Welcome to London!

We left off at a bit of an awkward spot,

having caught an early flight out of Amsterdam, we arrived in London with plenty of time to explore a little before we had to meet up with our Airbnb host. There was a 20 minute ride on the metro that took us into the center of town, and when we emerged onto the street, Ill be honest, it was strange because its so similar to the U.S, besides the great accents it didn’t feel all that different then any big city I had been to previously. There were busy people running all over, rows of taxis lined up for 3 blocks, and a less then pleasant big city smell. We found one of the only quite spots near the metro station to grab some breakfast and make a plan for the day. The city is huge, so we thought that it would be genius to buy some skateboards to get around. This led us on a hunt through the city to find a thrift shop that had some. As it turns out, it is harder then it appeares, but it give me a chance to really soak up the vibe of the city. It comes on slow but its very strong. London is creative, and has a lot of history, you can feel it, from the architecture to the graffiti art there are little expressions of both the people and the town that give you a welcome feeling.

Eventually we ran across Regents park, it was a Thursday so most of the people there were moms with children and elderly folks going for a walk. Zack and I did a pretty good job ruining the peace for awhile as we repeatedly jumped and ran trying to climb trees, to little success but we had a laugh.

Our Airbnb was outside of the city in an area called Willesden. That was honestly one of the coolest parts of London because it was so authentic, we spent the next few days being a tourist*, but there we felt like locals, did some laundry, got a coffee at the library, and relaxed.

Day 2: Crazy. We definitely made the most of it, we walked 16 miles that day and saw every famous site we could think of, from big ben and the London eye, to Buckingham palace, waterloo station (plus cool tunnels underneath it), and the Shard.

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The tunnels under Waterloo station 

 

It was busy and exciting but nothing that you dont already know. big ben was a big ol’ clock, the London eye had a 4 hour wait so we skipped the ride, and there were so many tourists everywhere it was hard to even move. we re-grouped the plan for the next day and ended up striking travel gold on the 3rd day.

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Tourist status: Complete 
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Fun fact, we walked in on a wedding! it was lovely and the whole congregation left in these vintage double decker busses!

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Day 3: It was fun seeing the sights, but we quickly learned the best way to enjoy this city is to take it slow, and look around. My favorite parts of the trip were things we didn’t know existed until we found them. We rented Santander** bikes and it changed the whole experience. We found speed and open space and were able to see some amazing things. Riding towards the Tower bridge Zack dove off into a random ally, and to our surprise there was an old church, built in the 1500’s, and heavily damaged in the blitz bombings of the 40’s, it had been stood in the middle of the city, tranquil, and beautiful. Overcome by vines and flowers, the walls crumbling in spots, the wood and roof had been completely removed, but still standing. Steeple stood tall, with modern buildings casting shadows over it and busy streets built around it, this church was a little oasis, a little gem in the middle of town.

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The church was mostly overgrown and gave me a “jungle” vibe

 

A few hours later as we walked by the river Thames, we found a staircase that led to a rooftop garden with great view of the lower west end of town, we got some drinks and just soaked up the view for awhile. Finishing out the day we caught the tube over to Little Venice, which, just like it sounds, is a like a little slice of Italy, with canals running through it and restaurants and stores built up around it, it was yet another cool example of the diversity of the the city.

I could literally go on for days about London, but what really stuck to me is the hardest thing to describe, its an X factor, a feeling, and something I hope everyone can experience for themselves someday.

Next stop? We caught the midnight bus to Paris…***

 

Still with me? alright heres something extra for your dedication:

 

 

Notes:

*Tourist- is a bit of a negative term for me, visions of large groups with many bags, stopping in the middle of every photograph, dropping food and letting their children run wild over the treasured objects that they came to see, I do my best to be a backpacker, one who appreciates, photographs, and enjoys locations while making a minimal impact. travel light, be courteous, and never stop exploring.

**Santander- hourly bikes that are rented for one way trips only, there are stations all over the city to pick up or drop off a bike. very cheap, and effective way to see the city and never wast time tryna park.

***Paris- My love, and favorite place so far, so prepare for a little longer read next time. (sorry not sorry)

Amsterdam, it’s your town.

I’d love to start with a beautiful visual of a sunrise on a quite morning, but my 5am alarm wasn’t anywhere near that glamorous, after a quick job for one of my clients I headed to the bus station by 8, and made it to LA by 4:30. I walked outside the station to meet up with Zack, who ,with his long hair, pastel shorts, and green lens shades, captured the LA vibe perfectly. “Dude, can you believe it, we will be in Amsterdam tomorrow!” yes! but first, back to Zacks place for BBQ chicken quesadillas. because, well, chicken quesadillas 😘  A shower, a phone charge, and a short ride later we made it LAX, with enough time to spare to make a some new friends at the gate before our flight to Keflavik. with only a short layover that consisted solely of a delicious bowl of Icelandic yogurt, and a little math to realize I paid way too much for it, (those conversion rates though) we made it to gate 14 and left Iceland and were off to Amsterdam.

