Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Netherands!

I fell in love with Amsterdam. Period. No ifs, ands or buts about it.
Finally catching up with the second leg of our European vacation -- not to be confused with Chevy Chase's film! This is a series of five or six posts about the Netherlands -- I hope you'll be as captivated as I was! (NOTE: Some of the photos aren't quite fitting the blogger template -- they're a little wide. So click on them to see full screen.)
We started out with a bit of a panic -- we weren't sure if we'd be sitting in the rumble seat of the train or in a soft seat. 
Well, after a short ride with the luggage, we ended up in a comfy, cozy seat and the three-hour trip from Paris was a breeze. 
We arrived and met our hosts -- blogger Tara Bradford and her husband David -- at the train station. (I had forgotten the landmark where Tara had said to meet, so there was a bit of a panic, but all was well. We headed off to Tara's lovely home and then made a trip to the grocery store with David.
I'd never seen so much cheese! And the store was gorgeous!
 I loved the cabinets for the cold and frozen food -- full length glass doors!
After a lovely dinner and a long chat, we settled in for the night and hit Amsterdam the next day!
I can't do it justice. The canals are amazing and everywhere.
And Rick was in seventh heaven with all the bikes. 
Everyone in Holland rides a bike, I think. Bikes have wide, smooth lanes and you'll see them with babies on board, baskets of shopping goods and more.
There is nothing shy about the Dutch. There are portapotties (for men, at least) on the streets! (It dawned on me later that these MAY have been set up in advance for Queen's Day, but I'm not certain. Anyone know for sure?)
Then there was the flower market! Oh, what beauty! 
Gorgeous flowers were everywhere. 
Rick spent some time finding nasturtium seeds (which, I am pleased to say, have finally bloomed!)
I would have loved to take home bulbs, but I was pretty sure that wouldn't fly!
After a concert and museum-going (a future post) we walked throughout the town and sat by one of the canals. 
Well, I sat. Rick took a nap!
We also enjoyed the local brew -- Heineken...
...and a tasty lunch! I had pannenkock spec (which was a Dutch pancake with bacon.)
And more flowers. 
Truly, though the skies were gray, Amsterdam was anything but colorless. 
And I loved it all!
Next -- The Concertgebouw -- and the good thing about not buying tickets early!

Travel Tips!

1) Don't lose the paper that says where you will meet your hosts at the train station until you've committed it to memory. It just isn't nice.

2) The Dutch -- or at least most of them -- speak English and are very friendly and helpful. 

3) Try to find your way to a local grocery store if you have the opportunity. The food differences are fascinating (and even inexpensive chocolate bars beat Snickers hands down!)

4) Amsterdam has a wonderful tram system and is easy to manipulate. But it's also a lovely city for walking. Wear comfy shoes -- and watch out for bikes!


Joanne Huffman said...

It looks enchanting. I was in Amsterdam in 1966 and have fond memories. Other than that, my trips to Amsterdam have been limited to Schipol (sp?) Airport.

Annie said...

Good morning, Jeanie. Looks like we have another adventure ahead of us.

Marilyn said...

Oh I remember watching out for bikes, they will run you down and they are as you said everywhere. Loved the flower market and walking along the canals. We did bring several bags of tulips home. Ours got through because they were certified (had to pay more) and someone else by us got confiscated (she should have known as she worked for the airlines). The tulips were suppose to be blue and purple, but came up red and yellow. Oh well, they still were from the Netherlands. Can't wait to travel through there again maybe this time next year.

Anonymous said...

oh I enjoyed this so much, I doubt i will ever see Amsterdam so this was wonderful!Thankyou so much for sharing with us,

shoreacres said...

I always come to your posts with a mixture of eagerness and envy. The photos are beautiful, and your adventures and tips always are the best! I do think of flowers first when I think of the Netherlands, so this was a great place to start!

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

I have never been to Amsterdam, but these photos make me want to visit! What a charming city. I love the pictures you shared. I have fallen in love with biking, too, so would love to try biking in that city! Can't wait to read the next installments! :)

Retired English Teacher said...

I only spent one day in Amsterdam in 2010, but i loved it. These photos brought back so many memories. Jim was sick the day we were there, so I had to tour without him. I didn't see much of the actual city, but I did take a tour of the canals.

Everything looks interesting, colorful, and unique to our way of life.

paris parfait said...

