Smelling the Tulips

The list of countries I visited during my trip reached 20 after my Grandma and I made our stops in Copenhagen and Amsterdam. I’ve always been a huge lover of fresh air and nice weather to accompany it, and both of these cities boast those qualities. As spring has kicked in to full gear, we were able to see all of the blooming plants and listen to the birds chirping each day. Denmark and the Netherlands were the perfect places to visit this time of year.

We landed in Copenhagen in the evening after a long day of train travel to get to the airport. Our hotel was in a smaller suburb of the city, so the only restaurant near us was inside a bowling alley. It had a fancy table setting with a window view of the lanes behind us. That dinner was a nice start to our time in Denmark. We booked our spot on a Hop-On-Hop-Off bus for the next day and saw so many of the city’s most famous sights.

With water flowing throughout the city, brightly painted buildings line the canals, creating a vivid portrait of busy lifestyles. Copenhagen was very crowded with tourists as it was a beautiful weekend to explore — and the world ice hockey championships were there as well. These factors caused the streets to fill with excited people, both tourists and fans alike. We enjoyed some sweet treats by one of many harbors, and next to the famous Little Mermaid statue.

The next day we kept ourselves busy by walking through Copenhagen’s stunning botanical gardens, one of the most peaceful, green spaces I had seen in awhile. We took a short tour of the Carlsberg area, where the well-known brewery lies. After finishing our day up with some shopping and great food, we prepared to head to Amsterdam the next afternoon.

After killing several hours in the airport, we finally landed in Amsterdam. The first thing I noticed was the number of bicycles lining the roads. Amsterdam is known to have so many bikers, but seeing it in person really makes a difference! It seems as though everyone is either riding or walking to get from place to place. As you can guess, everyone seems pretty healthy as well. We walked along the streets with historical buildings and tall homes towering over us.

Each year, Holland brings in thousands of visitors to the Keukenhof gardens, where bright tulips are planted and paint the area. Every color was represented in flower form, and not one had even a single flaw. My grandma and I could have wandered forever in the gardens, just admiring the design and beauty. Visiting Keukenhof was one of the main reasons we planned our trip to Amsterdam when we did, and it definitely did not disappoint.

We visited the more traditional areas of Holland on another day, where windmills are still being used for production. We went inside a windmill that was designed to saw wood, which was then sent all over the world. The countryside of Holland is so breathtaking as well; green fields go on for miles and small rivers are scattered throughout. We also had the chance to visit the small village of Volendam and get an inside look at a clog factory and a cheese factory. Our day ended with the local cuisine of kibbeling fish and chips before we went back to Amsterdam.

On my grandma’s last full day in Europe, we took a day trip to the incredible city of Bruges, Belgium. I had been there earlier in my trip and was so happy to visit again. Bruges is a such a quaint city, with loads of nice views and chocolate shops. It was much busier than when I had been there in February, but the weather was great and we were able to get a glimpse at all the main sights.

I loved getting to spend all of this time with my grandma, and I still can’t believe I’m on the final few weeks of my trip. I’m now in the United Kingdom for the remaining time until I fly home. As much as I’ve absolutely enjoyed Europe, I’m also ready to be home to give my family and friends a big hug. 18 days!

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