Wow Natalie, get better at blogging. So this trip I’m about to describe happened over a month ago so please bare with. Del, Gen, Rosalie and myself all decided to rent a car and make our way over to the Netherlands. Instead of leaving the Tuesday morning, we left Monday night after Rosalie managed to coax us to rent a cabin half an hour outside of Amsterdam. IT WAS SO NICE. JUST LOOK.
Getting there was a whole other story. Which involved us rapidly, quickly, and frantically driving through Belgium basically just avoid that whole mess of a country. Instead we managed to get right from Arras to the border of the Netherlands in t minus 2 hours. That’s when things took a wee little detour when we missed four of our exits, only to find ourselves on our way to The Hague instead of Amsterdam. Yea. So we found a Shell Gas Station – filled with lizards and truckers a plenty. The Shell attendant sold us a map and it turns out because The Netherlands takes like 45 minutes to drive across so we managed to get on track fairly quickly. Then, once we a literally 3 minutes away from our destination BAM the bridge getting us into the park is just none existent. Yep, government just decided to up and close that bad boy. So again, we were confused, I was frustrated, we stopped at a hotel to get directions and it worked! Huzzah for locals! We found our way finally! It was gorgeous! Reminded me of being at the cottage or on a family road trip, so lovely. Played some Hearts, drank some beer, and slept in!
The next morning we slowly made our way over to the car, then off to Amsterdam! Because Europe just decides that it’s too good for street signs, we – again – got lost. No problems because everything in The Netherlands is the size of a pinky finger and we grabbed a parking spot then walked to our hostel! The Flying Pig! Even though we ended up splitting two Queen-Sized Bunks they were the most comfortable beds and comforters ever. But more on that later.
We decided to just play it by ear, walk around, and all in all just enjoy the city.
At one point, after so much good food, we found a nice quite canal to sit near and enjoy the fact that it wasn’t raining. (Believe me, if this summer has taught me anything it’s how much one appreciates sunlight when one has not seen it for weeks).
We settled in and found that a bird family had also decided to settle in and boom build a nest. Strangest looking birds ever, n’est pas? (More on these birds later…)
After what felt like hours, but was in reality only 20 minutes, we got spooked by the couple sitting across the canal from us, way too involved with each other if you catch my drift, and we decided to … big surprise … get more food. This time pie, cheesecake and tea. The thing that I will never be able to forgive France for is their tea selection. It is just pitiful so now I have to take advantage of tea wherever I can, Amsterdam being one of them. While we were eating we were wonderfully serenaded by a musician in a boat in a canal. It was like a four way honeymoon. Cute.
We dragged our tired selves all through the Western area of central Amsterdam and more or less just soaked up the atmosphere. Holy crap, fell in love with this country. Minus their overtly racist laws. They take bikes everywhere, decorate them however they like, and put whatever they like in them. Like a whole bunch of cheese!
That night we ended up just staying put at the Flying Pig, taking full advantage of their beer specials and the deck of cards we brought. The one thing both Gen and I really wanted to do was go to Anne Frank House, so the next morning we dragged our butts outta bed and all (minus sleepy badger Del) trudged over to Anne Frank’s.
Anne Frank’s room I think of all of the museum really had the most impact out of any of it I think. And after all that, we decided to grab a nice big breakfast of BAGELS. Again, France step your game up and get some bagels, or even anything remotely bagel-esque.
Afterward, we all decided since we really hadn’t seen too much of the city that we’d take a New Europe Walking Tour. Now I’d already done the one in Prague (which was fabulous), so we figured we’d take the Amsterdam one. SUCH A GOOD IDEA. This is us all ready and raring to go for our tour.
Probably the best tour guide ever, Geert (yes that was his name), showed us all around the city. This is the best creeper shot I could get, so here’s Geert in all his glory at the head offices of the Dutch East Indies Trading Company.
With a full two days spent in a car or steadily walking around, we decided just to eat at the first place we found. Ending it all up with beer and waffles surrounded by a castle and a moat. Not too shabby.