Amsterdam was the perfect city to start my year of traveling Europe. I landed on January 15th, 2018, almost exactly 10 years to the day from the first time I arrived in the city for my study abroad program. It felt right to begin here again. A nice easing in to my year of new places and experiences.
The first day it poured. I was still recovering from the flu and I was jet-lagged. Excellent combination right? But my trip was finally beginning! So running on a little adrenaline I still went out to explore and get my bearings, sans-camera though. The city glistened under the rain, and was just as magical as I remembered. After getting Asian food (because it was close to my hostel and I was so tired), I managed to keep myself up until 9pm and then promptly fell asleep.
Luck was on my side the second day and it was beautifully blue skied. I spent the day wandering the winding streets, crossing canal bridges, avoiding getting run over by bicycles and, of course, taking pictures. As the afternoon crept towards evening and I was thinking that I should head to my one chosen museum of the day, my camera battery died. It was the perfect reminder to always have my backup batteries on me, and a great excuse to finally visit the Rembrandt House Museum.
As a history and art lover I really enjoyed the museum. To be able to walk in the spaces that the artist lived and worked in was such a cool experience. It gave some insight to the artist himself and the society that he was a part of. I also really loved seeing how a seventeenth century kitchen was stocked and laid out. That's the food history nerd in me showing through there.
After stopping at my hostel for a new battery, I headed out to re-find a bar I had passed earlier that day. It was the only place I had seen a sign for Brand beer. That was the kind of beer on tap at the local bar in Well, the Netherlands, where I had studied abroad. I succeeded in finding the bar and proceeded to have a tomato soup and a delicious Sylvester Brand beer. During my study abroad we knew the 2 available beers only as "the dark" or "the light" beer, so I was happy to finally put an actual name to the dark beer. It did not disappoint my memory, and it was the best way to end my little stay in the city I had loved a decade ago.
The next day I walked to the train station and said goodbye to Amsterdam. Over the next 6 hours I slowly watched the Dutch countryside turn into the German countryside and prepared for the first new city of my trip.
Next up: Berlin. Stay tuned.
On January 14th of this year I boarded a plane bound for Europe, carrying nothing but my camera bag, a small suitcase and no return ticket. Just over a month before I had packed up my life and moved out of DC where I had been living for the past 4 years. I'm so glad I got to spend the time I did in DC but it was time for a new city and a new direction. Before that happens though my things will stay in storage while I travel for a year.
I am spending time getting to know places, their cultures and the people who call those places home. I will be staying for long stretches in each country I choose, and getting the chance to work on some self-assigned photography projects at the same time. Pushing my storytelling, my aesthetics and my craft as a whole.
The beginning of the trip, though, was 2 weeks of purely sightseeing. After landing in the familiar city of Amsterdam I headed to Germany, somewhere new for me, to explore the cities of Berlin, Wittenberg, Hannover, Frankfurt, and Heidelberg. From there it was on to Oslo to start the Norway leg of my trip. I will be spending 2 months here in Norway documenting the people that I meet, the landscapes, the architecture, and the food. After that I will continue on to the UK, Ireland, and the Czech Republic before heading back to the States just in time for Christmas.
So stay tuned for lots of new posts as I document my adventures this year!
Bye bye DC! Last picture as I left town.
My send off at the airport from Mom and Dad.
kaitlin k walsh
Adventurer armed with a camera.