Sunday, March 8, 2015

March 2015 -- Amsterdam

This blog post has been a long time coming.

March was a long month and started off with a 4 day trip to Amsterdam.  Cam was invited to tour a facility there and he in turn invited us to tag along. So what could have been an overnight trip for Cam turned into a long weekend away for all of us. (I'll just say up front, it was very weird to be seeing and doing without Johanna sharing our adventures - but she was having her own adventures in Canada.)

The palace on Dam Square.  (Nicole in particular got a kick out of saying "Let's go to the "Dam Square".)

The sign says Dam Good Coffee - but Nicole was excited to see giant jars of Nutella!
Our first stop after Dam Square was the Rijksmuseum.  I read somewhere that 
Amsterdam has more museums than any other European city.  We only went to one.

I was a teenager when I first saw a photo of this painting "Night Watch" by Rembrandt.
I was very excited to see it in person.

These are communion cups! Super size me!

This is a paint box - with our painter in the back ground!

Modern art

Nicole found Mr. van Gogh's brush strokes needed closer inspection.

I learned that Napoleon helped standardize weights and measures across Europe.  

Back at Dam Square we watched a performance of  break dancing.

We enjoyed a tour of the canals by boat. I was surprised by the number of house boats moored along the canals.

We should have rented the hotel's bicycles and saved our poor feet!

Saw a few of these decorative signs on old buildings.

Lots of unique restaurants! This one is vegan Japanese and Caribbean.

Waiting outside our hotel for Rolf, Cam's business contact kindly spent a day showing us around
We didn't choose the hotel, but it had a good breakfast, and was centrally located.  On the downside, we were a
couple of floors from the kids, the rooms were tiny and the lighting was poor.

Zaanse Schans:

Rolf took us first to Zaanse Schans which is a bit like an historical village, except people live and work there.
The first thing we noticed was the amazing smell from the chocolate factory nearby.  Mmm!

Handmade shoe making demo - for the tourists.

I tried some on - but they hurt my feet!

Sam tried some on too!

We walked along the canal.

We got to go inside a windmill, which I thought was really cool.
The one we were in was grinding peanuts and producing peanut oil!

Nicole watching the blades turn.

Next Rolf took us to Volendam (fishing village) where we had lunch. 

Lunch menu

Mmm!  Kibblings!  

We also ate raw herring while we waited for the kibblings.

Then we went to Marken by boat.

The harbour at Marken.

Marken was a delightful fishing village with canals and drawbridges. 

People live and work here.  There is access by car and by boat.
There wasn't much open, but we walked around for a bit before Rolf took us back to the city.

Back in Amsterdam Central:
(in no particular order)
Flower market ... too early for blooms but just right for bulbs!

Iconic Amsterdam, cheese, bikes and slippers shaped like wooden shoes!

Het Scheepvaartmuseum
The National Maritime Museum
Sam outside the Maritime Museum
It looks kind of dull on the outside, but they had fascinating displays.

Below deck, Sam is testing his strength by moving some crates.
This replica of a Dutch trader was great fun to explore!

Walking the plank ... into the ship!

The Captain's cabin - guess who is sleeping in his bed?

Ready, aim, FIRE!
Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum:

This one is for Johanna!  At Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum

Oprah getting ready to interview Nicole.
Cam and Dame Edna

Sam and Spiderman

I don't know what it was about Amsterdam, but it was the most exhausting trip.  I was foot sore and cranky the whole time we were away. It didn't help that we got terrible directions a couple of times, so ended up walking a long way out of our way and still not finding what we were looking for. (Sorry Sam and Nicole!)

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