Amsterdam

Amsterdam Canal Cruise – Day 2: The Blizzard Tour

At points visibility was really low!

At points visibility was really low!

Because we couldn’t get in all the canal cruises in on Day 1 we headed back to Amsterdam the next day despite the fact that it was snowing like heck most of the day. It actually made the day a bit more fun and adventurous especially because the Dutch railroad is NOT known for it’s dependability when it snows. In the back of our minds we thought there might be the possibility that we would have to find a bus to get home or a hotel to stay in overnight. Fortunately that wasn’t necessary and we were able to get home via the railroad.

Matt ready to take on day 2!

Matt ready to take on day 2!

This duck, however, thinks we're crazy!

This duck, however, thinks we’re crazy!

And, of course, it wouldn’t be an adventure without a picture of us! 🙂

Neither rain nor snow nor...oh wait that's not our motto!

Neither rain nor snow nor…oh wait that’s not our motto!

I didn’t take a lot of pictures this day because the snow was coming down pretty thick most of the day. It was fun but it was hard getting great pictures…

The visibility was like this on and off all day.

The visibility was like this on and off all day.

The next couple of shots are of a replica of the famous Dutch ship called The Amsterdam. It was an 18th Century cargo ship of the Dutch East India Company. If you would like to know all about this beautiful ship CLICK HERE.

Beautiful Dutch Ship

Beautiful Dutch Ship

Beautiful Dutch Ship 2

Beautiful Dutch Ship 2

Dutch flagging flying high!

Dutch flagging flying high!

Right next to this lovely ship you’ll find the National Maritime Museum also known as Het Scheepvaartmuseum!

Het Scheepvaartmuseum, Amsterdam

Het Scheepvaartmuseum, Amsterdam

Just in case you weren’t convinced about how cold it was, here are some icy canal photos. For more of a real experience put on the theme to Titanic and you’ll be hearing exactly what I was hearing (well, in my head at least…In reality I was hearing scraping ice on the side of the boat too…) while on the boat.

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Does that seagull look pissed to you? He’s at least moderately grumpy due to the whole ice thing…

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You can’t really tell from the photo but this ice is fairly thick.

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Ice covered boats, Amsterdam

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I think some of these boats have seen better days!

Here is some raw footage of our icy Amsterdam Canal cruise. Being I am so behind on my travel blogs I didn’t take any extra time to edit out and only pick the key moments but I think you’ll still enjoy watching this.

Matt in Amsterdam City Center in the snow!!!

Matt in Amsterdam City Center in the snow!!!

A very cold me in front of Amsterdam Centraal Station on way back to Alphen.

A very cold me in front of Amsterdam Centraal Station on way back to Alphen.

Amsterdam Centraal Station is housed in a really beautiful old and ornate building. Simply gorgeous. Check out this quick little video I made of the building and the area around it. It was impossible to get that big building in one photo and do it justice but the video does a really good job of it.

Well that’s all for our Amsterdam travels. Just a few more Netherlands post and we’re off to the next destination. Stay tuned for more…

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Categories: Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands, Netherlands | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

Amsterdam Canal Cruise – Day 1: The Sunshine Tour

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One of the many boats along the canal that fascinated me! This one is so romantic!

Right before we left Holland (maybe 5 days before) we decided that you can’t go to the Netherlands and not do an Amsterdam canal cruise. So despite the fact that it was really cold and the canals were freezing, we headed to Amsterdam to experience the waterways for ourselves.

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You can see by the above picture that the canals were all freezing and because of that there was only 2 of the 3 or 4 canal routes open. It was a really cool experience however if you’ve never heard the sound of ice scraping the side of the boat I can tell you that it is a little disconcerting. I just could not get the theme from the Titanic out of my head during both days of canal tours.

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Holland has some really nice architecture that you can’t see anywhere else in the world and seeing it from the canals is absolutely incredible!

Canals, bicycles, and seagulls...it must be Amsterdam!

Canals, bicycles, and seagulls…it must be Amsterdam!

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One thing I’ve learned from traveling is that you’re never too far from a Hard Rock Cafe and their ‘Save The Planet’ logo! Makes me smile every time!

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Some more beautiful architecture coming up…

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The detail on these buildings are stunning!

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It’s like a mini White House! I want to live here!

I can picture myself sunning in that wonderful sun room in this next house…

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Sun room and everything…

Me looking pretty damn cold...I was!

Me looking pretty damn cold…I was!

I think this next picture shows I was pretty justified in shivering….

Ice, Ice, Baby!!

Ice, Ice, Baby!!

I love the splashes of color that the boats add to the cold, icy landscape in these next few pictures!

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Most of the buildings in the city have family crests on top from days gone by. There were no numbers on the houses (and mostly there still aren’t) because the houses were identified by the crests and the buildings had names.

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This one has the crest on the door too!

And this next picture shows you how you move into one of these buildings. Due to the fact that in Amsterdam they build up and the buildings are tall and skinny the stairs are tall and skinny too making it impossible in most cases to move furniture in in the traditional way. Everything goes up and in the windows!

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In this next picture you’ll see that at the top of most of these buildings are hooks that were (and still are to some extent) used to load things up and into the building.

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Tommy Hilfiger knows how to get things directly shipped in to them…

Tommy Hilfiger, Amsterdam

Tommy Hilfiger, Amsterdam

Beautiful canal views!

Beautiful canal views!

Beautiful ornate bridge, Amsterdam

Beautiful ornate bridge, Amsterdam

And lots of house boats lined the canals. Almost tempts you to want to rent one for a bit and see how it is.

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We really loved these buildings on the canals with the green and red shutters.

