Meet Me in Europe: 48 Hrs in 3 Cities
Don’t hesitate to book your next vacation to Europe. Use some of that hard-earned paid time off, turn on your “out of office” notification, and head over to Western Europe for a rich cultural getaway.
Known for its bike pedestrians and long canals, Amsterdam is a city made for strolling around. Our connecting flight landed about midday in the city and allowed just enough time to grab the train from the airport to visit the city centre. Clean, modern, and relatively fast, the train dropped us off in front of houses and waterways built centuries ago. We stopped for lunch at Cafe Heffer, ate borenkool (traditional potatoes), and drank Aperol spritzes, the local summer drink of choice. Before saying goodbye to our layover city, we took a canal cruise that educated us on the rich history and modern culture of the city. By far the most impressionable part of the cruise was learning about house boat ordinances, vehicles lost in canals, and the challenges of living in water-locked city. After a few hours on the ground, we were back to the airport for our next stop.
It might be the siestas or late dinners, but Madrid seems to come alive at night. We had a late checkin to our hostel and faced peak levels of hanger by time we arrived. After refueling our bodies with empanadas and a some sleep, we hit the pavement for a tour of the city, seeing the presidential palace, parque el retiro, and San Miguel Market. San Miguel Market is famous for its fine food stalls and fair prices for fresh food. We sipped fresh mojitos, drank robust wines, and experienced Spanish churros con chocolate. At night, we many American and foreign tourists at two night clubs, one with live music and another with rave flair. Our time in Madrid ended with brunch views that couldn’t be beat. Circulo de Bellas Artes is a must see for any visitor.
Love was not in the air during our trip to Paris. A well-known gang member had escaped from prison and the city was crawling with police looking for the escapee. Despite the local news, we enjoyed a safe and picturesque view of the Tour Eiffel from the Grous-Caillou neighborhood. We dipped our feet in the pool at Trocadero gardens and ate savory crepes for dinner. In general, the cuisine itself was not that remarkable, but the baked goods, breads, cakes, and pastries were divine. Anxious to get out of the city, we took an hour train ride out to Versaille. (Pro traveler tip—be sure to buy the premium ticket. We were fined by police for purchasing the wrong fare.) The ornate gold and marble of King Louis’ famed estate still shines bright and mesmerizes travelers from all over the world. With expansive gardens, onsite restaurants, and a welcoming village feel (think Bell from Beauty and the Beast), Versailles can easily take up a full day and is worth every minute.
Who to Fly
Our travel to and around Europe included a variety of airlines. We flew Dallas to Amsterdam (American Airlines), Amsterdam to Madrid (Air Europa), Madrid to Paris (Iberia Ailines), and Paris to Detroit (Delta), Detroit to Dallas (Southwest Airlines). No matter your budget, there’s an airline that will get you there for a low fare.