We flew to Amsterdam first to visit my sister and her family in Holland. My mom and my sister’s boyfriend Joost met us at the airport and we took the train and then the tram to their beautifully renovated flat in Rotterdam. Like most houses in Holland, the flat has 3 levels with stairs leading to each level. We got the top floor and slept in the study for our stay. My jet lag is usually pretty bad traveling to Europe, and this trip was no exception! On top of that, I didn’t sleep a minute on the ten-hour flight- instead I watched three Harry Potter movies in succession. I read the books ages ago, and have been revisiting the books on Audible. The narrator is absolutely fantastic, and I have thoroughly enjoyed listening to several of the books while driving to work. When I first started listening to books, it wasn’t that great. I would zone out pretty quickly. But if I am in the car, it seems to work for me. I still prefer reading “real” books vs reading on my phone or on a Kindle, but it is pretty cool to be able to “read” in the car.
One day we went to Amsterdam with my mom. We went to the Rijksmuseum, which is the largest art museum in Amsterdam. It is in a beautiful building. For all the museums we went to on this trip, I highly recommend buying tickets online to avoid standing in line. Museum lines are long! And we travelled off-season- I can’t imagine what it is like in the summer!
Another special experience was our visit to a restaurant called Heroine in Rotterdam. According to my sister, it is one of the most popular new restaurants. It features three menu options: 4, 5 or 7 courses. I don’t think I could recreate any of the dishes or even describe the flavors. It was very different dining experience! Also, each dish was served by the chef who made it and the ingredients were explained to us in both Dutch and English.
Our next stop was Florence. We had booked a cute AirBnb by the Ponte Vecchio bridge. This bridge is also nicknamed the Golden Bridge, as it is lined with jewelry shops. We wandered the streets, had pizza and gelato, visited Michelangelo’s David, explored the Uffizi Museum and the Boboli Gardens. Florence was smaller than I thought, and made bigger because of all the incredible art and beautiful buildings.
From Florence we took the train to Venice. When I walked out of the Train Station the sun was warm and bright in the sky. Standing on top of the stairs there, you see the Grand Canal right in front of you with the palaces lining the water. It was gorgeous! When the sun hits the pale-colored palaces and the hues glitters onto the surface of the water, Venice is a sigh to behold. I loved my time in Venice. If you love to walk, this is your paradise. Our hotel was very close to St Mark’s Square, and I think the Basilica is one of the most richly decorated buildings I’ve ever seen. Its interior is entirely mosaic. You have to see for yourself.
I’m very pleased we decided to visit Venice in the Winter. It wasn’t crowded until Carneval started a few days after our arrival. I can only imagine how crowded the streets become in the height of the season! We had great weather- perhaps a little chilly but on the whole we didn’t have even one rainy day.
We finished our trip in Verona, and by this time, my museum quota was entirely filled up. I got a massage, read, visited the indoor pool and napped. It was a sweet ending to our trip.
Thank you to all of you who helped us make this trip possible! This trip was a dream come true, and we made memories for life!