22 Jul 2014

Eurotrip // The Adventures Continue

Greetings! Today is my last day in Holland! Time flies when you're having a good great time. Yesterday Sophie and I wandered around Den Haag in the impending rain and got a delicious breakfast at Crunch. Afterwards we found ourselves a nice latte at a Coffee Company and both did some blogging. It has been so much fun travelling around with a fellow blogger. We got to "talk shop" and swapped blogging advice/photoshop tutorials. Taking photos with another blogger is always fun; you never feel judged and they are always down to try multiple poses and angles, I definitely recommend it.

Fellow bloggers or not, it has been amazing to spend some time with Sophie! We've been friends for almost ten years and she is simply delightful. She's a wonderful human and I am unfailingly impressed with her courage and tenacity, not to mention her wherewithal to figure out how to be a Canadian living on Dutch soil. We have had some excellent conversations over the course of my stay. Sometimes you just need to talk to people who have known you for a long time for things to click, and also to laugh at you. Sophalicious (I know you're reading this) you are fantastic! Thank you for an amazing time in the Netherlands, it will always have a special place in my heart now. Also you are an excellent tour guide. Next time: we conquer the bikes!

After we lurked around Den Haag coffee shops, we took a quick 10 minute train ride to spend the afternoon and evening in beautiful, medieval Delft. We visited the Oude Kerk (old church) and found a cozy patio to roost in for a few hours. Delft is super beautiful! It was rainy during our time there but instead of putting a damper (ha! pun!) on our time there, I think it enhanced it's medieval air of intrigue. Yes, you should absolutely go to Delft.

I have lots of photos from Delft + our day trip to Amsterdam and will share them soon. Today is a travel day: I'm packing up all my belongings from Sophie's living room and moving them to a hostel in Brussels! A huge thank you to Sophie and Pieter, her lovely super nice boyfriend, for letting me stay with them at their place and for touring me around/buying me deep fried cheese.

My sister, Zelda, arrives in Den Haag this afternoon and then she and I will take the train to Brussels for a few days of cherry beer, mussels and museums. I've stumbled across a few helpful posts such as this mini travel guide to Brussels and this one too, to help us plan our adventures. If you've been to Brussels I am all ears for suggestions!
Here's a super flattering photo of Zelda and I from 2011 when we visited in London with our dad...

RIP those sunglasses who now reside in the bottom of lake Ontario (not really RIP though)
Sadly I think that's our most recent photo together. She goes to school in Vancouver and when she's not there she is in Germany, so our paths don't cross in person that often. Thankfully there's Skype and Instagram and other magical wonders of social media. I'm excited to spend some time together, hopefully I won't embarrass her too much (I'm 6 years older!) and her cool European attitude will rub off on me. I'm totally forcing her into taking selfies with me. She'll love it. After Brussels I head to Paris for a few days of solo travelling aka eating macarons alone in the park and quite possibly nothing else...

and after that I meet up with my dad and we'll travel to Germany and Denmark! Having friends and family who live in Europe is like, way cool. Obvious statement is obvious. I hope you are all having a fantastic day! Feel free to follow along with my European adventures on Instagram and twitter.  See you in Brussels!

PS check out earlier travel adventures here

top photos by me 
cartoons from Hyperbole & a Half 

21 Jul 2014

Eurotrip // Leiden, The Netherlands

After an epic first day of walking around Den Haag and sampling the local beers, Sophie and I dragged our butts out of bed for a day trip to Leiden. 
Even though Leiden is only a short 10 minute train ride from Den Haag, it could be a completely different world. Compared to the "modern" spaciousness of Den Haag, Leiden is rustic and quaint. It is the definition of the word picturesque. The first ten steps from the train station lead you right to a bustling canal flanked by windmills. It doesn't get more Dutch than that. 
Leiden is known for being a student town. In fact, Sophie completed her masters in Leiden and lived there one year. Yet again she proved herself to be the perfect tour guide,  taking me down beautiful "secret" side streets and through small private garden squares with scenery that gave me goosebumps. 

It was hot on Saturday. By the time we made it off the train and out of the tourist trap area, both of us had sweat rivers running down our backs and legs. We made our way through the winding streets to the Saturday food market. The first street we hit smelled so deliciously of fresh strawberries that we had to stop and purchase two whole baskets. Then we made our way to a fish stand where we got Kibbeling, lightly battered deep fried fish with Ravigotte, a delicious sauce. It was 2.50 Euros for a small portion and well worth it. After finding a bench to enjoy our fish on, the heat got the best of us and we enjoyed a refreshing beverage (Heineken) at Annie's, a cafe on the water.  
We trekked up to De Burcht, a fort built in the 11th century (!!), saw the oldest public library in Holland, stopped by Rembrandt's birth place and visited the stunningly beautiful churches. Of course we also had fries with mayo (oh. my. god.) and got ice cream at Soetenso. Basically a perfect day. 
I hope you guys enjoy photos because here we go!

