(started writing this two days after I returned from the trip – its now been 2 weeks – LIFE HAPPENS!)
Oh geez. So much to catch up on in life since early March! Let me start with my fabulous trip to Amsterdam last week:
We met with my parents the Sunday before Mother’s Day because my parents had a wedding to attend in New Orleans over Mother’s Day weekend. I was pleasantly surprised to see Jonathan had brought a card for me, though he’s pretty thoughtful, so I just thought it was a sweet touch. I read it, it was cute. I smiled. You know the drill. Then I noticed the little note at the bottom telling me to “turn the card over”…that’s where I found this:
Um, what?? I wish I had a video of my face, because I’m pretty sure my family could actually see my gerbil wheel making sense of what was in front of me…and when it finally clicked (and when I realized the departure date!), you know I burst into tears! Let’s be real, we all did. I’m sure Bridget was wondering why she was surrounded by a bunch of saps. It was fabulous! Too bad I still had a day and a half of finals to deal with before I could actually think about and prepare for my world travels. Thankfully Jonathan had found and checked my passport…phew! Still good for a few more years!
Finals can be discussed at a later date. Or not. In fact, let’s not. They’re over! Wahoo! Moving on. I’ve got a Europe trip to tend to!
No time to clean the house. No time to shop for new clothes. Just enough time to do laundry (oh, I haven’t mentioned that laundry, cleaning, and cooking had all stopped two weeks before since I was knee deep in school) so I could make sure I had some clean underwear for the excursion. Honestly, though…I assured Jonathan that the last-minute-ness of the surprise didn’t phase me one bit and I’d be hopping that plane with or without enough clothes and supplies!
Seriously, one of the best parts of the trip were the flights. And don’t let that fool you – the Amsterdam time was amazing! But the peace, quiet, and solitude I was awarded on four flights was something I hadn’t known for a looooooooong time. It was so rejuvenating!
Well…I left DFW at noon on Wednesday and rolled touched down in Amsterdam at 6:15am on Thursday. With such a short trip, no time could be wasted! Amanda picked me up and we headed to her place for a quick battery charge:
And after about 2 hours, we hit the town!
Here are the hilariously steep and narrow steps that lead up to Amanda’s apartment. Ya’ll. Her place was AWESOME. I’m never going to want to return to Europe without staying with her…she lives in style! So great!
We took the short walk to Vondelpark for a mini picnic and some rest time…ahhh..
Nabbed some drinks outside of the modern museum and met some of Amanda’s friends from work (who also had visitors in tow) and then headed to dinner – Ethiopian food! It was a true adventure, but a successful one. That stuff was good – and no one’s bellies rebelled!
Never one to waste a beautiful night, we all headed over to the more well-known area of town: the Red Light District. Everyone’s gotta say they’ve been! It’s not nearly as wild as people assume, and the place was PACKED with tourists. I just loved getting some great night time pics of the oldest church in Amsterdam – which just happens to tower over all the prostitute alleys. Hmmm.
After a night of oh-so-relaxing sleep (with the window open! Ahhh!), we headed over from some yummy breakfast (did I mention how slow all the restaurants are over there?? It would really take some getting used to for me!) before stepping out to the tulip town. On the way, we happened to see a man whittling hand made wooden shoes. I was amazed!
TULIPS! Amsterdam endured an unusually long winter this year, which was my good luck because it meant the tulips all bloomed about 2 weeks later than normal and I still got to see – and smell! – them. Beautiful!
The pic on the left is the planting team next to the large flat with freshly planted bulbs. The pic on the right is the left third of the flat post-bloom. So cool!
Amanda and I got a real kick out of all the chilled out dogs that people bring EVERYWHERE. Stores, restaurants, trains, ARBORETUMS. Penny would be in doggy heaven. Check out this mini-spotted Penny. So cute!
We grabbed some people watching time in the museumplein (directly across the street from Amanda’s place) and I cannot be more thankful for our decision to try a waffle. They were selling them everywhere, so I needed to see what the big deal was about a silly waffle. OMG. DELICIOUS. Not just a waffle!
The afternoon brought us a trip to the Heineken Experience (its just too hard to call it a museum, and the tour is not of the actual brewery – the real thing is so huge it probably has its own zip code). We made a quick pop over to a lunch spot and had bitterballen (aka gravy balls) because I wanted some traditional dutch fare. Again, NUMMERS.
If you’re in Amsterdam and not sure if this is a good idea, IT IS. I was so impressed with the Heineken tour! Definitely worth the money – it’s fun!
Our beer definitely needed a trip to Texas:
This place was BIKE CRAZY. So thankful I was there over a holiday weekend and missed any real bike rush hours. They sound truly frightening!
My other other half, slaving over a hot stove for me. Notice her “I (heart) TX” oven mitts. Those are from me :
We actually needed the umbrella on the 3rd and final day. I was so blessed with great weather!
Secret speak-easy bar – got all dressed up for a great dinner and night out on the town:
More pooches, just chillin’ at the grocery:
Ended my journey with more people watching in the museumplein:
Can you see the bike with the giant box on the front?? That’s how people carry their kids everywhere. And no one wears helmets! WTH!
Boo…it was time to head home
And I got to figure out the crazy luggage pods from space:
Lo and behold, I had my little row to myself! Joy!
Enjoyed declaring all my fabulous gifts for my sweet angels:
And was so thrilled to get home to my baby girl on the evening of Mother’s Day. I was gone just long enough not to be missed too much!
I am one lucky wife and Mommy. Counting my blessings each and every day! Such a fabulous trip and the last-minute-ed-ness was one of the greatest parts. No worries about $$, no stressing about plans for B, no grown up concerns. People, we should travel like this more often!