April in an Instagram

Remember that time I went to Europe for the semester and then, in the blink of an eye, said semester completely flew by before I knew what had hit me? Yeah, that’s pretty much what happened here – and even though I still have a little more traveling to go this month, April was my last full month in Europe. I don’t know how that happened, but I do know April was awesome, bringing visits to Sweden, Germany, The Netherlands, France, Belgium, and Switzerland. Six countries in one month? Don’t mind if I do, April. Here’s how it all unfolded, through the lens of my iPhone.

Stockholm – Cobblestones in Gamla Stan:

By far, my favorite part of Stockholm was Gamla Stan, the old town. The area ticked all the boxes of classic European charm: tiny lanes, cobblestone pathways, and streets filled with buildings in shades of orange and yellow. I loved peeking down the little streets and looking for yet more lovely things to photograph.

Stockholm – Swedish Meatballs for the Win:

While in Stockholm, I took a culinary walking tour of the city. We sampled a lot of delicious foods (and some strange ones, too), but my favorite of all was perhaps the most classic: Swedish meatballs, with a side of mashed potatoes, pickled cucumbers, and lingonberries. I’ve only ever had the Ikea version of Swedish meatballs, and these guys blew Ikea out of the water. Delicious.

Berlin – Under the Dome of the Reichstag:

When I visited Berlin in 2011 with my sister, we showed up at the Reichstag, ready to climb the dome – only to find out that reservations were required. When we couldn’t swing the dome climb, I mentally added “visit the Reichstag” to my travel future list. And so, this time around in Berlin, I made sure to make that reservation – and luckily I did, because climbing the dome turned out to be a pretty cool experience. I’m glad I finally made it happen!

Berlin – Walking the East Side Gallery:

While in Berlin, I was blown away by the amount of street art everywhere. I think it gives the entire city such a funky, energetic vibe, and I absolutely loved seeing the creativity each place I went. One of the best examples of Berlin’s street art scene is the East Side Gallery, the largest remaining chunk of the Berlin Wall. Whether they were murals with political messages, funny jokes, or beautiful imagery, I loved admiring the art as I strolled along the Wall.

Dresden – The Zwinger in Springtime:

You know how you sometimes arrive in a new-to-you city and immediately fall in love with it? Well, that was me with Dresden. Almost as soon as I got there, I knew I adored the place – the architecture was gorgeous, and with spring in full bloom, there was loveliness around every corner. One of the first spots I stopped was the Zwinger palace, which combined both the gorgeous architecture and the spring blooms. This was literally the first photograph I took in Dresden, and it just might be my favorite.

Amsterdam – Bike of the Day:

The thing that always amuses me about Amsterdam is the sheer volume of bikes you find in the city; just walk down the canals, and you’ll notice that literally every inch of rail space is occupied by bicycles. While there, I became obsessed with photographing the bikes, and I posted a selection of them on Instagram with the caption “Bike of the Day.” This one was a particular favorite of mine – I loved the blue of the wall, the green of the ivy, and the yellow of the bike in combination.

Amsterdam – Canalside Rooftops:

When I visited Amsterdam a few years back, it downpoured almost the entirety of my visit. This time, Amsterdam treated me to sunnier skies and, suddenly, I found myself in love with a city that I had previously been “meh” about. One of my favorite Amsterdam features this go-round was the rooftops of the buildings lining the canals – I loved their curved, ornate tops and couldn’t help but snap a million photographs of them. And, under sunny skies rather than rainy ones, they looked even more wonderful to my eyes.

The Hague – Tulip Time:

While in The Hague, I didn’t do much other than wander around the city, snapping photographs and people watching on park benches. It was a quiet and peaceful way to spend an afternoon, and I think this photograph captures that – strolling along the river, admiring the tulips, and soaking up the sunshine in The Netherlands. Life is not too shabby, folks.

Delft – The Charm of the Canals:

As with The Hague, I didn’t do much in Delft (minus undertaking a frantic and fruitless search for a piece of affordable Delftware). However, Delft was a gorgeous little town to do nothing in. With its small canals, Delft reminded me of a miniature version of Amsterdam – a very good thing indeed.

Lisse – Keukenhof in Bloom:

While trying to settle on a destination for Easter weekend, I had a revelation: it was springtime (duh), and that meant it was therefore tulip season in The Netherlands. I had always wanted to visit the country during spring, and so this became one of the main reasons I booked my ticket. And so, I spent a day at the Keukenhof, a gigantic garden not too far from Amsterdam. The Keukenhof was in full bloom during my visit, and even with the hordes of tourists, it was a stunning sight. I saw more varieties of tulips than I had ever seen before – and I loved snapping photographs of every single one of them.

Geneva – The Blues of Lac Leman:

One thing I will truly miss about living in Geneva is this: leaving work, heading down to Lac Leman (Lake Geneva), and strolling around as the sun would set. My apartment was less than a five minute walk to the lake, so I did this often. Each time, I couldn’t help but be a little in awe of the beauty, particularly the rich blue colors of the lake and sky. I was definitely lucky to be able to make this a part of my evening ritual.

Paris – Work-of-Art Eclairs:

I follow a lot of Instagrammers based in Paris, and I’ve seen the eclairs from L’Eclair de Genie pop up again and again in my Instagram feed. This, then, was one of my first stops in Paris – and it did not disappoint. The eclairs there are like miniature works of art, and though the prices are steep (5 euro per eclair), they are worth it. Some places are over-hyped. This one was not.

Paris – Eiffel Tower Reflections:

It rained on and off the entire time I was in Paris but, honestly, I didn’t mind much at all. For one, the rain was never heavy, and it would often be replaced by sunnier skies relatively quickly. For two, it led to some amazing photo-taking opportunities. When I realized that I could catch glimpses of the Eiffel Tower in the puddles dotting the Champ de Mars, I made it my mission to score the perfect shot. And, if I do say so myself, I think I did a good job with this one. In fact, it’s my favorite Instagram in quite a while.

Bruges – To-Die-For Croque Madame:

I arrived in Bruges at 8pm on the last day of April, so this photo is just sneaking into my April roundup. L’Estaminet restaurant was located around the corner from my hotel, so I figured it would be a good choice for dinner – and I was so, so right. I ordered the Croque Madame and it was fantastic. In fact, I’ve never had a Croque Madame or Monsieur so delicious in France, so score one foodie point for Belgium.


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