Summer 2017 has been breathtaking, stunning, memorable, and so many other things.
I wish I could put all of it into words, but I really don’t think I can. I mean, how do you explain everything you’ve experienced when you visited so many places and when you’ve created so many memories with your best friend.
I thought the summer that Trevor and I got married would be the best summer of my life. Don’t get me wrong, that summer had so many amazing things going for it, but this one tops it. We worked through struggle and this summer was a celebration of conquering hard things in our life together. Despite all of the ick going on early in our marriage, we got to feel some of the most amazing feelings in the world this summer. We felt a heck of a lot of love. We felt a pulse for adventure and a spirit of exploring. We pushed ourselves out of our comfort zones and found something even more miraculous. We focused on our marriage in ways we didn’t know was possible.
While I don’t think many future events will top this summer’s adventures, I can’t wait to see what is ahead and how I’ll be proved wrong in this way.
(Psst… Hoping to write about Portland soon-ish, but we’ll see…)
Glad you’ve come back to hear more about our European Adventures! BTW, you can check out the hashtag #tandeineurope to see some of the photos that I’ve posted there from/during our trip.
AMSTERDAM DAY 2 / LAST FULL DAY IN AMSTERDAM 😦
So yeah, we slept a whole freaking 12 hours from a long day of travel and whatnot. We were both exhausted from all of that travel (clearly, since Trevor fell asleep at the Van Gogh Museum).
So Day 2 – I found out the news of the ants when I woke up. We woke up to a message from our host saying he’d send someone over to get that checked out. So we got dressed and headed out for some food. We found a cute little place, La Pain Quotidien, just down the road from our AirBnB. We drank what we deemed the best orange juice ever (clearly this was a judgment we revoked later on when we drank even better orange juice) and had some delicious food.
After some full tummies, we went to Rijksmuseum. The exterior architecture of Rijksmuseum was absolutely phenomenal. Like, breathtaking. We had a difficult time trying to figure out how to go in and spent some time in their garden area first. There was a really cool fountain that Trevor and I enjoyed the mist spraying off of for a while – which was perfect for a hot, summer day! Eventually, we made it inside and saw some incredible work by Vermeer, Rembrandt, and many other artists. Inside there was also an absolutely AMAZING library. Imagine the library in Beauty & The Beast – that’s what it was like. The photo below is a very not good representation of its wonder and beauty.
Beautiful stained glass windows inside Rijksmuseum
A sculpture of the Virgin Mary & Baby Jesus
Trevor gazing at art
More art gazing
The most spectacular library I’ve ever seen
When we were all art-ed out, we strolled along the canals on our way to Anne Frank House. It was pretty easy to tell when we had made it by the sizable line out front. I had looked up tickets about a month and a half in advance before our trip and they were sold out already, so I knew we’d be waiting in a line for a while to get inside. Boy, am I glad we waited it out. The experience inside gave me every possible emotion. I felt joy for the life that Anne and her family experienced before going into hiding, for her perspective on life, for her ability to live so much in such a short time. I felt sorrow for how her story ended, for her father, Otto’s loss of everyone, for the pain they had to endure in hiding and in the camp. I felt anger for fellow tourists who clearly showed no respect to the house or those taking in everything they saw (don’t even get me started on this). I felt anger for how not just Anne and her family were treated but all those who were afflicted by this treatment, purely for their religion and culture. I didn’t feel as though I was paying to see a historical site. I felt like I was paying so others could understand and perhaps take a new perspective on life. If you’re in Amsterdam, go, even if that means waiting in a long line.
The experience inside gave me every possible emotion. I felt joy for the life that Anne and her family experienced before going into hiding, for her perspective on life, for her ability to live so much in such a short time. I felt sorrow for how her story ended, for her father, Otto’s loss of everyone, for the pain they had to endure in hiding and in the camp. I felt anger for fellow tourists who clearly showed no respect to the house or those taking in everything they saw (don’t even get me started on this). I felt anger for how not just Anne and her family were treated but all those who were afflicted by this treatment, purely for their religion and culture. I didn’t feel as though I was paying to see a historical site. I felt like I was paying so others could understand and perhaps take a new perspective on life. If you’re in Amsterdam, go, even if that means waiting in a long line.
After visiting, we stood outside and I just kind of took it all in. I don’t know that I’ll ever stop processing that part of the trip….
