Memories of Western Europe

Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria

Chelsea Watson and Chelsea Klukas in Amsterdam
80s prom dress photoshoot in Amsterdam with Chelsea (photos courtesy Chelsea Klukas).

I didn't really know how to break up the recap of my trip through Europe. The "Western Europe" title doesn't really do this variety of countries justice but I seemed to have similar experiences in these places so for me they fit together nicely. I was really lucky for this leg of my trip to have some amazing company, with Vienna being the only place I explored on my own. I had incredible hosts all through Belgium and Switzerland and got to spend time with a few good friends from home. My time in Western Europe was mainly spent wandering side streets, drinking in cafes and enjoying the warm winter weather so I only came away with a few specific recommendations but with many great memories. These are just a few of my favourite details, in no particular order, from my time in Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Austria.

homemade Belgian fries
According to Tim, every Belgian home has a deep fryer. We put his to good use.

1. Indulging in Tim's homemade fries and pancakes at his charming home on Lake Genval.
2. Spending all afternoon with Tim at a small pub in Ghent drinking copious amounts of Belgian beer.
3. Eating ice cream in the small courtyard behind Da Vinci in Bruges and listening to the bells ring from the Belfry.

Bruges from the canal
View from my run along the Bruges canal.

4. Passing through all four of the Bruges medieval city gates during my morning runs along the canal.
5. Missing my bus from Bruges to Amsterdam after running down the highway to try and catch it. (unsuccessful, I ended up taking the train instead, with no refund for my missed bus)

Hotel V elevator photoshoot
Our european electronica album cover (photo courtesy Chelsea Klukas).

6. Taking daily elevator ceiling mirror photos with Chelsea in our Amsterdam hotel.
7. Staging a photoshoot in 80s prom dresses in Amsterdam.
8. Walking through the back streets of Amsterdam alone in the dark on a Sunday morning at 5am to the train station--definitely the most unsettling moment of my trip.

Chelsea Watson and Tym Armstrong in Amsterdam
My last stop with Tym in Amsterdam (photo courtesy Tym Armstrong).

9. A six hour whirlwind walking tour of Amsterdam with Tym, a friend from home who was on a layover on his way back to Calgary from India.
10. Eating raclette with Sonja and Thomas at their home in Affoltern am Albis on my first night in Switzerland.
11. Climbing the 170 icy steps of the Üetliberg look out tower in the dark to eat chocolate and drink beer while overlooking Lake Zürich.
12. Watching the sunset over the city in the Zürich Thermal Baths & Spa.

Lucerne at night
Evening in Lucerne.

13. Wandering alone for hours through Lucerne on a warm winter night.
14. Smoking our travel size hookah under the Swiss Alps on our ladies' "ski" weekend.

train ride from Zurich to Vienna
View from the train on my way to Vienna.

15. Enjoying the most incredible scenery on the eight hour train ride from Zürich to Vienna.
16. Seeing the joy of a non English speaking Austrian waiter who called his niece in Calgary for me to speak to upon discovering I was also from there.
17. Sharing a cafe table with a 90 year old Austrian man and chatting, in broken English, over schnitzel.

Naschmarket, Vienna
Barrels of sauerkraut and pickles at the Naschmarkt.

18. Shopping for lunch at the Naschmarkt every afternoon in Vienna.
19. Meeting a man at my Vienna hostel from Transylvania who I am convinced was Dracula.
20. Reading my book, drinking red wine and eating strudel at many, many Viennese cafés.


  1. What a great diary!

  2. #17 CUTE! I want to hear more about that!