Fantastic day in Leiden! 10/10 would recommend. Thanks Sophie for being the best tour guide ever. 

20 Jul 2014

Eurotrip // Den Haag + The Beginning

Greetings from Den Haag! I'm writing to you from Sophie's breakfast table. Her lovely boyfriend Pieter has never had brunch before and we've taken it upon ourselves to right this obvious wrong. A perfectly good way to begin the third day of my European adventure, if you ask me. 
I arrived on Friday at 7am Netherlands time-that's 1 am Toronto time-and with Sophie's help, pushed through the jet lag and enjoyed a beautiful day of walking around Den Haag. Sophie is a fantastic tour guide! This city is incredibly beautiful. Everywhere you turn you see typical teeny tiny European streets stacked high with terraced apartments and low hanging lights, cobble stoned ground and people sitting on wicker chairs taking coffee. Den Haag is home to Dutch politics and is thus very beautiful and very clean. Sophie took me to see the Hofvijver and Binnenhof: beautiful parliament buildings build in the 13th century (whatever, not impressive), as well as the shopping district and Paleistuin, a park with a palace in it. Stunning, as usual. After a brief but very welcomed nap on my part, Sophie and I took a picnic out to The Woods, and ate our weight in cheese. Cheese here is absurdly cheap and so delicious. We also bought a favourite Dutch treat of mine, stroopwafels, but in mini form! I have already consumed two bags...

After our picnic dinner we sat out on "the square" on Friday night and I got to sample some of the finest local beer while Sophie indulged in some white wine to cool off. We may or may not have spent a fair amount of time scrolling through Tinder and giggling uncontrollably. Pieter came and met us after work and took us out for typical Dutch snacks like Kaassouffle which is, wait for it, deep fried cheese and Kroket, which is more deep fried deliciousness (I think typically meat, but we also had some vegetarian ones). Everything here is deep-fried. Sophie has been telling us this for years, but it takes a first hand experience (eating) to really believe it. Did I mention the deep fried cheese?

Yesterday Sophie and I braved the heat and our hangovers (it is absurdly hot here right now) and went to Leiden. I packed my trusty DSLR and took some wonderful photos which I will be sharing soon. It's actually not that bad travelling with computer and camera. We had ice cream and fries with mayo and perhaps a Heineken or two on the canal. After Leiden we made homemade pizza and then went to Scheveningen, or The Beach. We caught a fantastic sunset before it started to pour. Sadly we had to take cover in one of the many beachside restaurants and have a beer and krokets. Just awful.  
Literally everyone here speaks English. I find it totally fascinating. It makes me feel kind of silly that I only speak English (and some broken French). Sophie continues to claim that she is not fluent in Dutch but I know this is a lie. She also speaks fluent French. She's an inspiration to us all! 
Today, after brunch naturally, we are headed to Amsterdam! It's supposed to rain, which Sophie says will make the city even more beautiful. Whatever, not even excited. 

Well I hear bacon sizzling and that's my cue to go. Until next time my friends. Feel fee to follow along on Instagram for more trip photos! 

All photos shot on my iPhone 

PS I use VSCO Cam App to edit my iPhone photos + check out this post about better iPhone photography

19 Jul 2014

places we've been // New Zealand

While I'm traipsing around Europe I've invited some blog friends of mine to share the best places they've travelled in a series called Places We've Been. Check out all the stories here

Oh hi. It's me, Sydney. I thought I would kick this series off with one of my own travel adventures. Once upon a few years ago I was a a teenager who fell in love with a boy from New Zealand. He was sweet and charming and disarmingly honest. Obviously I followed him home. That's how I came to be living in New Zealand in 2008. It was absolutely fantastic! I could sit you down for hours and tell you all about the joys of Tim Tams, what's in the perfect trim flat white, or about how the whole city of Wellington is made up of hills and, the strange love of barbecue and breakfast foods possessed by all Kiwis, but I'll just give you the highlights accompanied by a few old photos that I ripped off my own Facebook profile. Can I get a heck yeah for 2008 technology?!

Where? Wellington, New Zealand

When? 2008

Favourite Part? Living on the ocean-I'd never done that before and it's pretty wonderful (oh, and I suppose sky diving on my 19th birthday was pretty alright too)

Tourists get asked... oh you're from Canada! So you, uh, smoke a lot of weed then? 

Eat a... Grilled Pineapple with Fish and Chips (fish and chups, for the true blues) + a meat pie!

Drink some... Wine! Best wine in the world. 

Go do/see/visit... Te Papa museum, the Wellington Public Library for it's architecture, Cuba street, the waterfront-any part of it, take a ride on the cable car, see an All Blacks game

smells like... salt water and fresh air

the people are... kind of bemused that you are visiting NZ and really, really nice

I'll be back soon with European adventures to share! For now feel free to follow on Instagram @sydmdavis and twitter for pictures of cheese and other beautiful European sights (cheese)