scotland, time to drive down to England | JULY 13 2011

41: CARLISLE CASTLE The castle is in the English county of Cumbria, near the ruins of Hadrian's Wall. The castle is over 900 years old and has been the scene of many historical episodes in British history. Given the proximity of Carlisle to the border it has been the centre of many wars and invasions. | JULY | Welcome | England | JULY 14 2011 | ________________ | ________________

42: We went to Carlisle with Andy's mom, Granny, Aunt and Cousin. We had a family dinner and the next day we went for a 6 hour drive down to England. I had caught a cold so I slept most of the drive down. | JULY 15 2011 Driving to England

43: JULY 16 2011 We spent the day in Basingstoke taking in the sights, We also went to a pub in the country where Emily and I tried and failed miserably to beat Andy and Stuart at a game of pool.

44: LONDON IN A DAY We didn't have a lot of time in England, so when we got to London we had to see as much as possible in as little time as we could. We saw Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square, just to name a few.We even had a Sunday Lunch in the middle of it all. It was fantastic.

45: London | JULY 17 2011

49: Our trip has been amazing!! The locals are as warm and nice as expected. We've been able to visit all of the places on my list and I got to hold a Koala Bear! Woohoo!! Now I can check that off the bucket list. I love it so much here it’s going to be hard to leave, but the fun isn't over yet...we still have 5 more days to explore beautiful Australia.

50: JULY 18-19 2011

51: Brighton The morning of thee 19th we left Basingstoke to stay in Horsham, Andy's hometown. Once we were all settled, we get on the train to Brighton, the gay capital of England. Colorful, unique, and full of wonder. It was the one sunny day we had in England.

53: BRIGHTON PIER Brighton has one major attraction; Brighton Pier. The pier has been converted into a fairground, with small carnival rides and a large indoor penny arcade. There is lots of small scale gambling games as well. We spent a lot of time betting on fake horse races. Brighton Pier has famous donuts - made on the spot. It was one of the greasiest, sugar-filled things I've ever eaten. I couldn't finish mine.


56: While we were in Horsham we stayed at Andy's old neighbour's house. They made us dinner and filled us up with wine. Andy used to play with their cat Patsy when he was a kid, and now he got to do it again!

57: JULY 20 2011 | The last day came too soon! The day before heading back home we went to Portsmouth Harbor with Emily and Matt. We did a little shopping, bought some last minute souvenirs and called it a day. The next morning we taxied to the airport and went back home. Goodbye, England! | HOME

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  • Europe Vacation 2011
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