How long does it take to do a city… like really do one? Natives or locals like my brother who’s lived there for 3 years will tell you London takes at least two weeks and Amsterdam a solid week. My 3 brothers and I ambitiously, and naïvely, did London and Amsterdam in 7 days.
Mentally, physically and emotionally exhausting with no WiFi connection to the outside world, Ryan, Kevin and I took the train into central London every day to knock out our London bucket list.
It was an EPIC trip, where we hopped trains, planes, boats, cabs and crooked paths on a whist-while attempt to really get under London’s skin. And in just under five days, we met and conquered the captains of industry.
We toured the towering sky scrapers of the financial banking district where Parliament, Big Ben and Buckingham Palace reined. We laughed alongside some funny and raunchy comedy acts at The Queen’s Head Pub. We learned a new thing, or two, about London’s craft drinks: the random pint on tap being the best one. We took an open-air boat down the River Thames to do a Jack-the-Ripper walking tour in White Chapel. We mapped our way around the tube, minding the gap. We checked out the city’s brilliant and bustling urban festival scene at the UdderBelly Festival.
And when we found ourselves stumbling into the city’s Borough Market on a Sunday afternoon at 2:00 PM, it was, of course, all in the name of research.
After five days was up and half a grand was spent, the fun had to end. Ryan flew back to spend a festive July 4th with our Dad at Smith Mountain Lake, while Kevin and I spent July 4th in festive Amsterdam (Hopefully, this city would be cheaper and friendlier).
Indeed, Amsterdam’s corner markets and coffee shop baristas welcomed us with open arms and baked specialties. In two days, Kevin and I saw the entire city on bikes, riding through all four corners of the map; from city center to the zoo to the museums to suburbia. Best eight euros I’ve ever spent.
Now, two weeks later and settling back into San Francisco living, I hear the sounds of busses and wind, and bittersweetly miss the sounds of European accents and bike bells.