Yesterday McPolish brought you Part 1 of Stephanie’s love for Rick Steves. And what is a Part 1 without a Part 2? So here you are, dear Interwebers, and don’t forget to check out Steph’s musings on her blog. (And if you’re cooking-inclined…or cooking declined, for that matter, check out The Cookbook Club for some tasty eats.)
A recap from Part 1: I love Rick Steves. My husband doesn’t mind too much because of all the treasures we’ve found in Europe thanks to Rick’s books. I will now share with all of you lovely readers our best and most awesome finds, aka the love child.
Amsterdam: Bed and Breakfast Amsterdam (Tulips) is amazing, a great deal, and it’s really a pleasant place to stay. Nothing fancy, but for the price it is more than we expected. Although it is far from the city center, it’s a pleasant walk through Amsterdam’s main park. Be sure to drink lots of the complimentary Bessen Jenever (black currant liqueur). For a ridiculously cheap (but filling) lunch, head to the Atrium University Cafeteria, which is right near the middle of town and a great deal. If you want a cozy spot for a beer or tea, head to Café T’Smalle, which is situated right on one of Amsterdam’s picturesque canals. Sit right at the water, sip your tea, and enjoy the slow relaxed pace of this hidden gem.
Belgium: In Brussels we highly recommend eating as many waffles as you possibly can stomach. It is so touristy, but it is very delicious. For a really chill and fun dinner, head to La Fin de Siecle, which is more of a bar than restaurant. The prices are really reasonable and the food was good. The atmosphere is the best part. In Bruges (you must go to Bruges!) check out L’Estimanet for lunch. Situated next to a park, the décor is so old world cozy you’ll feel like you’re in a European movie. The food is well priced and tastes good and it’s packed with locals, not tourists.
Paris: One thing you may find while in Paris is that at some point you’ll want to throw up your hands and scream and just be away from the crowds and stench and tourist traps. At Chez Georges on the Left Bank you can do just that (but maybe don’t scream). It’s a bar a short way off the well beaten path and you can sit and have a quiet (and ridiculously cheap) glass of rosé and talk to the friendly bartender in broken French as he speaks to you in broken English. No pretense in this place.
York: I loved every city we visited in England, but for some reason the time we spent in York was most memorable. The whole city is a gem. Stay at Number 34 B&B and enjoy a comfortable and friendly night’s sleep. If you really want to save money on lunch, head to church. In a tiny church hall called St. Crux Parish Hall in All Saints Pavement Church, groups from around the region come and serve hot lunches for ridiculously low prices. You’ll end up sitting with locals and most likely hearing some very interesting stories. After lunch in the church you may be thirsty for a pint, head to Blue Bell one of the most authentic British pubs we went to and packed with locals.
Portree, Isle of Skye, Scotland: No matter where else you go when you’re in the U.K., make a trip up to the Isle of Skye in Scotland. It will blow your mind. It is by far one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited. The tourism industry is big there, but the tourists are all British or European. We stayed at Ben Tianavaig B&B and everything about it was perfect—the view, the large size of our room, the breakfast, the owners, the location.
Luckily my conspicuous love for Mr. Steves has done no damage to my marriage, and I think it’s in large part due to the amazing adventures my husband and I have had in Europe so far. Next up, Italy, Spain and the Mediterranean coast (date to be determined).