I want to talk about the kind of experiences I had in my free time and what amazing experiences people can have along with the business trips. Of course, my experience can differ from many others because these are the activities that I like to do and the types of activities that I enjoy. I had a lot of free time on this trip and I got to do so many enjoyable things. I will go in chronological order of the countries I went to on my trip.
London, the UK
Starting off with London, this city felt like home the most. Everyone spoke English and it almost felt like a busy U.S city. On the very first day there I had a lot of free time because our hotel was not ready. The first thing I did was walk around a park the was right next to the hotel. The park was huge, and it had so many statues and memorials that were worth seeing. Some included the Albert Memorial or Kensington Palace.
The next day I got to see the London Tower Bridge and got to explore some local restaurants. While just walking around admiring the architecture I found a firefighter memorial for a fire that destroyed London many years ago. Everywhere in London, there is something to see, so for a while, I just wandered the city looking at the buildings and finding amazing, little restaurants that maybe would not be found if looking on attraction websites.
Towards the end of London, I went to the Victoria and Albert Museum and I think that was my favorite museum. The museum had so many breathtaking pieces and a handful of famous replicas given to the museum by other countries. London has so much to offer and there is so much to do even if someone just aimlessly wonders the city.
In Paris, I saw some of the most beautiful architecture. If someone likes architecture then Paris is the perfect place. Everywhere you go, every building you look at is a piece of art. It was hard to walk in the city because I just wanted to look up at the buildings instead of what is in front of me. Obviously, I went to see the Eiffel Tower at two different times. Ones during the day and once at night.
One night our group went on a river cruise and we got to see all the famous buildings next to the river at night when they were all light up. The next day I went to The Louvre Museum to see the crown jewels and the Mona Lisa. This also was a breathtaking museum and I wish I could have spent an entire week in there just to see everything. The rooms alone are a piece of art and sometimes I had to remind myself to look at the art in front of me.
Instead of going up the Eiffel tower, our group decided to go up the Arc de Triomphe so that we could get pictures high up but also having the tower in the background. There is so much to do in Paris that I probably didn’t even get to see five percent of what the city can offer.
The Hague, Germany
After Paris, I got to go to Germany. In Germany, I had some of the best food. Sausage, pretzels, and mustard with every meal, I loved it! In Heidelberg, I had a family friend who lives there and was able to give me a personal tour of the city. He took me to the castle that was partially destroyed by the French many years ago and the giant keg that resides inside the castle. He also took me to a restaurant that had over one hundred different schnitzels. In Germany we did not have that much time because I had two company visits, so that night was my only free night in Germany.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Finally, on to the last city, the Hauge and Amsterdam. Sadly, free time in these cities were also very limited due to company visits. In the Hauge I went to an attraction the was call Madurodam, which was a 1:25 size replica of all the famous places and buildings in the surrounding area. It was super cool and had many hands-on parts that were very interactive. Also, in the Hauge, I got to try Indonesian food for the first time.
After walking around, I found a cheese store where they allowed visitors to try all the cheeses, as much as they wanted, which I loved so much! In Amsterdam besides just walking around and exploring the only things I went to was another museum with pieces from all different eras and places. I think the IBS programs are an amazing experience for getting a good educational and fun experience trip. The balance between free time and business visits was a perfect mix.