EuroTrip 2016: Summary

As I finish up posts on our China trip, here’s my summary on our recent trip to Amsterdam, Brussels, Bruges, and Paris. We were in Europe for just 1 week but due to train travel we were able to visit a variety of places. This is just a quick post on our first thoughts upon returning from our trip. As always, will post a more detailed wrap up and follow up to the planning post eventually!

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Olympic Park (China Day 2)

I have always had a love obsession with the Olympics. The spirit of the Olympics captivated when I was little and was something that I never let go of. I did multiple reports throughout elementary, middle school, and high school on either the Olympics themselves or Olympic athletes. So needless to say, whenever I visit a city that has hosted an Olympics, I tend to seek out the Olympic village area. Munich’s Olympiapark is by far the best that I’ve visited. Athen’s Olympic Sports Complex is about the worst. Back in 2009 when my sister and I were backpacking there, we were so excited after seeing Munich’s a couple week’s prior, but upon exiting the subway were a little scared at how abandoned it was. As we commented then, we don’t think anyone had visited since the Olympics in 2004.

Beijing’s Olympic Park ranks in the better past Olympic complexes we’ve visited. We visited in the evening to see the stadiums lit up at night, but a day visit will let you inside the Water Cube. The main central Olympic Park complex consists of the Water Cube (Aquatics Center), National Stadium (also known as the Bird’s Nest), convention center, indoor stadium, the Ling Long Tower, and the China Science and Technology Museum.

Beijing's Mascots + Read More

Photo of the Day(s): Michelin Star and Street Waffles

Crossed off a bucket list item eating at a Michelin star restaurant yesterday and enjoying the best waffle we had in Belgium in Brugges (twice) today  

Photo of the (yester)Day(s): Brussels and Paris

Spent yesterday eating treats in Brussels and did a day trip to Paris today!

  

  

Photo of the Day: Tulips

Bucket list checked: Tulip season in the Netherlands

Photo of the Day: Rijksmuseum

While fretting about our return flight getting canceled, here’s a pic from the start of the day that was much happier. 

  

Photo of the Day: Amsterdam

Falling hard for this beautiful city  

 

EuroTrip 2016: Planning

While we technically went to Europe in 2015 (Iceland), we hadn’t been to mainland Europe since Croatia in 2014. When looking for a spring trip, we decided the time was right to finally make it to Amsterdam. We had originally thought about Amsterdam back in 2012, but we went in the fall and went to Prague, Vienna, and Budapest instead. Spring is one of the busiest travel seasons to the Netherlands due to it being the famous tulip season. We figured if we were going to be going in the spring, then we had to try and plan to time our visit for tulip season. While anything in nature isn’t guaranteed, we went with what seemed to be one of the historically best chances of seeing tulips in bloom, the third week of April. While it’s not always the peak blooming week, most years there are at least some in bloom in the fields and at Keukenhof Gardens.

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Mutianyu Great Wall (China Day 2)

We reached the Mutianyu Great Wall section after about 2&1/2 hours of hiking the Jiankou section. The Mutianyu Great Wall section is older than Jiankou, though Mutianyu has been restored unlike Jiankou. This section is one of the most popular sections to visit due to it’s restored condition and being close to Beijing and the airport. It is also one of the most scenic sections of the Great Wall. It is easily visited in a day trip by itself of in combination with Jiankou. The Mutianyu Great Wall also has a cable car and chair lift to get visitors to the wall avoiding the steep climb from the village and a toboggan ride to get down. Though visitors do have the option of hiking up to and down from the wall to avoid paying the extra fees for the lifts.

Jiankou to Mutinayu border + Read More

Jiankou Great Wall (China Day 2)

Our first full day in China, was the one we were most looking forward to before leaving… hiking on The Great Wall of China. Something that is probably on most everyone’s bucket list to complete at some point. It was primarily the reason we even put Beijing on our list of Asian cities we considered going to for our fall trip. There are several different sections of the Great Wall you can visit for a day (or multiple days) trip from Beijing. The most commonly visited are Badalang and Mutianyu sections, though there are several other less restored sections including Jiankou, Simatai, and Jinshanling. We initially were leaning towards Mutianyu as it’s well restored but less crowded than Badalang. But when looking for a guide to the wall, I stumbled across a full day Jiankou to Mutianyu tour that seemed perfect. + Read More