Round the World with Chris Arnold: European leg
Everyone’s favourite whirlwind traveller, Chris Arnold, gives us the lowdown on his European adventure that saw him visit 11 cities in 8 different countries in less than 18 days during his 5-week round-the-world trip. Chris gets off the beaten track in the Netherlands and takes the obligatory selfie in front of some of Europe’s best landmarks (nice hair for a backpacker, btw). So, we know what you’re thinking: how do you travel round the world looking so good? Our Black Market Flights airfares are a good start, but the rest is up to your sense of adventure and photography skills. Here's what Chris has been up to since leaving the US and arriving in Europe.
Chris, where have you been since you left NYC?
London, Sheffield, Oslo, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Utrecht, Maastricht, Brussels, Heidelberg and Paris. All within 2.5 weeks.
We know you have a love of architecture - what's the most impressive building you've seen so far on your travels in Europe?
So, there were some amazing old buildings all throughout Brussels, especially the main square and the cathedrals – basically everything in Brussels was incredible at night when it was all lit up. And then in Oslo, the new style buildings were inspiring - particularly the manmade peninsular Tjuvholmen, which certainly lived up to my expectations, along with the Astrup Fearnley Museet. But nothing beats the Opera House in Oslo, it’s so incredible. And you can walk all over the roof of it!
Can you give us one highlight from each city you've been to in Europe on this trip?
Not a chance, no one’s got the time for that! But I can give you a few highlights: In Utrecht, I met up with a friend, and we spent the day hiring bikes and riding wherever we felt like it. So we rode all through the city and then somehow made it out into some country lanes and just got lost. It was incredible. We found a farmhouse that had been turned into a café on the edge of a canal and just sat there and soaked it all in. It was 18 degrees and perfectly sunny, and at that moment I couldn’t have pictured a place I’d rather be anywhere else in the world.
In Stockholm, there was this amazing pub crawl run by a local where you get to meet the most amazing people and go to the best bars and clubs in the city. And then Paris, nothing can beat hiring those city bikes and just riding around taking the whole city in. And the Eiffel Tower. And the food. And it’s not as dirty as people say.
Is it true people dress better in Stockholm?
I can’t say I noticed?
What's the strangest or most remarkable thing you've seen in Europe?
In Stockholm there’s the Vasa Museum for a huge ship that sank in the harbour. There’s a big exhibition on about it all, and it's super interesting, but basically, the ship travelled 1,500 metres out to sea and then sank 300 years ago and was a complete failure.
Best (or worst) meal in Europe?
In Oslo I had a footlong pizza sub (from Subway) that only cost $21 so that was nice and cheap! [Insert sarcasm here].
Any language barriers you've had to overcome, funny or otherwise?
In a couple of countries you try to learn the phrases for 'hello', 'thank you' or 'goodbye' - basic things. But often times at shops you’ll use 'hello' and then be greeted by a stream of the other language, at which point you’ll have to ask them to repeat themselves in English, therefore completely wasting everyone’s time.
Any regrets? Or anything you would have done differently?
The only regret I realised from the trip was not having done an exchange during university and getting to live over there for 6 months. There are so many things to see and do and travelling around is so cheap.
Tips for anyone planning a trip to Europe?
Be flexible. You meet the best people along the way and it’s awesome to be able to switch things up and hit up amazing experiences with them.