europe adventure // amsterdam

12.24.2014

"its a world of laughter a world of fear, its a world of hopes and a world of tears...
its a world that we share and its time we're aware its a small world after all..."

in my head. on repeat. i suppose you can take the california girl out of the magic kingdom but you can't take the magic kingdom out of the girl. this fact aside, holland was like a dream. of course the bells, lights, canals, bridges (and clogs) reminded me of what i had only ever experienced as make-believe. it reminded me of disneyland -- only, this place was real. this is the place that disneyland is trying to transport you to. and here we were.

after separating from my parents we landed in amsterdam on a wet sunday night. the rain wasn't too light, it wasn't too heavy. it fell from the black sky softly on the quiet cobblestone streets. it returned to the still canals whose warmly lit reflections were disturbed ever so slightly, transforming their usually clear pictures to impressionist works of art. we walked in the rain that night, listening to the bells chime their music-box-like songs and watching the lights of the bridges flicker over the water.

morning came fast and we set off in exploration. from our hotel to the train station and then walked to dam square. from dam square we walked to bloemenmarkt, the worlds only floating flower market! we bought tulips to share and to plant some of our own. our wedding flowers were orange tulips, they are scheduled to bloom (if i don't kill them first... ) this spring, around our ten year anniversary. we did a lot more walking from the flower market to museumplein. museumplein means museum square and is, as the name would indicate, where all the museums reside. we scoped it out but decided to return later. from there we walked SOME MORE to this craft brewery and vowed to not walk anymore... at least until we had to leave. the beer (plus cheese & sausage) was the best of the trip.

the next day we opted to join the rest of the amsterdammers in their mode of transport -- the bicycle. bicycles were everywhere. they ruled the rodes the way the cars rule the 5 freeway in LA. they were rounding corners, jingling their bells, locked up on bridges, fences, and poles. so we figured if you can't beat them -- join them. best decision ever. what fun we had! i was worried that i was going to get hit by a car at first; or worse yet, slow down a dutchman on his way to work while he zoomed around me cursing tourism. thankfully i can report neither of those things happened! (i hope). we rode through the charming, neighborhoody area of jordaan, rented a paddleboat and paddled around the canals for an hour. it was a blast to get another view of the city whilst working off some of the gouda from the day prior. from the canals we rode to the rijksmuseum for vermeer & rembrandt. they were wonderful. the museum itself is such a beauty. (see IG for a photo of the building). it boasts a bicycle path through its center so you can see through the glass windows into the museum on either side as you peddle along to the sounds of violists playing vigorously in efforts to earn a few euro. after a slice of marzipan cake, glass of rose and obligatory jaunt through the gift shop we returned our bicycles and went out for a proper dutch dinner -- more meat and more cheese. fine by me. ;)

we departed from amsterdam for an early morning train to belgium by way of rotterdam. next stop: bruges.

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