Zocherpark

Zocherpark

While in Utrecht we walked along a substantial section of Zocherpark, a lush and scenic green space located on the footprint of the now-demolished city walls that used to encircle the city center.

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Wandering Delft

We spent a day in the town of Delft, located just under an hour from Amsterdam by train. With a population around 100,000 it was the smallest town we visited in the Netherlands. Delft is popular with tourists for its picturesque canals, towering old churches, and landmarks related to painter Johannes Vermeer.

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Arrival in Amsterdam

We’ve arrived in Amsterdam, where we’ll be staying for about a week as we explore the city and some surrounding towns.

Zuider Amstelkanaal

Our hotel is in the Amsterdam Zuid (South) area, a little ways out of the city core, and it feels much more sane than the overcrowded areas near Dam Square. The immediate surroundings are a mix of upscale residential and modern office parks.

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Layover in Madrid

At the tail end of our trip to Valencia and Malta we enjoyed a brief layover in Madrid. Although we were tired from our flight and sad to be on our way home, we took full advantage of our two days to see some great art and get a small taste of the huge city.

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Valletta Apartment

When researching places to stay in Malta we came across Valletta Vintage. The renovated apartments they rent are beautifully styled and unique, but usually quite expensive. But in the off season — including January — the prices are more reasonable, in line with a slightly-above-average Airbnb. So we went ahead and booked their “Retro Pad” apartment.

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City of Arts and Sciences

We wandered through some of the City of Arts and Sciences (Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias) complex in Valencia. Designed in part by famous Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, the buildings were completed between 1996 and 2009 at a cost of nearly €900 million.

El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía

The complex sits within the Jardines del Turia, the park created from the former Turia riverbed. It includes an IMAX theater, a planetarium, an opera house, an aquarium, a sporting and events center, and an interactive science museum — among other things.

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