The worst part of waiting in line for the Anne Frank House was, without a doubt, the amazing smell of pancakes next door. Once we finished our time paying our respects and learning a very intense history lesson, we made our way to eat some Dutch pancakes. What makes a Dutch pancake different from an American pancake? I tried Googling that very same thing while in Amsterdam and didn’t really find any answers. From my personal experience: a Dutch pancake is like if a crêpe and an American pancake had a baby.
Once we were stuffed to the brim with carbs, we headed back to our AirBnB and changed into some warmer clothes. We of course immediately checked to see if there were any ants around, which there were still plenty of.
This was one of the rare cooler nights on the trip. We headed out to take some pictures around town with the Pentax K1000, Polaroid, and of course, our Nikon in tow. We walked around the more touristy areas near Dam Square, but I didn’t last long because I was very tired from a day of walking. We ended up back at the AirBnB for an earlier bedtime as the next day was a travel day.
I’ll keep sharing the rest of our journey through Europe so check back later for more!
I’m finally getting around to sharing the deets of our lovely trip to Europe… So, without further ado, let’s get started! Just a little heads up – there’s a mixture of pictures from our Nikon and both of our iPhones.. I’ll try to keep it all cohesive though!
Amsterdam was the one place on this trip I had not visited before. After seeing several photos of the amazing city, I thought it’d be a great place to add to our trip when we decided we for sure wanted to do London and Paris.
Our flight left Minneapolis and connected through Paris CDG. It was a relatively easy flight with good food. Our hope was to get a few hours of sleep on the plane since we’d arrive in Amsterdam around 10 am and would start our first day. Did that happen? Well… We did get some sleep, but not as much as we’d hoped for.
So, we make it to Amsterdam no problem, other than a slightly delayed flight at CDG – great, am I right? We hop on the train to head to Dam Square (the wrong one at first – oops) and head to our AirBnB. Now we booked a lot of our trip using credit card points – all our flights and hotel rooms were covered through points. So when you hear we were in an AirBnB, those nights were meant to be small on our budget, even though we saved tons of moola on flights and lodging. Our Amsterdam AirBnB was quite small. The pictures online lent to that idea but were very well taken and made it look larger than it truly was. We were on the top floor, almost in a little attic type space. It felt like a million degrees out, which did not help with the sweaty situation that was created by 3 flights of stairs. We freshened up and decided to head out to wander around. On our way out of our AirBnB, two men are standing at the front entry and are shocked to see us! One, apparently the building owner, even exclaimed, “You’re not supposed to be here!” I was shocked and scared that we had gone to the wrong place, even though we had gotten the key with no problem. Apparently, our host didn’t receive our texts about having arrived safely and sent the owner over to make sure the lock was still in working order!
I had pre-bought tickets for the Van Gogh Museum for our first day in Amsterdam as it was my top priority for our time there. Van Gogh is my favorite painter, you can ask Trevor…. Anyhow, we walked around the area of our AirBnB, wandered around the canals, and eventually made our way to the Van Gogh Museum after a brief stop by the IAmsterdam sign. We were dying of heat at this point. Thank goodness for air-conditioned museums! We spent a little more time than probably necessary at the Van Gogh Museum, just soaking up the cool relief of the AC! Now keep in mind, many museums have rooms that are darker (this museum included), there was AC, and we traveled many hours to finally get to Amsterdam… This was the perfect recipe for Trevor to fall asleep. Yes, he actually fell asleep while we sat for a bit on a bench.
Van Gogh replica on full-size wall
Trevor & me out front of the Museum
After a nice time at the Museum, we took a longer way back to our AirBnB and saw the Apple Store in Amsterdam. Trevor really wanted to see a few in Europe over our trip, so we took advantage of their AC and great wifi. Night One in Amsterdam, we ended up eating Italian. Yes, I know, we weren’t in Italy, but it was the closest food we could find that we could both agree upon! We ate some amazing pepperoni pizza before heading back to the AirBnB.
I zonked out pretty promptly after getting back to our AirBnB. Trevor, however, discovered ants. Yes, our smaller-than-imagined-AirBnB, was also now invested with ants. Trevor took some photos of where they were thriving and messaged our host via my account since we couldn’t get ahold of him from his phone number earlier. I am so thankful he didn’t wake me up to tell me. I slept 12 hours that night and probably could’ve slept more. Plus…the next day was filled with just as many adventures…
More about Amsterdam and the rest of our journey through Europe to come later, keep on checking back!