Until this trip with Lauren Berndt (LB from here on out), I hadn’t been to Amsterdam since 2017. Even that was just a few nights of one hell of a European Trip. Paris was one of those cities that I never really thought I would see. It always kind of gave a overly-tourist vibe to me, so it was always written off my planning.
So, how did a forever-visit and never-visit city get combined into the same trip?
The first time I went to Amsterdam was in 2017. With The Gang Goes To Europe, we were catching it at the tail end of a whirlwind. This was going to be completed dedicated (minus 24 hours) to the greatest, most beautiful city in the world. And, we were going to do it the way designers do—coffee shops, tiny art museums, and wine bars.
This trip also opened with a 6 hour delay in arrival time. That was thanks mostly in part to the wonderful mess that flying in Europe has been, post-COVID. I had planned to spend the day with another friend, Zine, who I met during my The Gang Gets Conquered trip! We had both been in Sintra, on the back of a Jeep, when a rear wheel literally fell off and rolled away. Rather than hike or wander, a few of us got day drunk on Portuguese reds, and stayed in close touch for a while after. Fast forward back to this trip, and we really only had time to grab some food and wander for a few hours. But, that would end up being the only real bummer of the week.
The rest was visiting places Laurent Berndy and I remembered from previous trip(s), or wandering into anything even remotely interesting, Quite a few brunch hours too, I suppose. I was able to see my first ever Banksy pieces, and take my first boating through the canals. One night we even ran into a distant-ish cousin of mine, since of course we did. He toured us around and we all split a bottle of cava, before splitting up and going into our additional nightly plans.
LB had pointed out that Paris, France, was only a mere 3 hour train ride from Amsterdam. Neither of us opposed adding a new country to our belt, and also seeing one of the most famous cities in the world. To be honest, low expectations going in. And I was completely wrong. It’s one of the most famous cities on the globe for a reason.
Every street from the train station to the Airbnb felt like a movie set about Paris, if that makes sense. The colors somehow all worked together, everyone either smoking or sitting at a café table (usually both), flowers, artist, busy streets, empty streets—I could just name all the things you’d expect. And you’d be right. Even expecting to hate the clichés…I couldn’t. Annoying, I agee.
The Eiffel Tower Walk
Naturally, we had to see it. And it will forever be one of the more memorable things I think I’ll do. Walking from a tiny French apartment for about a mile down all sorts of roads, each with a wine bottle in hand, catching it just as the sun is down, watching the first light show at 9pm while cheersing ourselves on being kings of the world, only to wander back and sit at a café in a light drizzle. I think the café was even Café des Arts, because, of course it was.