Tomorrow I am off to London for a long weekend. It’s been a few years since I was there, and off the top of my head I can remember being there at least seventeen times. I have been there more times than anywhere else, but every time I go it is like I am starting all over again.
It’s a big and busy city, spread out and full of people and neighborhoods. It seems that when I go home after having visited, I forget everything I learned- every place that I went to eat or drink, every museum visited, every convenient tube station, every cool neighborhood that I stumbled upon. I still don’t have the feeling that I know London.
So this trip, which could very well be trip number eighteen if not nineteen or twenty, will be like my very first time, because I don’t remember much of the last times. I’m not sure how this happens. London is just too large and unwieldy to fit into my brain storage space, along with my husband’s birthday and names of most songs and bands.
So you know that trip to Edinburgh I took over a month ago? Well I just got around to looking at the photos….you’d think that, because I hadn’t seen my parents in months and months, I would have taken lots of photos of my parents and the fun we were having.
I took photos of me with small things.
Here we go!
And then I went to the Museum of Childhood and found a whole floor- A WHOLE FLOOR- of dollhouse things! After I keeled over and DIED, I stood back up again and started pointing….
And then in the next cabinet I found something not so cute, yet still tiny….
Bitty Butcher Shop.
And then I went for a coffee and found quite the opposite of small. The biggest mother-effin cup I’ve ever had a soy latte in.
Big Bucket of Coffee. Like Whoa Man.
And after this coffee things got a little blurry as I dinged from one end of Edinburgh to the next, hyped up on caffeine overdrive, chattering a mile a minute. I think in the end I was restrained with a leash. And I’m not sure, but maybe a muzzle too.
In other news, my little cousin was just here for the weekend from Paris where he is spending a semester abroad. At least….I think he was here. That might have been him sleeping on my couch when I peeked out in the living room at 5 am, but I guess I can’t be sure.
I remember my first trip to Amsterdam when I was nineteen (his age now in fact), and from the look of his trip, it went pretty much the same- stumbling around in a stupefied daze, enjoying just being here and enjoying all of the oddities that Amsterdam has to offer.
Who am I to intrude on that experience? I’ll make him spend time with his older boring cousin on his next trip here.
And one last thing, now that I’m blogging and I have no idea when the next post will come.
And then just like that, life picks you up and steals away with you at a running pace.
Where to even begin?
This month I have been either a) lucky enough, or b) stoopid enough to book myself in for three different trips abroad. Ireland and Milan have come and gone, and in two days I leave for Edinburgh to spend some quality time with my parents who are there for a few weeks.
This fills me with much anticipation and joy.
I know I’m not the only one afflicted with a wicked case of Insectis Travellitis, but this year it seems to have hit me pretty hard. I wrote up a list of places I want to hit this year and it was a staggering 19 places! That is 19 different trips in 12 little months. The dogsitting costs alone would kill me.
Suffice to say, two trips are down, one looms on this week’s horizon, and several have been cancelled due to various reasons (for instance…it’s maybe not the best time to drop in and say hi to Egypt. “What up EGYPT! Holla atcha girl!“).
But still, there are about eight more destinations in which I definitely and seriously intend to plant my feet this year, mostly weekend trips around Europe. We’ll see what my boss says about that.
Oh, and my bank account!
Moving on the the point of this blog post: my trip to Milan.
Angela and I spent a quick weekend away there and I have to say, Milan pretty much made me love it. I tried not to, I really did. But a scant few hours after uttering the haughty line, “You know, Milan isn’t really a city you fall in love with, is it?” I found myself on a rooftop terrace, tipsy on lunch-time wine and watching the sun set over the incredibly impressive Duomo, thinking “Well damn.”
Rooftop Sunset Lunch next to Duomo (photo by Angela's Hipstomatic)
I guess I done up and fell in love with Milan.
For a play-by-play account of what we got up to (and what you should see if you’re going) go read Angela’s post on her blog. Her photos are stunning and she has graciously let me borrow a few for this post. How’s that for a true friend?
