Croissants, chocolate and cheese..

It was December and so I boarded the Eurostar from St Pancras bound for Paris . It was so simple, a simple show of the passport, sit down in your seat and you were off to another country, via train, underwater.

As my mate had been to Paris before, I went off and did the free-walking tour while I waited for her to arrive (she was coming by plane from Edinburgh). The Sandeman’s free walking tour was great and went past a few of the major sites, Notre Dame, down Champs-Elysees with the Arc De Triomphe in the distance, past the various museums and through the arch at the Louvre. This was a perfect way to get my bearings around the city and learn some history all for free (funding based on tip at the end).

Ahh the Eiffel Tower..
Ahh the Eiffel Tower..

Our days in Paris were jam-packed, going inside the sights and trying the delicious French cuisine – including snails!! I could not tell you have many boulangeries we went into and how many croissants I inhaled (no wonder I put on weight!). Worked off by climbing to the top of the Notre Dame, Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower all in one day!

The very 'Parisian' streets of the Montmarte area..
The very ‘Parisian’ streets of the Montmarte area..

Have to say that taking a picnic to the Sacre Coeur, in the cool and hipster Montmartre area, and eating whilst overlooking the whole city of Paris is delightful. It helped that there were Christmas markets at every turn we took so food delights were a plenty.

After scoffing ourselves silly with pastries, we caught a train to Brussels for just a couple of days – that was plenty. We stuffed ourselves on Belgian fries (the birthplace of fries and they do not disappoint), Belgian waffles, Belgian chocolate and Belgian beers all in one day. Wow we were full. After giving ice-skating a try and having some fun, we needed a siesta nap!

Only a small part of the impressive Grand Place/Grote Markt..
Only a small part of the impressive Grand Place/Grote Markt..

Next up on our mini Euro trip was the last few nights in Amsterdam where we stayed opposite to the Vondelpark. Again, a free walking tour here is a must. They give you some cool facts and interesting history.

Walking the streets and along the beautiful canals are entertaining especially at night in the Red Light District – the streets come alive with a hype of activity.

As is well-known in Amsterdam, weed is everywhere. From little coffee shops you can sit down inside to the hostels supplying all you need, the only place you can’t smoke is in public on the streets.

Spot the tourist..!
Spot the tourist..!

All I am going to say about the ‘magic mushrooms’ was that we got ‘stuck in a park’ – good fun.

Riding bikes is another big thing in Amsterdam, despite almost getting hit by numerous bike riders as they zoom around in their bike lanes, it is a great way to get around the city and we even went on a bike tour to cover some extra distance.

After two weeks, it was homebound spending just one night back in London before heading back into Europe, this time by bus, a very long bus..

**a tip before travelling or whilst you are in London is to get to STA Travel and get yourself a ‘youth card’. This will get you ‘student’ rates for majority of entrance fees – well worth it!!

The stunning canals of Amsterdam
The stunning canals of Amsterdam

 

Some fun facts and info about France can be found here.

Some fun facts and info about Belgium can be found here.

Some fun facts and info about the Netherlands can be found here.

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