By Ariane Ngunza
The summer of 2018 for me was full of highs and lows. My high included my back to back trips in Europe.
My primary destination was to Lille, France. While most people take the train, plane or even coach to their holidays, I went by car. The journey from London to Lille was about four hours in total and that’s including the ferry ride that crossed us over to France. While that was a great experience, I had a laughable moment. While we waited for our call time to get our cars and exit the ferry, my family and I found a nice little café and got a bunch of hot chocolates to keep us warm. I didn’t realise that I hadn’t put the lid on properly and ended up spilling half the lot on my shirt. Well done me.
We checked into an amazing hotel which kind of wasn’t a hotel. We lived in apartments hence the name Apart City. We had the usual; beds, a shower and kitchen and it had all the utensils we needed like an actual apartment. This was so we could cook anything we wanted. This was convenient and we took advantage of this because the hotel food was pricey!
My family and I were away for approximately one week and about four of those days were actually spent in France. The first day, we rested mostly and enjoyed being in the hotel (only because it had a TV and ridiculously great WiFi). The next day, we walked around the area of Lille which I found quite quickly was a very quiet place to live. There wasn’t much going on especially because there weren’t many people on the streets. We visited the Lille centre which had great Architecture as well as shopping malls. There were nice businesses, cathedrals and great shops.
Later on that week, we drove to Heerlen, Holland to visit family. It took us about five hours from Lille (not including the toilet breaks). However, there was an amazing restaurant we stopped at which had great food! Boy, do I love food. Having travelled to Holland before as a child, coming back made me realise how different everything was. For instance, where the train station used to be, there’s now a supermarket named Jumbo there. We then went to the town centre again where there were lots of great shops. I got a great pair of trainers and some t-shirts, because why not? The weather made being there even more amazing. It was not too hot, not too cold, but just right. The trip here was short because it was more about catching up with family if anything.
My next destination was then in Aachen Germany where again was just about visiting family. However, there are some nice places to visit like the Aachen Cathedral in the centre, the market and the centre Charlemagne which is a museum.
Last but not least, we went to Belgium. We visited four different towns in Belgium, including the well-known capital Brussels, we visited Brugge, Gent and Oostende. There were great beaches, restaurants (including food trucks), we got a tour of a palace and the culture there was amazing and so different compared to London. People rode on horses on the road more than cars did which was so cool and the boat rides were a great place to see all the big monuments and learn about the history. It was also such a peaceful place to just reflect and I took advantage of that especially with what went on earlier on in the summer.
Overall, this was a must needed holiday and I recommend any of these destinations to anyone that might be interested. You won’t be sorry.