Kilometer Zero

It was around this time last year that we were preparing to escape the Cape Town winter for much warmer climes on our EuroTour (13 June to 18 July 2014). Needless to say, the same yearning is creeping in. So before it overtakes me I thought an injection of nostalgia is just what the doctor ordered. Taking reader feedback from a recent poll about wanting to see more features on travel rather seriously, I think that it is only fair to take you on that journey.

5 weeks, 5 countries, 17 cities. The cities included: Amsterdam, Den Bosch, Den Haag, Rotterdam, Nijmegen, Einthoven, Berlin, Mainz, Niestein, Frankfurt, Milan, Venice, Rome, Valencia, Madrid, Avila, Paris. Along the way a few things stood out:

1. Family, friends, AirBnB, & EasyHotel offer superb lodging solutions

Amsterdam sign
Amsterdam was the first port on our whistle-stop tour of the Old Continent
Amsterdam
Amsterdam with my cousin who hosted us
Some cities like The Hague don't need an overnight - a day trip will do.
Some cities like The Hague don’t need an overnight – a day trip will do.
KM 0 in Madrid
KM 0 in Madrid
The hills are alive in Nierstein - hiking with friends on the vineyard
The hills are alive in Nierstein – hiking with friends on the vineyard
Valencia
Valencia a good alternative to Barcelona
Paris is always amazing come rain or shine
Paris is always amazing come rain or shine

2. One way to see the city is by guided tour whether by bus, bike, boat or on foot

Biking
From guided tours with Passion Bike in Valencia to meandering down the Madrid Rio
The Grand Canal in Venice
The Grand Canal in Venice
Venice oh Venice
Venice oh Venice

3. Waterways and canals are always a relaxed (and relaxing) attraction

water
Picnic on the canals in Amsterdam, rowing about the Parque de el Retiro in Madrid, exploring the Templo de Debod in Madrid and Leonardo’s Naviglio in Milan, lazing about Kasteler Strand in Mainz and Sachsenhausen beachside in Frankfurt

4. Never pass up an opportunity to revisit childhood fantasies

Disney
Disneyland Paris was an amazing experience
My second visit to the City of Lights was a lot more wet - nothing like the first time round as described in my blog post "One Night in Paris" but stunning all the same
My second visit to the City of Lights was a lot more wet – nothing like the first time round as described in my blog post “One Night in Paris” but stunning all the same

5. The mega cathedrals are great but the lesser-known’s are often more intimate

From St Peter's Basilica in Vatican City to the Duomo and Sant Ambrogio Basilica in Milan
From St Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City to the Duomo and Sant Ambrogio Basilica in Milan
Rome
Rome in all her historic splendor
Via Appia Antica is a welcome relief from the frantic bustle of the city. Not only will you tour ancient catacombs but even be able to place your feet in the footsteps of Christ at the Chiesa Domine Quo Vadis
Via Appia Antica is a welcome relief from the frantic bustle of the city. Not only can you tour ancient catacombs but you can even place your feet in the footprints of Christ at the Chiesa Domine Quo Vadis
While in Madrid we stole away to Avila for the day to visit the sites made holy by great saints like St Theresa of Jesus
While in Madrid we stole away to Avila for the day to visit the sites made holy by great saints like St Theresa of Jesus

6. You don’t need the Great Wall of China – the shattered Berlin Wall will also do

Berlin Wall
Berlin Wall
The Bundestag in Berlin
The Bundestag in Berlin
Parks and recreation, the Brandenburger Tor and Museum Island in Berlin
Parks and recreation, the Brandenburger Tor and Museum Island in Berlin

7. Not all parties have to be scheduled so keep it fluid

From gay pride events in Berlin and Milan to the Johannisnacht Festival in Mainz or the 4 daagse in Nijmegen there is a party just around the corner if only you will look
From gay pride events in Berlin and Milan to the Johannisnacht Festival in Mainz or the 4 daagse in Nijmegen there is a party just around the corner if only you will look
Magayzinni Generali entertaining us at Milano Pride
Magayzzini Generali entertaining us at Milano Pride
Magayzzini Generali
Magayzzini Generali
Nijmegen 4 daagse with my cousin
Nijmegen 4 daagse with my cousin

And those are my tips for global domination. Alexis Pillay signing out!

One thought on “Kilometer Zero

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s