Eenie, Meenie, Miney, Moe…

6 Jul

Y’all. How have we been home nearly a month now?! How are we already into July?! Sheesh. And to show how long I’ve been working on this post- in between all the other fun summertime stuff we’ve had going on- here’s how I started it…weeks ago! Ha! So let’s just pretend we’ve hit the rewind button so I don’t have to write another intro 🙂

Happy Father’s Day to all the Daddies out there! I like to think John’s day in on track to being pretty much perfect- homemade breakfast of hot cinnamon rolls and spicy Cajun sausage (wonder who’s choice that was?), gifts, tinkering in the yard, a six-pack of one of his favorite beers, and a fresh-grilled steak-and-potato dinner coming up tonight. What do you think? 🙂 In all seriousness, though, there’s no man on this planet that could be a more perfect Dad for our girl and we are so, so, so truly blessed and thankful and grateful to have John as our ‘Third Amigo.’ And speaking of blessed, I had already won the lottery many, many years before I won it the second time with John. Getting to be my Dad’s one and only…I’m definitely the lucky one.

John and Neve's first picture.

John and Neve’s first picture.

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So the two questions we’ve gotten asked the most since we got back last week: 1. Are you going back for the long stint? and 2. Which place was your favorite? Well, I’ll tackle the first one in the next day or two, but for the second one, here we go!

I always hate when people answer a question with,’Oh, I could never choose just one!’ Seems like such a cop out and that they just don’t want to really spend the time thinking about it. But y’all. That’s really the best answer I can give this time- and it’s not for lack of trying! I think it comes down to semantics, honestly.  ‘Favorite’ can be interpreted in so many ways: prettiest, best to live, most unique…So that’s how I’m going to approach it! Think of it like the Emmys: Best Comedy, Best Drama, etc…Heehee.

Best to Live

Hands down, Amsterdam. It’s always been one of our top destinations and this time- getting to do it with a child in tow- just solidified that. It’s like the perfect mix of everything we love about Europe. It’s old, yet modern-feeling. The architecture is beautiful, the canals add whimsy, and the people are friendly, welcoming and diverse. The economy is strong. The city is large, but still has a smaller feel to it, much like Charleston. Oh, and the food is delicious.

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Best Scenery

Another easy one, Switzerland. I swear there isn’t a place on this Earth as breathtakingly beautiful as this country. And now that we’ve seen it both covered in snow (in 2010) and in the summer, we’re pretty confident that we’ll be hard pressed to find somewhere to knock it out of first place!

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Closest Thing to Home (in a good way!)

Not a big surprise, London. But I mean this for more than just the language. From the moment we arrived in London, we compared it to NYC, which is a city that we both love and could return to many, many times and still have more discover. That’s how London felt to us. There are so many boroughs- each with its own flavor. There’s something- and somewhere- for everyone. There’s also that big city grit that you grow to expect from the ‘big boy cities,’ if that makes sense. You’re like a cog in the wheel- everyone hustling past you, going on about their lives just like you are. Yes, you’re just a number (if that), but there’s something really comforting to me about that feeling of anonymity.  I’m sure the fact that they speak English helps, but London felt like a perfect ‘gateway to Europe’ for Americans- the European feel and flair without quite as many of the cultural differences (and shocks) that come as you move further into the continent. That being said, if it weren’t for the exorbitant (ie. absolutely ridiculous) cost of living (Sandy, I don’t know how you do it!), it definitely could be a front runner for places to live.

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Best Food

This is a tie, another thing I hate, but there’s just two that really stand out. Surprisingly, London- a city that, historically, hasn’t been known for its cuisine- maybe we just lucked up with good research and luck, but we loved every meal we had here! Bangers and mash, fish and chips, sticky toffee pudding (which I’ve now made myself and it’s SPOT ON!)…The other is Bruges. Maybe I should make a separate category for Best Carbs? Belgium in general had the best fries, waffles and croquettes we’ve ever had! They’re known for seafood, though, and maybe since we’re from a city that already does awesome seafood our expectations were a bit too high, but we found the seafood to be just good, not great.

Erin's Sticky Toffee Pudding

Erin’s Sticky Toffee Pudding

Most Charming

Another easy one- Bruges. This little city takes everything that you picture when you think of Europe and condenses it down into a picturesque, historic, colorful, friendly bubble to get lost in. We loved it.

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So what do you think of our awards? I’m sure some of them were totally obvious, but maybe some of the others were a little more obscure? Humor me. 🙂 And I didn’t even include some of our other all-time favorites (Venice, Grindelwald, Prague…) that we didn’t make it to this time! That would just add a whole ‘nother can of worms! Ha! And for those of you who will say that I didn’t actually answer the question, I would say that Amsterdam would win for our overall favorite this go around. It just has so much of everything we love in a city- history, beauty, charm, friendly people, modernization…

I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July this weekend! We’ll talk again soon!

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