Last month I did a blog on my trip to Iceland, this is part two of that blog. While covering Event Photography would be my prime work, traveling and capturing nature, buildings, etc etc, is the palette cleansing topic I adhere for. During July 2017, I embarked on a once in a lifetime journey that would take me to Iceland, Amsterdam, Normandy, Paris, Ibiza, Brussels, Bruges, and ending in London. Every location had its pros and cons, but the goal in traveling is to embrace other cultures and keep an open mind. The food, languages, financial system, and people, are all items to respect when being a tourist. The only gear I brought on this vacation was my Canon 5D3 and my 16-35mm F2.8 V2 lens. With my camera in hand, here is how that trip played out.
Picking up from last month’s blog, I covered the itinerary for Iceland. Without going into more details, here is a Google Map for the one-day trip I did called the Golden Circle. This will take one day and is worth the time. I first started at Silfra Fissure, and did the first morning snorkeling tour with a company called Artic Adventures at 9am. When you arrive, you get suited, then briefed, then you enter the water. The whole process takes 2-3 hours. Make sure you use the bathroom before you get suited. The snorkeling was a definite highlight of my entire trip. Afterwards, I went to Strokkur Geysir. This is a huge tourist attraction, so be prepared for that. Afterwards, right down the street (relatively speaking) is Gulfoss Falls. It is another tourist trap, but the falls are incredible and amazing to witness. Finally, I trekked back and drove to Grimsnes crater. This thing was HUGE. All in all, the driving and site seeing and snorkeling experience is something you must experience yourself to appreciate its beauty. Here is the MAP for the one-day adventure.
Next on the journey was Amsterdam. You always hear of people speaking about their experiences here, and Amsterdam did not disappoint. My hotel was about a 15-20-minute train/bicycle ride away from city center, which is the prime area to site see. Amsterdam was amazing. The food was amazing, the bicycle friendly roads were great, and the people were cool. One thing to note about Amsterdam is that they are a very cash based economy. I found it difficult to use my credit card in most places I went to. So be sure to carry 2-300 euro if you plan on touring the streets. If you plan on going to the Anne Frank house, buy your tickets online months in advance. Pretty much if you want to do any type of tour anywhere in Europe, buy your tickets online in advance, you will be glad you did, trust me. To conclude on Amsterdam, the two best places I visited were Amstel Park and a music festival called Outdoor Extrema. Amstel Park is massive and provides a little bit of everything for everyone. They had art installations, mini golf course, a pet friendly farm, snack bars, ice cream shops, and many more. I had never seen a park offer so much to do and see. Getting to Outdoor Extrema required driving an hour and a half South East through Amsterdam, and man it was gorgeous. The festival was great with a solid DJ line up and great vibes all around.
After Amsterdam, I headed to Normandy which is the northern part of France. I visited Mont Saint Michelle a second time which is always a breathtaking place to visit. It’s basically a massive castle surrounded by water. After visiting Rouen, France, I headed into Paris and went to the top of Notre Dame. After Notre Dame, I headed to Palace of Versailles. If you have never been, I recommend arriving early in your day, maybe even first thing, the property is massive and I suggest renting the golf cart, it’s worth the money to save your legs from exhaustion. After the few days in France, it was time to go to Ibiza. Ibiza was a much warmer climate but worth the trip. I stayed near the partyville area, but off the beaten path so it was much quieter. I checked out multiple cities via the scooter I rented which was perhaps the best thing I could have done. I checked out the pool parties at Ushuaia and Hi Ibiza. These locations were fantastic, it was truly amazing to party at night and relax at the beach by day. After Ibiza it was time to go to Belgium for Tomorrowland.
Tomorrowland is perhaps the worlds largest music festival. To give you an example, within 3 days, I walked about 40 miles. The sheer magnitude of this music festival is astonishing, and it’s well equipped to handle that many people. The festival was great, after spending 5 days in Brussels, I headed to Bruges. Bruges was more of a vacation spot for tourists and it’s very easy to get around by train and walking. The site seeing here and canal tour was a good experience and highly recommended. I purchased the 20-euro museum pass and got to see multiple places for much less than paying at each location. After Bruges, it was time to end in London.
I took the channel from Brussels to London, it wasn’t as scary as you might think. Arriving in London, the hotel I stayed at was across the street from Westminster Abbey. It was off the tourist area so it was very quiet and comfortable and easy to walk to Big Ben and the subway. Getting around was a breeze. There was one instance where 7 men were following me into the subway, and instead of making any mistakes, I immediately made a B line for the stairs and went back up to street level and took a cab to my destination. This was the only instance the entire trip where something could have gone horribly wrong, but using common sense, I made the right decision. Always be alert of your surroundings, don’t constantly look at your phone or map, you will become an easy target. The 3 days in London were awesome. I ate at some of the best places in town, Flat Iron being one of them. It was an hour and a half wait, and well worth it. Another great restaurant was Burger and Lobster. Burger and Lobster had a great atmosphere and the food was delicious and a must to check out. I attended a boat party with the legendary Matt Darey for his album launch party on the River Thames. The party was fun and the after party at Last Days of Shoreditch was even more fun with hilarious stories and antics shared across tables with guests traveling from USA, India, Scotland and more.
The one month of traveling is something I wish everyone could do, just so they could see what else is out there. This Earth is truly magnificent. If you have any questions or comments, please drop them below. Until next month, cheers!