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Growing up in Europe


In case you didn't know already, I was born and grew up in Italy. I have wonderful memories of road-tripping around Europe with my family, and, as I got older, of traveling to visit childhood friends who also moved abroad and to explore more new places.

Since the beginning of the year, I spent several days each month in a different country, loving how easy it is, in Europe, to be exposed to different languages, food, landscapes, architectures--in short, to different cultures--even just within a day!

One of the reasons why we moved to Europe from Chicago, US (which we love and will forever have a special place in our hearts) is that we wanted to expose our children to a similar experience and to have the ability to encounter so many different cultures so easily.

The Netherlands are particularly well located for this, and we are enjoying being in the middle of everything and the opportunities it gives us!

We are kind of last-minute planners (sound like an oxymoron?), so we are definitely enjoying weekend (or shorter) road-trips into Belgium, France, or Germany, while planning a longer and further-away trip!

Here are three places that we really enjoyed:

The Grote Markt of Antwerp.

Antwerp, Belgium

An easy car or train (day) trip from Amsterdam, it's a beautiful city with diverse architecture to admire as you walk around and a cool harbour area with playgrounds, a Ferris wheel, museums, and lots of restaurants (with delicious food!) for the whole family.

The statue of the Town musicians of Bremen.

Bremen, Germany

We stumbled into Bremen few years ago, while driving from Leiden to Berlin during a trip from Chicago. A walkable city with lots of history, river boat tours, and a beautiful Market Square, it's a great weekend trip from Amsterdam!

Read the Grimm Brothers' tale Town musicians of Bremen before visiting. Your children will love seeing the statue dedicated to the tale's four protagonists!

The Tour Eiffel, Paris.

Paris, France

This one needs no introductions :)

Only about three hours away by train from Amsterdam, there is no excuse not to visit Paris. As a matter of fact, I could easily find several "excuses" to visit Paris, over and over!

(To tell the truth, I wasn't a big Paris fan until 2019. I went to Paris with my sister, who was coming from Italy, and we had a great time, and I finally got to enjoy La Ville Lumiere)

These are just three places we recommend visiting, but our list of both places we have been and places we'd like to visit next is very long. We can't decide where we will go next, but wherever we end up, it will be another adventure to remember!

And remember, if you are planning a trip from Amsterdam, you have many travel options:

  • airplane

  • car

  • train

  • and, of course, bike!

When I was young, I went on an Interrail trip, but I have never crossed country borders by bike. Now that I live in Amsterdam, I have my chance of making that childhood dream come true--and three great travel companions to share that with!

For now,

Tot ziens (bye bye),

Paola at City ABC Books

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