A vegan and a celiac go to Milan. SO WHO EATS THE COOKIES?!?! (photo by Angela)
I'm a leetle tea-pot! (Photo by Angela)
"Nothing comes between me and my gelato. NOTHING!" She really said that, and then growled at me.
Ain't gonna lie. We did a lot of this the first night...
...until we got a bit blurry....
On top of Duomo (a serious climb) (photo by Angela. Oh hell, just assume she took all of these.)
Not what I ordered. Not it at all. How do you say "Take this foul thing away" in Italian?
Stretch me as much as you like, I'll never be as tall as this 700 year old piece of amazingness.
Bee-yoo-tee-ful architecture. No one does it like the Eye-talians.
Angela was too decent to do this in front of the castle, but I ain't too proud to jump.
Speaks for itself. If it doesn't Angela won't mind speaking for it....for real, that girl can talk for 36 hours STRAIGHT! I was counting!
Fun Girly Weekend Away! Highly Recommended as a Girly Trip Destination by the 2 of us.
So, I think that’s enough photos of me to whet your whistle. You can thank Ange for those, she sufficiently fed into my narcissism due to lack of any other person to take a photo of. Thanks Ange! That’s what you get when you travel, party of two (and only one of whom has a good camera)!
I had a blast and it both inspired me and left me wanting more travel, more trips, more great time with friends.
And one last thing, because you knew it had to happen:
The best place to go on Boxing Day is into the pub, so into the pub we went.
Just after saying our hello’s (I used to work here) and ordering my cider, I saw that there was a family of Italians at the table across from us. With them was a little girl, maybe 5 years old, coloring on placemats.
At another nearby table was an English and Dutch couple, with a little 4 year old girl who started twirling in the middle of the floor.
After awhile, lured by the twirling, the little Italian girl made her way over to the Dutch girl, and tried to talk to her. The Dutch girl stopped twirling and looked confused, eyes darting over to her mother and father. When she got no response, the little Italian girl turned back to her family’s table, and in typical Italian style shurgged her shoulders at them.
“NON CAPISCE MAMA.” she said in her Italian-in-training loud voice. “She doesn’t understand!”
I struggled to keep my giggles hidden while watching all of this, enjoying every second of the interaction.
After some conferring with her family, the little Italian girl tried again. She walked over to the little Dutch-English girl.
“Hallo. What eees yooouuurrr neeeeeem?” she tried.
Still no response from the Dutch-English girl, who- being raised in the colder northern European climates- was simply not used to this kind of warmth from strangers. The little Italian girl, however, thrived on it.
Not so easily deterred, she tried to hold the little Dutch girl’s hand, but the little Dutch girl pulled away and ran to her mother’s side, burrowing her head in her lap. Well and truly defeated, the little Italian girl moved on to the English father and started prattling away to him in Italian, oblivious to the fact that he couldn’t understand her.
Just a little slice of micro-culture in the pub on Boxing Day. They may be mini-versions of Europeans, but the social interactions were pretty much spot-on.
Last weekend I went to my friend John’s workplace for after work drinks. This is a common thing in the Netherlands, called a borrel or a borreltje and is just one of the ways in which the NL is so great (three cheers for work-sponsored drinking!), and also one of the ways in which working from home isn’t so great. A one-woman borrel on a Friday night at home would be just…sad.
Anyway, John does fancy things at this fancy workplace (not sure how much he wants to divulge so I’ll leave you to stalk him on his own blog to find out the details) and at this fancy workplace they work with……SMALL THINGS (I know what you’re thinking: HEAVEN, right? Am I right??).
I was given the gift of a small thing from one of his fancy coworkers. This person didn’t know of my love for small things, but I’d have to say it is the quickest way to my heart for sure (after a home-cooked vegan meal of course).
Wee Weapons! Small swords! Bitty little Battle Axes!
There’s also one of me naked and drunk in front of the hotel room mini bar, pointing gleefully at a small bottles of Bailey’s and Jack Daniels, but they shall never see the light of the Internets. I know I am great at oversharing with you people, but some things must be kept sacred, no?