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We landed in Amster just as the sun was setting, with a gorgeous view of the famous canals.

 

By now I had been more or less awake for 26 hours, and should have checked into a hotel for the evening, but due to some miscommunications we had only 1/2 a day in the Netherlands and weren’t going to waste any time. So we stopped for more coffee and began to make our way toward the metro. When we hopped off, we were met with a chilly wind and a nice view of the North Sea Canal. It was cold and crisp and the lights were just coming on all over the city. We headed for the brightest lights we could see which led us to a large ferris wheel and strip of excellent restaurants and shops. We dove into a pizza place for a slice and pulled up a map to see what was next.

We decided that our best bet was going to be somewhat random exploration for the whole night, so we picked a few top spots to see and set off into the night…

The feeling of the uneven cobble stones under my feet and the smell of salty air off the water was amazing, an experience of excitement and freedom like I hadn’t felt before.  As I walked by De Waag, (a former city gate built in the 15 century) I could clearly see pride in preservation that would be evident throughout the rest of the city. But there was also a clear embrace of progress, with the old Waag now a restaurant, and the centuries old canals now filled with residence boats. That turned out to be the biggest charm of this city, the combination of old and new.

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some typical architecture throughout the city.

We wandered our way through streets admiring the architecture for about an hour, with the canals literally everywhere, and just as picturesque as you would expect, it was very peaceful. It was getting late and there wasn’t much going on, but eventually we ended up at the Rijksmseum, which was adorned in intricate marble-work and had a street going through the center of the building which, even at 1am, was relatively busy with people walking around or making deliveries.

This street led us to a small skate park which provided us with excellent entertainment:

After some mild shenanigans we stopped to admire some sculptures around the Van Gogh museum. We had run into someone earlier that recommended a rooftop bar with city views to check out, but alas, by now it was 3am so everything was closed, so we decided to walk back towards the center of town. Fast forward to 5am and we were completely wiped out, so we hailed an Uber and headed back to the airport to catch a nap before our 8am flight to London.

I entered Amsterdam feeling like I had just stepped into a movie, and left with just as much excitement knowing this was just the beginning, we had 3 beautiful cities and 11 days ahead of us. It went by too fast, and some may say its a shame, but I dont regret anything about it, and cant wait to go back and see more soon.

(Disclaimer: Im not proud that a slept in the airport, nor do we deserve any gold stars for our planning in the Netherlands, but I can honestly say that I wouldn’t change a thing, because I left the U.S. for adventure, and thats exactly what I found… the only reason this trip was possible, is because we saved as much money as possible when doing it, so throughout this series you will see a lot of weird flight times, some Nutella, and some really small accommodations. but thats the fun of it, traveling like this has allowed me to leave my home state every month, and the country twice this year. so stick around and see where we go next!)

p.s. Due to the lack of time (and light) I didn’t take many pictures in Amsterdam. so another trip is defiantly on order soon

“Please, make sure your seat back and tray table are in their full upright position.”

 

My name is Brett Kuhn, and I love adventure.

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Welcome, and thanks for joining me.

This blog will be a diary of my travels, as well as tips and tricks for traveling, photography, and functional style. I am excited to be sharing with you all and will be taking photos and making Vlogs to accompany my posts.

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PNW vibes

This last year has been huge for me, My work with New Finish Restorations has allowed me to travel frequently, and living in Phoenix I have met some amazing people.

This summer though, is going to be epic! my calendar is full, and I have some great friends ready to experience it with me. from weekends camping in the mountains, to flights over seas, to race events and road-trips, stay tuned from some exciting stuff.

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Romans? sure. but what about the Calzones?

I recently returned from a trip to Europe with my good friend Zack ( @zackarimiller ) and will be writing a post about it soon. In the mean time take a look at this short video from my trip to Big Sur!   ( https://youtu.be/PESGFfWsBEc )

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“a pint’s a pound the world around” unless you’re in London then a pint will sent you back about £4

Last thing,  follow me on Instagram @_Ratkuhn to see whats upcoming and friend me on Facebook for music recommendations, bespoke pictures and more.

Thanks for stopping by and I’ll see you soon!

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The sunny So Cal coast gets all the love, but rainy days in Big Sur are the real gems.

P.S all photos are taken by (or of) me. shout out to Zack Miller for the profile pics.

(he’s the best but you prolly already know that)