Sarah, my brave travelling companion, on the train from Paris's hellhole of an airport. It's 7 am. She hasn't slept all night. Neither have I.
We got off the train at a metro stop downtown and decided to walk to the hostel we hoped would have room for us (after discovering the one we'd made reservations at was in the red light district). In retrospect, it was a mistake to tackle the miles with packs on, but in this picture I was excited. We'd emerged into the city and immediately found a sight! (What is it? Who knows! But definitely a sight.)
The view from the window of our hostel, which finally let us in for a merciful nap at 3:00. Pretty Paris rooftops.
After the blessed sleep, Sarah and I decided to be true tourists and picnic and watch the sun set at the Eiffel Tower. Which we finally found after getting lost, again.
It was really an exquisite picnic. A baguette, brie, the best strawberries I've ever tasted (featured here), and little bottles of chocolate mousse. Probably among the best meals I ate in Europe.
Me, post-picnic, in front of the Eiffel Tower. At this point, I still don't believe we're in Paris.
Sarah, in the Paris train station, as we jog to catch the train to Brussels.
Leslie having lunch at a sidewalk café (overpriced, naturalmente) in Brussels. The main plaza is behind me.
Sarah in quaint Belgian street.
Leslie in front of one of many cathedrals in the fine city of Brussels. This one they light up at night, changing colors and patterns to classical music. Cheesy but endearing.
Looking up at said cathedral's spire.
Building facades in the main plaza. The unifying theme: dingy Baroque.
I think the best thing we did in Brussels was leave the beaten tourist path on a walking tour suggested by our faithful "Let's Go." We saw lots of beautiful older buildings side-by-side with modern ones, which I tried to get at with this photo.
A narrow cobblestone street! We must take a picture!
Sarah in a park. (This is all on our book-guided walking tour.)
It's the park aaaand another cathedral.
Some...buildings... (I swear, I deleted a lot of these, but this was just a good representative shot.)
The view from our hostel window--the spire of that first cathedral.
Couldn't go to Belgium without eating a waffle, could we? The crepes are to make up for the oversight in France.
Sarah, on another train. To Amsterdam!
In Amsterdam, we stayed with Sarah's friend Kacee, who lives there, and Josh, whom she lives with. They were incredibly gracious and incredibly fun. The following are a few shots of their beautiful apartment.
When I have a home again, I want to rip off their plant style--orchids and cacti. Beautiful!
The couch on the right was my bed.
After a first night of eating tapas and meeting a couple of Kacee's cool friends, we went out shopping and for a quick lunch.
Naturally, we were distracted from grocery shopping by the Heineken brewery/museum. Here are Sarah and I by a big old copper drum for...brewing, one can only guess.
And here we are in the bar, conveniently placed halfway through the museum. Three beers were included in the price of admission, and we ended up with a few more...
After a 2-3 hour break, we staggered out into the light to buy dinner. Here, Sarah pokes a fish in the market.
Okay, so I looked like a tourist in the market taking this shot. But really, how could I not? Look at all the flavors!