So I haven’t blogged in a long time…mostly due to the fact that I am totally swamped with schoolwork and am busy busy busy. But, that is good as that after all, the reason for the trip! I have made some major progress on my research and am wrapping everything up here on that front, which feels really good! My time with Todd and Kate was so fun. We had a lot of fun here in Norway and then traveled over to the Netherlands for a long weekend, Amsterdam to be specific. We stayed right down in the center of everything, the city of Amsterdam was designed around the canals, basically a series of concentric U-shaped canals, which are beautiful! It looks like the picture below, the place that we we stay was within the center-most (smallest) U, and it was insanely awesome!
The first night we arrived, we had dinner with some wonderful former-Minnesotans that we know, Rachael and Joe who are living in Amsterdam for a few years. They brought us to an awesome mexican restaurant, which as you can imagine, was and AMAZING change of pace for my Scandinavian taste buds! They showed us around a little (including a very brief stroll through the red light district, which was our only trip to that part of town!), as well as showed us a grocery store so we could stock up on some groceries. We ended up booking a place through Airbnb, which is a website that allows people to rent out their homes, we ended up staying in one of the oldest neighborhoods in Amsterdam up about 3 stories. It was amazing!
As many of you are probably aware, Amsterdam has a reputation for being one of the most “colorful” cities in Europe, and it seems that pretty much anything goes. Legal marajuana, legal prostitution, etc. Picture a European playground…much like the Vegas of Europe! HOWEVER, I think most people who have visited this great city know that there is so much more to the city than that, and we enjoyed our time there so much.
Thanks Rachael and Joe!
Some highlights of our time include:
Flee market shopping! Amsterdam has LOTS AND LOTS of flee markets, so of course we had to check those out. Todd humored Kate and I.
Tulips! The classic Dutch flower! The official “tulip weekend” was the weekend before we arrived, so we unfortunately (or fortunately) missed that, but still saw a lot of tulips!
Amsterdam is home to some of the greatest museums in the world, pictured above is the Rijksmuseum. Other famous museums include the Van Gogh museum, as well as the Anne Frank huis. Unfortunately the lines for all of these places were INSANE, like an average wait time of over three hours. We weren’t up for lines like that, BUT we did walk to all of these places just to see them!
Anne Frank House and surrounding view!
The canals of Amsterdam are so so so amazing, we couldn’t stop taking pictures of them. We spend most days just walking along them, taking in the sites and sounds of this crazy city.
Vondelpark, a very famous and beautiful park in Amsterdam, also home to one of the famous Iamsterdam landmarks.
Amsterdam is home to some famous food items, such as bitterballen (imagine deep fried sausage gravy, it is AMAZING), cheese cheese and cheese (gouda to be specific is very famous here, named after the city of Gouda in Holland), as well as Jenever which is Dutch gin. We tried them all! As well as other delish street foods we came across.
Bitterballen, delicious fried balls of gravy, served with pickles and mustard. A favorite dutch bar food.
Poffertjes, dutch fried dough/mini pancakes. They were INSANELY delicious. Kate and I discovered these at yet another flee market we perused one day. We approve!
Vaffles! Of all shapes and sizes can be found here, we like ours covered in chocolate, then whipped cream, then bananas and strawberries. So so so good.
And we of course had to try some Dutch pancakes. These pancakes are different from what we would call a pancake in America. On the menu they have sweet and savory pancakes, divided under those headings. These are HUGE pancakes, together we ate one sweet one (with cheddar cheese and apples baked in it) and one savory (with bacon, cheese, and onions baked in it). Needless to say, they were amazing.
And finally, Jenever. The dutch tradition is to fill up your Jenever glass all the way to the brim, and then sip the first sip without lifting the glass off of the table, Todd informed us. And of course, we were raised to respect the traditions of other cultures! Thanks mom and dad! You will notice the awesome background of this picture is an old old old “bar” called a “brown room”. Brown rooms are places that we would call a bar, that are so old that the walls have turned brown from all of the smoke. They are pretty amazing!
Most nights we made dinner at home and ate on our rooftop deck which was amazing!
My travel companions! We really had the trip of a lifetime together. Thanks Todd and Kate!
There are many many many more pictures on my shutterfly site, so please check them out! We had such a great time together. Ben arrives tomorrow (WOOHOOOOOOOO) and I am beyond excited. We have some adventures planned including a trip to his motherland of Scotland, so we are very excited! Will post again sooner than later! Trying to soak up my remaining time here, feeling very bittersweet about my time almost being over here. I have really had the time of my life here but at the same time am ready to go home when that time comes!