I just had a pretty great weekend! Friday in Central seeing the beautiful Wallace Collection and Notting Hill + Saturday in Amsterdam + Sunday in Zaanse Shans and Bruges = awesome!
Friday was a day full of “lovely.” I found myself thinking “oh, that’s lovely” pretty much every five seconds. It started off with me getting lost looking for the Wallace Collection, but after that, it went pretty well. The Wallace Collection was more than I could have imagined. I’m not a major art lover, but I really appreciated the beauty of this art collection. It was a house, not only filled famous paintings and sculptures, but also with beautiful furniture, wall coverings, carpets, and staircases. I really enjoyed the field trip. Tip: To anyone visiting London, whether an art lover or not, I would recommend visiting the Wallace Collection (near Oxford Street) FOR FREE!
After the tour of the collection was over, I went to a nearby coffee shop with a few new friends in my art history class. That was nice – just hanging out with some locals my age. Then, after our nice chat, I took the tube to Notting Hill Gate to see Notting Hill. I loved the movie, so I couldn’t help but want to have a look around, especially since Portobello Road is there and I remember it being talked about in one of my favorite Disney movies – Bedknobs and Broomsticks. While I was there, I found a shop in which everything was 5 pounds! I also walked up and down Portobello Road and through the Portobello Market – lots of antiques, souvenirs, furniture, clothes, fruits & vegetables, etc. Everything was so lovely.
After my fun in London, I pretty much went straight to Amsterdam with Eric. We left London around 8 p.m. and got to Amsterdam around 8 a.m. Saturday morning. I was pleasantly surprised with Amsterdam. I was nervous that it would be run down and the main foci would be on sex and drugs. However, that was not the case. It was actually the cleanest, least smelly city I’ve been to so far in Europe. It also had a lot of history I didn’t know about and more than 50 museums to showcase all of its history! On top of that, it was very pretty. We started the visit off with a tour of the city, then were given some free time to see and do whatever we wanted. We were also given an evening tour of the Red Light District. Tip: Meals are relatively expensive in Amsterdam. A way to get a decent meal at a decent price would be to go to Wok to Walk – yummy Chinese for less than 10 Euros!
Sunday morning, we got up bright and early for our tour of Zaanse Schans, Netherlands – a nearby town with windmills, clogs, and cheese! We watched a free clog-making demonstration and a cheese information demonstration (about how the cheese is made, how long it keeps, etc.), then had free time to wander around the small village. After that, we travelled to Bruges, Belgium. We didn’t have too much time to see the town, but that was kind of nice. We were given just enough time to take pictures and get some dinner, Belgian chocolates, and Belgian waffles. Yum!
Around 6 p.m., we left Belgium and travelled back to the U.K. I’m really going to be missing home this Thursday, because I’ll be missing out on Thanksgiving with the family. But, I still get to enjoy another 4 weeks here. During that time, I’ll be working on my final assignments for the semester, seeing a European football game, and going to Paris for a weekend. I’ll also be turning 21! Woo-hoo!