"Yankee Belle" goes global

Summer is upon us, and so is a new blogging mini-series!

My plan is to capture the most treasured moments of our preparation and frolicking as Chad and I embark on our journey to Europe this July. Growing up with a European father, I have had the privilege of traveling abroad many times. Most often the trips were of the purpose to visit family.

I was fifteen when I first traveled to Europe alone. Meeting up with family in the Netherlands, we explored much of the country I had never seen before, as well as a city with which I would forever be in love: London.

During my sophomore year of college I returned to the Netherlands with a friend and explored my "motherland" as well as a bit of Belgium, but the whole time I was craving another taste of London. A year later, between my junior and senior year of college, I returned to London to study and intern abroad for three months. Exploring every facet of the city, I became only increasingly infatuated. I will always love traveling and exploring, and am psyched to share this love  with my husband.

I have two primary goals in chronicling this journey: (1) to record our travels so Chad and I can revisit our memories, and (2) to share this experience with friends, family, and faithful readers.

We have most of our flights/trains/buses/hotels booked. Our itinerary is as follows:

July 9 - Leave Charlotte for Brussels, Belgium (layover in Toronto, Canada). Pray my aunt and uncle remember to pick us up (and that we find them), and travel back to Gouda, Netherlands.

July 10-13 - Spend time with family in Gouda, Amsterdam, and Rotterdam, Netherlands. There are SIX new toddlers/babies I have not yet met. I cannot wait to snuggle!

July 14 - Cambridge, England; I'm a nerd at heart, so any chance at visiting historically rich universities is a chance I'll jump on. Additionally, my brother-in-law recommended this as a stop.

July 15-17 - LONDON, England; I was able to snag a cheap hotel in South Kensington, the neighborhood I lived in while studying abroad.

July 18-20 - Family time :) We will also be traveling to Bruinisse, Netherlands (in the southern province of Zeeland) to show Chad were my father was born and raised. It is a small mussel fishing village with lots of character. The original brick streets are those laid by my grandfather. I love visiting this quaint place.

July 21-24(midday) - Paris, France; a dream of mine.

July 24(midday)-26 - Rome, Italy; initially not a stop on our itinerary. When I sent my aunt (Tante Tineke) an email letting her know our plans to visit-and our then itinerary-she responded with "Rome is also very beautiful...". We figured "Why not?" and here it is.

July 26-27 - Venice, Italy; Lord, don't let it sink before we get there!

July 28-30 - Savor last moments with family in Netherlands before leaving.

July 30-31 - Toronto, Canada; silly me didn't realize I booked a return flight with a 15 hour layover. Hence, our overnight exploration.

July 31 - Back home to Charlotte

Stay tuned travel bugs...