As a foreign resident of the Netherlands, I occupy a kind of sweet spot. I’m enough of an insider to know what’s what, but enough of an outsider to guess what other foreigners might find unusual or confusing when they visit — and, in case it’s not already clear, enough of a blogger to write it down and put it on the internet.
Photo by Linda Xu
Looking for somewhere to grab a drink or a bite in Melbourne? Well, let’s be real: you probably won’t be looking for long. This Australian city is packed to the gills with cafés, bars, restaurants, dives, markets, stalls, food trucks, and holes-in-the-wall (hole-in-the-walls?) that cater to nearly every budget, style, and preference. Finding a great bar or café in Melbourne is like finding hay in a haystack.
When it comes to the outdoors, on a spectrum from “about to climb Mount Everest” to “Shelley Long in Troop Beverly Hills,” I reckon I fall somewhere in the middle.
My family actually used to do a fair amount of camping and hiking all over the United States when I was a kid, and though I didn’t always enjoy it, I’ve probably retained at least a few skills (I can pitch a tent, and maybe start a fire on a good day, if someone else chops the wood and it’s not raining too much and YOU JUST LEAVE ME ALONE FOR A SECOND). That said, I still spent more of my summer vacations in front of the television than my mother would have liked.
Photo by Anubhav Saxena
As an American who hails from what’s generally referred to as a “flyover state,” I get it.
The United States is big; the coastal cities are major and famous; there are only 24 hours in a day. Of course you want to go to New York and LA, Miami and San Francisco. I’m not here to crush your dreams. (Well, not all of them, anyway.)
Raise your hand if you’ve heard of Overijssel before. Anyone?
Well, it’s a good thing I’m here.
Overijssel is a province in the east of the Netherlands, and it’s been my adopted home for the last two and half years. One of the reasons I started this blog was to share this part of the Netherlands with the rest of the world; and it’s high time I gave a proper introduction.
Some people really hate Queenstown, New Zealand.
I mean, there’s no place everyone loves, is there? The lines are too long at Disneyworld; people pickpocket you in Barcelona; everything is trying to kill you in Australia. But Queenstown is, in my experience, a particularly polarizing little location.
Considering I live in the middle of nowhere (at least, as middle-of-nowhere as you can get while still living in the Netherlands), it may surprise the casual reader to hear I don’t make a habit of avoiding popular places.
To the contrary: I might live in the Dutch countryside, but I take pretty much any excuse to go to Amsterdam. I’ve blogged about Parc Guell in Barcelona, the London Eye, and Hamburg’s Christmas markets. I spent seven months in Melbourne and more than two years in Queenstown, New Zealand. Clearly, I have zero qualms about visiting big tourist destinations.
Travel bloggers are notorious for telling you not to plan. I know.
We’re always like, “Just get lost! See what happens! Go with the flow!” And then we post 3,000 words on how much we love organizing our trips, the perfect day to book your flight (57 and 1/2 days in advance, in case you were wondering*), and the 37 apps you should download before you go. But aside from that, don’t plan a thing!
So hopefully by now, I’ve convinced you to go to Minneapolis. In which case: hey, fantastic! Way to go, me. (And you too, I guess.) I hope you’ll love it.
But why stop there? There’s plenty more to see in Minnesota, and I know just where you should go next.