vacation

Adventure Time: London, UK

5 best things about London, Logan’s list:

A few months back, Shannon and I visited Manchester, England. We had an awesome time. The food was great, and everyone thought we spoke with a funny accent. After a weekend there, we knew we had to dedicate another visit to the British Isles so we could see as much of the English capital as possible.

Overall we LOVED London…. the list could go on for a while, but here are my top 5 reasons why.

1. They speak English!

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Yeah, super obvious, but one thing that traveling and living in a foreign country teaches you is that language is really important. It connects you and your people, and you can instantly identify foreigners. While Shannon and I certainly don’t have a nice English cockney, English is more or less English. If you need to complain or ask for directions, you can easily do this in London, even if it involves using your dope American accent. Basically, it’s just comforting understanding everything.

2. Pubs, Pubs, Pubs!

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English pubs, and the accompanying pub grub, is by far one of the greats parts of any English city, and in London there certainly isn´t any shortage of quaint, picturesque pubs. I mean seriously, EVERY pub looks super cool. Imagine the coolest pub style bar you have ever seen in America and that is like ALL the pubs in London. Shannon and I spend a large amount of our time in London getting pints and sampling the eats. Like we´ve said over and over, the beer in Spain is boring and the variety offered in London is highly appreciated. We also tried our fair share of burgers, meat pies, and local classics.

3. The British Museum

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This place was up there on my list of places to visit, and it soared to the top after learning it’s a totally free museum. We only spent a few hours there, aka not nearly enough time to see everything, but what we did see was really cool. Our main goal was to visit the Rosetta stone (the stone that helped linguists understand Egyptian hieroglyphics) and the Egypt collection. There truly is a ton to see, and Shannon even told me they only display like 1 percent of everything they have. This one is a must for a first trip to London.

4. The sites

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We really only had part of the weekend to spend in London, so Shannon and I took advantage of the time by seeing as many different touristy sites as possible. My favorite by far was Big Ben and the accompanying Westminster Palace. We decided to see this place on Saturday morning, and it as a great way to kick off the weekend. It’s the classic London tourist site, and there are even some nearby red telephone booths so you can snap your classic American in London shot.

5. The Borough Market

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Saving the best for last. The Borough Market in London was by far our favorite place. It is the perfect combination of a standard farmers market (fresh produce, meats, and cheese) and restaurant stands (prepared food, sandwiches, drinks etc.) The place was PACKED with people because it was Saturday and it wasn’t unbearably cold. I think we visited almost every little booth and tried the prepared food at like five separate ones. All the food was AMAZING and it gives you the opportunity to try different local foods without the huge restaurant bill. Essentially, you get to spend the afternoon outside eating and drinking. What is better than that?

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Adventure Time: Venice, Italy

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Stop #2 on our Semana Santa vacay was the beautiful island-like city of Venice! We arrived to Venice by train, and we were instantly greeted by one of the city’s beautiful canals. We then instantly realized we had forgotten to look up directions to our hotel before we got there, this is of course a problem when your phones don’t work… While Logan and I usually stay at AirBNBs when we travel, there weren’t any in Venice so we stayed at a moderately-priced hotel (woo hoo big spenders. Luckily it was pretty centrally located so we were able to ask a nice lady at the train station for directions (the old fashioned way). Our hotel was also super close to this Basilica.

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So the thing I liked about Venice is that there really isn’t a huge array of globally renown monuments and historical landmarks that you HAVE to see. This aspect makes Venice the perfect city to simply wander around and take in the narrow streets (there are no cars, only boats), the winding canals, and the numerous colored houses. This is exactly what we did.

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We were only in Venice for a little over 24 hours, but honestly that’s all the time you need there. We did see some of Venice’s more popular tourist attractions like Saint Mark’s Basilica, Rialto Bridge, and the Grand Canal.

5 Things I absolutely loved about Venice:

  1. Gelato is everywhere and super cheap (I’m talking 2 euro status)
  2. There were 1 billion adorable dogs (lots of muts)
  3. There is a lunch special similar to the Spanish Menu Del Dia
  4. The gondoliers really all wear striped shirts and straw hats
  5. The canals and scenery in general is TDF (translation for mom: to die for)

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3 Things about Venice I thought were weird/annoying

  1. The winding streets often end in a dead end
  2. There are like 3 places on the whole island where you can cross over the grand canal
  3. Everything seems a bit touristy (like does anyone actually live in Venice…?)

Stay tuned for the next stop on our Semana Santa vacation: Barcelona.

Adventure Time: Amsterdam, Netherlands

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Hello all! Its time for part two of our Christmas break vacation. If you haven’t read it yet, check out Shannon’s post about Cologne, Germany.

Shannon was by far the most excited about the Christmas Markets of Germany, but I was looking forward to going to Amsterdam the most. We didn’t have a ton of specific places to visit for this city, so we spent a lot of our time exploring and wandering the many canals of Amsterdam.

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On our first day our only real priority was seeing the Anne Frank house (this is the canal outside the Frank museum). There is an entire museum now that takes you through Otto’s old warehouse where he ran his business and the secret annex where the Franks spent their time in hiding. I read the diary when I was in middle school, so it was really cool to see the actual diary and to be in the building where Anne wrote it. All of the furniture that used to be there is gone, but you can still see the swinging bookcase that was used to hide the secret entrance and the pictures Anne glued to her wall as decoration. Overall the museum was super interesting and worth every minute we had to wait in line. (P.S. you aren’t allowed to take pics).

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After the Anne Frank house, we walked to a quaint little dutch cafe with a view of one of the many canals for lunch. Luckily EVERYONE in Amsterdam speaks nearly perfect English, so ordering food or asking questions was never a problem. We just walked in to places and ordered in English as if it were the US. When we finished eating, we spent the rest of the afternoon walking around the city and wandering into stores and tourist shops.

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During our wanderings, we stumbled across this little stroopwafel shop. Stroopwafels are very thin waffles filled with a caramel sauce. This place was especially delicious because they made the waffles to order right in front of you so they were nice and warm.

 

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Later on in the evening we went out for dinner at a cool little Dutch pub and then checked out one of Amsterdam’s finest museums: the Sex Museum. In reality it was a super cheesy museum that looks like something out of a bad 80’s movie. You could say it wasn’t what we expected. We then ended the evening by walking through the Red Light District. Although it seems like it would be a shady place, the Red Light District is actually full of tourists and feels very mainstream. It’s another place where we weren’t allowed to take pictures, we even saw a lady of the night throw water on a tourist who took her pic.

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Our last half day in the city before our flight was pretty uneventful because it was Christmas Day. Most of the shops and restaurants were closed, so there wasn’t much to do except walk around and see more of the city.

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