Saturday, July 12, 2008

Europe Part One

I think I could probably do more telling through pictures but then,... what would be the point of the blog? right? :) I will include lots of pictures though.

We had a fantastic time! Like seriously... a great time. We decided that it had been about 10 years since the four of us had traveled together. I had dropped my son off on Thursday with my Mother in law and it really made Friday much easier. We dropped off the cats and the dog, we finished our last minutes stuff and mom and dad picked me up and off we went.

It wasn’t until I got to the airport that I realized I had left my cruise tickets on my kitchen counter. Well SHIT! (sorry for the language, but really... it fits). We were going to run home to pick them up when we decided it would be much smarter to just have Lyndia from the office go and pick them up and overnight them to my aunt who was going to join us in Rotterdam. :) GREAT idea.

We board the plane... Kristin and I are sitting together and Mom and Dad are right behind us. It’s nice because we each have our very own television screens and a choice of six or so channels. Kiki and I get our game plan going and figure out what we are going to watch... cause of course, we have to watch the same thing. ;) And the plane ride goes marginally quickly... EXCEPT for the fact that I ate the Beef Lasagna... and..... got food poisoning. UGH. Threw up once (sorry for the TMI) in the bathroom and again as we landed... my sister luckily blocked me from my parents as the whole sympathy vomiting thing is an issue with my mom. I never knew that having those little barf bags would be so handy!

We landed in Amsterdam at 8:20 in the morning, which was 1:20 AM in Houston. We gathered our luggage and off we went to get our rental car stopping to take a picture, of course.

We quickly realized that our rental car wouldn’t fit all of our luggage and switched to a volvo. The guy at the rental car place gave us several places we should go to.. and off we went. We decided to go to our hotel first as we wanted to drop off our luggage... and we got lost. We drove around the city looking for the correct way to get up on the highway and all of a sudden, we look up and THERE’s our hotel. How does this happen? :)

We check in, go to our rooms, drop our stuff and head back out for Amsterdam proper. We find a nice side street, park and walk toward the canals.... and they were GORGEOUS! I wasn’t prepared for the architecture and the flowers. It was all just so stunning. And EVERYONE, like EVERY SINGLE PERSON rides a bike over there. :) So healthy they are.

We stopped and had some breakfast of panini’s and coffee (I stuck with plain grilled cheese which was wonderful) and people watched. There were young families riding by on their bikes. A father with a brand new baby girl in their fashionable Stokke Stroller (I stopped to admire the baby which made my heart twinge). Business meetings and couples strolling by aimlessly on this cool Saturday morning.

We headed for the Centrum of town... and found ourselves in an open air market with everything from mushroom lollipops to antiques. We saw a young boy with a dog on a leash smoking a joint... random, I know. There were headbands, t-shirts and purses... cheap dresses, leather jackets and cannibus seeds. Each aisle had something different.

I wanted to see the flower market, Kristin wanted to see the “coffee shops” and Dad was just happy to be with all of us. :) We managed to accomplish it all. Postcards were bought, coffee was drunk, miles were walked!

Cost of a plane ticket to Amsterdam: $1000

Calories burned walking all over Amsterdam: 600

Seeing your parents sit in a “coffee shop”... taking it ALL in: PRICELESS

HA! I know I should probably not advertise that... but c’mon... we were in Amsterdam! We didn’t see the Red Light district... we had to visit a “coffee shop”.

We had the opportunity to meet an American lady now living in Amsterdam who gave us a recommendation for dinner... and we headed back to our car. After getting hopelessly lost AGAIN... we found ourselves on the correct street and in a moment of frustration parked... we looked up and we were in front our restaurant. Whoda thunk it! We had a delightful dinner at a traditional Dutch restaurant and although exhausted.. thoroughly enjoyed it!

More to come... :)

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