Jeanie, never mind about the train station mixup - we were delighted to have you here! Lovely to see Amsterdam through your eyes (and your enthusiasm for the grocery store. Ha ha). It never ceases to amaze me how men can "nap" seemingly anywhere. Glad your got your flowers home (I didn't know about the certified bit)!

Tracy said...

WOW... all those flowers shake up my heart! I love the architecture too. Would love to see Amsterdam! Very fun to hear/see about your experiences. Can't to see more. European chocolate is the best! I almost can't eat the chocolate back home in American when we go there now... Bad to say, I know, but there it is. ;o) LOL... Happy Days, Jeanie ((HUGS))

Susan Bailey said...

I don't know if you watch House Hunters International but they do The Netherlands frequently. In one episode they showed a couple purchasing a house boat. Those things are amazing - literally beautiful houses on the water!

My son's girlfriend comes from the Netherlands - I'll have to show her your blog.

Barefoot from Heaven said...

Hello there Jeanie.

I opened Debbie's blog (one lens style) to see what she was up to lately. And my eye cauth the picture of Amsterdam. I'm so sorry but I had to come and look behind your doormat.

I am amazed how tourists look at my capital city. And you've done it more than wonderful. Your shots made me smile and even more so that 'our guys' do 'there thing' outdoors and even in public ;-) So let me tell you, they are always there, festival or not. To me they never were strange but now I look at the pie corners (as we call them sorry about that) in a whole new way.....blush blush....what kind of people are we Europeans anyway? Again sorry about that.

Other than our funny guys thing you've seen typical Dutch street views. The bikes for instance, the average Dutch person owns 3 bikes. #1 is the regular one that takes him/her to school/work. #2 is a sports bike like a mountain bike or race bike. #3 is a drinking bike(zuipfiets) this is a real old one that might even take you flat on your face when you're a little tipsy.

Well enough about our strange habbits. You might think we belong on Mars insteat of living in such a beautiful country.
Anyhow the most impressive words were about our supermarkets. How funny you talk about the full length glass doors....hihih.

If there is any change I can move to my beloved Canada or Seattle US I'd take the plane tomorrow. As much as I love my country and I feel very very blessed to have such a wonderful FREE life. I miss the space and the days to walk for hours without even crossing another persons path. Holland is getting way to crowded. So if any one want's to swap place with let me know :-)

Well Jeannie it was nice meeting you. I hope your husband didn't sleep his way through the whole holidays and have to follow your blog to see where you had all the fun. ;-)

To you and all other bloggers be welcome in my country at any time.
Wonderful blessed hugs.

ps sorry this got way to long. smiles

Janet said...

The flowers are gorgeous! And the canals look so lovely and peaceful. I recently watched an HGTV program about living abroad in Amsterdam. It looks like an exciting and beautiful city...and your photos show that.

Barb said...

Gosh, Jeanie - your photos are amazing. That is a place I'd really like to visit. Bob would be with Rick - admiring all the bikes and bike lanes! I'm glad Rick wasn't arrested as a homeless person for sleeping on the bench - but I guess if they're allowing peeing in public, they're pretty lenient!

Introverted Art said...

wow those tulips are amazing. I will have to add Amsterdam to my bucket list.

Arti said...

What a colorful post. Amsterdam is so beautiful. I was there decades ago, only stopped by a couple of days, but how I wish I could go back for more. Glad you'll be offering us virtual tours over a series of posts. Just curious, did you visit the Anne Frank House? I missed that the last time I was there. Hope you'll touch on that in your future posts.

Oh said...

I love that you take your camera into local stores and shopes. It is one of the best ways to get to know a place...any place. What a wonderful trip for you and Rick! And the longboats on the canals...I often think I could live that way.
Hope there's more. Two of our friends here just got married and are honeymooning in Amsertdam!

Sounds like a "must see!"

Jennifer Richardson said...

fascinating and brilliantly beautiful.
so glad you let me come along
for the ride.
and, as I often am after i've popped over to visit you,
i'm hungry;)

~*~Patty S said...

ooo and ahhhh
it was so many years ago now that I got to visit Amsterdam...lovely to see some of it thru your eyes Jeanie!

Relyn Lawson said...

It's amazing how many things we have in common. I dream of travelling to Amsterdam. Aside for their art museums, I dream of going to the Beje, Corrie ten Boom's home. She's my hero.

jet1960 said...

How wonderful to get to meet up with friends and enjoy such a beautiful place. Laughing at the outdoor "facilities" and at Rick napping on a bench! You always have the most amazing adventures! Sorry to be so far behind on blog visits. I am on blogging myself, as well.

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