Ah I just landed in Europe and I am beyond excited! I left yesterday afternoon and woke up in The Netherlands (note for Instagram I am going use the hashtag #bridoesholland instead of #bridoesthenetherlands because that’s too long!) Oh and for Instagram I always tag my location, usually the state, country, or town depending on how big it is so you can search and find photos relevant to that area! One of my travel/girl crushes Lauren Wells tags her locations like that and it makes it so easy to search!
For those of who who don’t know I am on a solo trip around Europe! Eeek! I am just SO excited. I am visiting the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany! In terms for Europe, I have been to Germany, Italy, Greece, Spain, and France. I always try to add a new country when I visit although I always visit Germany because we have family there! So yes, solo but I will spend some time with family, so semi-solo!
I went to Hawaii in April for my actual 30th birthday. But as I sat there and saw all my friend’s travels, whether of the past or present, I felt down because it’s been 12 years, gosh crazy when I say it out loud! Although it’s been 12 years since I’ve visited Europe, I have moved 6 times in my 20s, and made it a point to visit a new place at least once a year!
Where: Haarlem (Heemstede actually)
When: September 2019
I decided to stay in Haarlem (it was actually Heemsteed) but very close to Haarlem vs Amsterdam because I’m not a huge fan of big cities. The Airbnb I am staying at is only a 5 minute walk from the train station and Amsterdam is only 20 minutes by train. Plus when I read about the hosts and their adorable dog I couldn’t help but stay! They offer bikes which is great because everyone bikes in The Netherlands. My hosts were amazing! I forgot to take pictures of the Airbnb because I was too excited but I would highly recommend them. I just had my own room but it did have a fridge and coffee machine. I mostly left them to their lives but did go down for breakfast one morning because another guest did.
I ended up walking down to Haarlem the first day because I was ready to be off the plane and excited to explore. I just sort of wandered and took pictures. I ended up at the hotel, I believe, for a delicious sandwich type thing.
Of the things I remember, I loved walking the old streets. Every part of this town is picturesque. EVERYONE bikes which is amazing! And the people are VERY friendly. The first day I went to a random bar for a drink and the bartender gave me a list of things to do. He told me he would take me himself to a fun spot on Sunday if he wasn’t working. Honestly, for the rest of the trip, no one was as kind to me as the people there. It was extremely safe to walk around. I met another American who was part of a group of American women living abroad. They invited me to a movie (I declined because it was late) and the lady gave me her phone number in case I had problems.
I ended up falling off a curb in front of the brewery - AWKWARD. It was in front of the brewery owner. She laughed and said she could give me a copy of me falling if I wanted. I was looking at the buildings and wasn’t paying attention to where I was going. Cobblestone is hard. Everyone there spoke English, which is great, and I had a nice conversation with a man who worked at the Brewery. He even gave me a ride home because I was going to walk home and it was a 45 minute walk. I don’t think my trip could have started out better. I fell in love with the Netherlands! I made the most amount of friends on this first day and was sad I didn’t make many more after that.
I am adding Zanvoort on here because it’s close and because I didn’t spend much time here to take too many pictures. One night I got home around 5pm and my hosts suggested I take the bike down to the beach. So I did. It was a little scary because the bike wasn’t great and I didn’t know all the rules or the exact direction. After a few minutes I got it down. It was too hard. I had to stop a few times to make sure I was going the right way because I had a specific place in mind for dinner - Ubuntu Strandbar. The host recommended and I LOVED it. I had amazing food with amazing views for a decent price. The Netherlands was one of the cheapest places I visited for the food. I wished it was nicer and not raining the rest of my days because I actually loved the beach.
PS this travel “guide” isn’t going to be the best because I was really bad at writing down where I went, what I ate, etc. Honestly it was a lot, the names aren’t in English, and I didn’t have the best phone. I kind of just wandered in and out of places, making sure quickly they had good reviews on Google. I didn’t have a timeline or an itinerary and it’s the most relaxed I’ve ever been on a trip. I am trying to post as much as I can immediately after but 3 weeks of travel, it’s hard to remember it all! If you have questions, ask!