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Travel & Adventure

Once upon a time in Rome

By Clayton

February 25, 2016
Before I begin let me start by saying that during this entire 2016 Euro Trip, Rome has been my favorite city of them all. It’s just like in the movies, but just 100 times better. This place truly is magical and I definitely plan on returning and even stay longer.

This trip to Rome was also my first time taking another flight within Europe. Our chosen airline was Vueling, because it was quite cheap, and cheap is what we needed.

We had to be at the airport very early in the morning. These low budget airlines are no Surinam Airways or KLM. My gosh, I have never seen a flight attendant roll her eyes at a passenger. In her defense, the guy was acting like a spoiled brat. Complaining that the seats where too narrow. Lol, I am not talking about myself, but about this guy sitting next to me.

Farid, Ryan and I all had window seats, so we sat in a row behind each other. It was mid-winter so the plane wings had to be defrosted before we could leave the gate.

It was a short flight and soon we arrived in Rome’s international airport. Once we were standing outside it didn’t feel very “Roman”, but that’s because we weren’t in the city’s center. We took a bus and made our way downtown near the place where we were about to stay. Again, we found the room via AirBNB, which is the best option for traveling on a budget.

As soon as we unloaded our bags we decided to find something to eat, before exploring the city. We found this all –you-can-eat restaurant that was only 10 euros and the food was amazing and A LOT!! Seriously, I have never eaten this much in my entire life for only 10 euros. See why I wouldn’t mind returning to Rome?

After having filled our tummy’s we walk towards the ancient Colosseum. We only walked around it and didn’t actually go inside, but that was more than enough. Too be honest the Colosseum is quite photoshopped in pictures, because it looked quite rusty, but still great nonetheless – But just saying. We walked around the area and saw some more ancient ruins of the city.

The first quite impressive building we encountered was the Altare della Patria (English: Alter of the Father). Now this was very “Roman” and on top of the building you have a nice overview of the entire city.

After that city view we went downtown for some minor shopping, sight-seeing and be all tourist-y.
We went to all the must see places like The Pantheon and we went to see the pope in Vatican City. Okay, we didn’t actually see him, but we went to his “office” St. Peter’s Basilica and well that is one big office. I felt instantly small with the size of the building and the statues. But it all was so ethereal and majestic – which is exactly the point I think. I can see why this is one of the holiest places on earth.

As a major Dan Brown fan I once again was fanning out, just like in Paris, by all the places I have read in his book Angels & Demons right in front of me. I felt like I was on some sort of quest.

After visiting Vatican City we went to stroll around Rome some more. By then it was already starting to get dark, but that didn’t stop the people from being out and about. I must say Italians are B-E-A-uuuutiful people. Everyone looks like a runway model. I was totally staring at those fashion models, which were probably just regular people.

We went to the Trevi Fountain, and as tradition we tossed a coin in it.

Fun fact: do you know what the coin tossing actually is all about? No, it’s not for your wishes to come true, but to one day return to the city.

The rain soon poured like crazy and we took shelter in a tunnel. Once the rain stopped, we made our way to the apartment where just drank, ate some Italian snacks and we just went to bed. The next day it would be another early morning for us.

There was this brief moment when Farid stepped outside for a smoke and didn’t return for hours. Allegedly he was locked out, but we all know he probably was hooking up with some hot Italian. So the rest of us just went to sleep and eventually he came back home. This story will have an added value, in one of the other blog posts.

After the alarms went off the next morning, we showered and made our way to the airport again. Our flight to Barcelona was waiting for us. Viva la Barcelona.

Travel & Adventure

Copenhagen, Denmark

By Clayton

February 18, 2016
After we had a few days to recover from out Paris road trip it was time to pack our bags again and loads the car… this time it was time for the Scandinavian Road Trip, from Amsterdam, through German, to Denmark, to Sweden, Norway and then back again.

And this time Patrick and Raymil would join us, so the car packed!! Yay, ROAD TRIP!!!

We drove towards Hamburg, Germany and got greeted with big pack of snow.
I have seen snow before, but none of this magnitude. It was amazing. A total winter wonderland. Soon Ryan started having snowball fights with the other boys and I was just there taking in the view… and taking pictures.

In Fehmarn we took the ferry to cross the Baltic sea towards Denmark.

Once we were in Denmark we made our way to this house which we found via AirBNB.
The house had several rooms rented out to tourists like us.

After we unloaded our bags we went to explore the city of Copenhagen, had dinner and later that night returned back to the house. But to be honest, I was not that impressed by Copenhagen. Having said that, it’s still a nice city. No disrespect obviously.

The next morning we packed our bags and drove to see the famous “The Little Mermaid” statue. After that we all went back to the car, I rolled myself in a blanket and we made our way towards Sweden.

Travel & Adventure

From Paris back to NL

By Clayton

Date: February 15, 2016

Paris was fun and all, but unfortunately we had to go back. But this was only the beginning since we had 2 more trips to make, so it was all good. But I wasn’t about to leave Paris without saying hello to my friend Rachel that recently moved to Paris.

Rachel moved from the US to Paris and we met in 2011 in front of Paradiso in Amsterdam where I was about to see Epica live for the first time.

 

We’ve had contact since the day I drove to Paris, but due to a lack of reception and mobile data it was a bit hard to arrange a meeting. But luckily before we were about to leave the apartment she came over and it was so great seeing her again after all these years. Even if it was just a short visit.

After we said our goodbyes we went to the metro station, picked up the car and made our way back to Amsterdam.

Along the way, somewhere in near the border of France and Belgium we stopped at this beach, located in Escalles (France), which had the most beautiful scenery ever. The below pictures are unedited, because they didn’t need it. The light was great and so was the background. I really enjoyed this very small, but amazing beach. You will also see pictures from our second stop in Cap Blanc-Nez, another beautiful place in France.

After the beaches we stopped in Belgium where we had dinner and then finally arrived back in Amsterdam in the evening.

Road trip 1 – completed!

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Travel & Adventure

Road Trip to Paris

By Clayton

Date: February 12, 2016

On the early morning of February 12th, 2016, Farid, Ryan and I did a road trip in Farid’s VW Polo car to Paris. This was my very first time in Paris, so I was very excited. However it was very early though.

We drove from Amsterdam, via Rotterdam to Antwerp, Belgium.
We arrived just after sunrise in Antwerp. We decided to explore the city a bit and go grab some breakfast.

Antwerp
First thing we visited was the Antwerp train station. That building is ginormous and gorgeous. We had coffee near the Antwerp Cathedral and walked around the shopping area.

Brussels
After Antwerp we drove to Brussels see the Atomium. Another ginormous construction.

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