If you had told me ten years ago that doing what I loved would take me to Europe, I would have probably started my response with the word “pffft”. But that’s exactly what happened. (the going to Europe part, not the “pffft” part)
I’m a Dutch girl by blood, and I haven’t been back to Holland in 25 years. That makes me feel all kinds of old, but there you have it. This story really starts earlier this year when Paul and I were sitting on the couch one evening watching a TV program about cheese in Europe, and discussing ways we could get over there and have an adventure. I came up with the incredibly good idea of making a book of European cheese images, that would combine my passion of photography + Europe + cheese. We couldn’t quite work out how to make that an ACTUAL good idea, so the Europe dream stayed just that, a dream.
Then within a matter of a couple of weeks we get an email from Simone and Kai asking us to come to Germany and photograph their wedding. It was happy dance city at that point. So this wee New Zealand photographer had suddenly become an ‘International Wedding Photographer’ in the space of a couple of emails and a contract. I’m not sure what the rules are regarding when you can call yourself ‘International’, but I figure I’m going to run with it.
So these are just a few images from our adventures, I could fill albums upon albums with the images we’ve come home with, everything was just so fascinating!
First stop: Shanghai. Just a stopover really, and I think 5 hours was plenty long enough. Turns out it was the hottest day on record and we were allowed to leave the airport. 40 degrees and the maglev train which travelled at 400+km per hour took us to some random place in Shanghai filled with smog, dust and Chinese people we couldn’t understand. So we had a quick look around and hightailed back to the airport which was also filled with Chinese people we couldn’t understand. I’m fairly sure this guy’s sign says “Happy Socks”. I couldn’t tell you why.
30 hours of travelling and we finally reached Holland where my sister and brother-in-law had us as guests in their home for nearly a week. Being back in Holland after so many years was surreal, amazing and emotional. We made the most of every single moment and got up early every morning to walk and explore. Here’s me being a tree. I’m the third one from the left.
The light in Holland was absolutely beautiful.
Here’s us in Amsterdam. It was great to have my sister show us around, the places to see and the places NOT to see!
I thought I was doing a pretty darn awesome job at modelling in this alleyway. It was only later that I realised that I looked like an amputee. I guess amputees can look fine too…
My Grandparents had 13 kids in a tiny wee house (without a bathroom) that backed onto this lake. I remember it well from when I was young. So we found the house, knocked on the door, and found the new owner was fantastically friendly and gave us a guided tour!
You can’t go to Holland and not take a photo of a windmill, really.
Next stop was Germany and while most of the stay there was spent with Simone and Kai and their amazing wedding, we had one day where we went to explore a VERY OLD castle with Paul’s cousin who happens to also live in Germany. Good thing he’s pretty handy with a camera which meant Paul and I got to feature in some shots together!
Inside, the castle was beautifully decorated and full of very interesting, very old, things. These guys looked thoroughly bored, kind of like they’d been standing there for about, oh, 700 years.
Then, quite out of nowhere, there was this picture of an angry looking man. It had no explanation like the other pictures did, it was just hanging there. Angry. Turns out this is actually Beethoven.
On top of the world.
Oh how I longed for a gorgeous young couple to direct through these amazing cobblestoned streets. Instead it was just us to walk hand in hand, and that’s ok too.
Next stop, Paris. Yes. PARIS! We walked and walked and walked some more in this beautiful looking city! This is one of the lock bridges. Apparently young lovers come and secure a lock to the bridge and throw the key into the river below. If ever there is a shortage of keys in the world, that’s where I’ll be going!
Ok, so perhaps we did get to share our love of photography + cheese + Europe after all. I tell you what, the coffee and the water might not be all that in Europe, but the CHEESE is to die for! It’s taken my love for cheese to a whole new level. That might not be a good thing.
While waiting in a line that went right down the street for Falafel, one of these two birds decided to poop on me. Perhaps they don’t like tourists?
The Louvre was absolutely stunning, and not something you could ever all see in one day.
We saw the Mona Lisa, sure, but on the opposite wall with almost no one looking at it was THIS! Who has a wall this big to even hang a painting of this size?
Beautiful Paris, taken by Paul from on top of the Arc De Triomphe. We didn’t know we weren’t allowed a tripod. Opps! This one is going to make it up on my wall nice and big! It was worth being told off for.
So there you have a very cut down version of our amazing travels. It was most definitely the experience of a lifetime and I’m already dreaming about ways I can get back there! So if anyone you know is getting married in, say, Switzerland, feel free to give us a call. In the meantime I’m going to be thinking about my cheese book…