Jeremy Johnson
customer experience leader

past-blog

Europe - planes, trains, and no automobiles

I was recently able to spend three weeks in Europe - two weeks working in London, and one week traveling to Brussels and Amsterdam. I haven’t had a lot of long work engagements outside the states, but it really helps get a more global view, and in my case, getting some insights around our international audience.

London was ready for the Olympics, so it was a great time to go. Everything was running smoothly, lots of additional wayfinding, everyone was ready for the eventual onslaught of travelers and tourists.

Contrasted to the suburbia campus I work in here in Southlake, TX - the densely populated London office offered fascinating tube rides and walks into the office daily. A selection of probably 50+ pubs, restaurants, and food stands within a five minute walk, and a chance to see 100+ year old landmarks everywhere.

The age of the city really stands out when you’re used to living in something that didn’t exist 20 years ago. Visually, the rich textures, the materials used to build, the craftsmanship of the stonework - I wanted to photograph every building.

I was there to test a product with some UK travelers, and try to discern any regional differences between our audiences. It was interesting to hear about where and how UK travelers go on vacations (aka holidays or city breaks).

After work - because it’s light out until 10:30 in London, I’d go waking, and exploring. There is so much to see, that I would always find myself thinking “just one more block”, and end up many tube stops away from my hotel. During the weekend and nights I was able to see a large amount of the key landmarks (seen below).

I think if you had seven full days, you could make a great Europe trip out of flying into London, staying 2–3 days, taking the train to Paris (we skipped Paris this time), then taking a train to Brussels, then ending up in Amsterdam for a eventual flight back to the states.

Here are some of the highlights we saw, in photos:

London - probably 2–3 Days

    V&A - British Design Tower Bridge Tower Bridge Tate Modern Tate Modern Oxford Street Shopping H&M Harrods Harrods Hamleys (toystore) Design Museum Bauhaus Exhibit (Barbican Center) Bauhaus Transportation Museum (the tube) Transportation Museum Many Pubs Pubs Notting Hill Notting Hill Flower Market (Colombia Rd) Flower Market British Museum British Museum St. Paul Cathedral St. Paul The Shard The Shard

Brussels 1 Day

    Comic Strip Museum Comic Strip Museum Tintin Shop Tintin Shop Grand Palace (Square) Grand Palace EU EU Horta Museum Mann Pis Mann Pis

Amsterdam 2 Days

    Dam Dam Nine Streets (Shopping) Nine Streets Rijks Rijks Skinny Bridge Skinny Bridge Van Gogh Museum Van Gogh Museum Anne Frank House Anne Frank House Flower Market Flower Market Boat Ride (Canals) Canals Rembrandt House Rembrandt House Bikes Bikes

If you’re wondering about the photos, I ended up using my 4/3 camera - a GF3 - almost 100% of the time I was there. Not only did it perform like a champ in almost all situations, but I felt less like a tourist with the smaller camera, and people didn’t seem to care as much when in areas that claimed “no photography”.

I could live in Europe and explore every street, every alleyway, and every landmark for the rest of my life, and I’d be as intrigued as the day I started.

If you're interested in seeing more - I have 1000+ photos from my trip here on flickr.