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Accents of red and green brighten up the cold, grey day.

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Very cool clock tower coming up…

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And more very large house boats on the canals…

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What’s more Dutch than bicycles…everywhere!

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Imagine living on the canal like that? Amazing!

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Then there’s the famous Grasshopper! It has everything from a steak house on the top floor, a sports bar on the middle floor and a coffee shop on the bottom floor that serves that green stuff that Amsterdam is known for (thus the name ‘Grasshopper’). Behind this building begins the Red Light District of which I have no photos (you are strictly not allowed to and there are people watching that you don’t…even if you don’t see them).

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Schipol Airport's famous 'I amsterdam' sign at night in the snow.

Schipol Airport’s famous ‘I Amsterdam’ sign at night in the snow.

And here is a picture of Matt and I as we start out on our canal cruise…

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Here are two videos I took of the canal tours. Nothing Oscar winning but still has some really cool bits. I hope you enjoy! Stay tuned for Part 2 of this post where we return the next day during on and off blizzard conditions to take the other canal tour!

 

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Amsterdam, Netherlands – Part 1

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Chilling out in Amsterdam

Here are some pictures of my first adventure into Amsterdam just before Christmas. These aren’t the best pictures of Amsterdam (more will come in upcoming blog posts) but these are my first impression photos. 🙂

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Fog, Minney Mouse, and Christmas trees outside Schipol Airport, Amsterdam

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For our Florida friends…we’re thinking of you!

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Me and Mickey strike a pose!

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Amsterdam Centraal (train station) all decked out for Christmas!

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It was cold but everyone was out and about having fun! Amsterdam trams!

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More pretty buildings and happy people!

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It was quite busy in the square that night!

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Ice Skating rink…though it was cold it wasn’t COLD so the ice was actually melting and they kept sweeping the water off.

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This big building is the Apple Store in Amsterdam! It’s an incredibly beautiful building inside and out! Definitely check it out if you have the chance. It’s the biggest Apple store around I believe.

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More ice skaters in the square having fun!

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Welcome To Holland!

Me at Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam on Arrival!

I arrived here in Holland on Halloween morning, Matt and my 11th anniversary and thanks to a tail wind of about 100+ MPH my plane arrived a half hour early too. You certainly can’t complain about that. However because we were so early the pilot alerted us that there were no gates for us so we spend that half hour on the runway. Still not a big deal. I was happy to have the biggest part of my travel done with so no complaints from me.

Matt was waiting for me on the other side of the glass wall that separated all the arrivals waiting for their bags and all the people waiting for the arrivals. It was quite like a fishbowl really with the newly arrived being the fish and the people on the other side looking to see which fish they were going to take home with them. Fortunately Matt picked me! 🙂

After getting my bags and a brief visit to the airport Starbucks for a lifesaving latte we set out on the next part of the journey which was getting from Amsterdam to the little town of Alphen aan den Rijn with three big suitcases and a heavy backpack. Matt decided the bus would be best so we boarded and headed out on the half hour journey to Alphen. On arrival at the Alphen bus stop where we were hoping to catch another bus that would take us within a block of our apartment we found that it would be another hour and decided to walk it…with said large rolling luggage and heavy backpack. Needless to say it was the hardest part of the journey and after a few stops  to rest and re-position the bags we made it home.

My view as I write this blog. It’s a nice rainy day to write.

It’s a nice apartment with two bedrooms (one is an office where I am writing this blog..see above picture), bathroom with washer and dryer and a living room/kitchen.

So far I’ve been here four days and I’ve biked to the supermarket just like a native twice (once was even a solo trip…yeah, me!). But mostly we’re laying low so that I can get situated, unpacked, un-jet lagged, and so that Matt can recover from his cold that he has. I’ve grounded him until it’s gone. 🙂 Once he’s feeling better and I am not so darn sleepy we’ll head out to explore some more. Until then I just wanted to touch base with you all and let you know I am here and it’s a really nice little town. Very quiet, clean and everyone I’ve met so far has been really nice and helpful.

I’ll write again soon in a day or two. Until then take care and stay in touch!

Categories: Alphen aan den Rijn, Amsterdam, Netherlands | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

The Adventure Begins…Atlanta…Vampires…and Holland!

Behold….Atlanta where vampires, friends, and planes await me!

Well the time has finally come to begin my adventure to Holland. Matt has been there for almost four months now and I am now heading there. But first a quick stop in Atlanta…to meet some vampires and see a few friends. Yes, you heard me right…vampires!

Now some of you might not know this but I’ve been reading vampire novels and watching vampire movies since I can remember. My favorite show right now is The Vampire Diaries. So imagine my excitement when I learned that they film the show just outside of Atlanta, Georgia in a town called Covington and that a bunch of the stars of the show were going to be at a celebrity convention called EyeCon Halloween weekend. It fit in perfect with my plans to fly out of Atlanta!

Ian Somerhalder (Damon Salvatore) and Paul Wesley (Stefan Salvatore) of The Vampire Diaries – EyeCon Oct 2012, Atlanta, GA

So I drove to Atlanta and got pictures of myself with my favorite vampires from the show, Damon (Ian Somerhalder) and Stefan (Paul Wesley).

Me and Paul Wesley (A.K.A. Stefan Salvatore) of The Vampire Diaries!

Being a vampire fan (and a real fan of the actors, particularly Ian who has a great foundation called aptly enough The Ian Somerhalder Foundation) I thought it would be really cool to have photos of me with them. When else would I have the opportunity to meet them? Seize the day is what I say!

Me and Ian Somerhalder (A.K.A. Damon Salvatore) of The Vampire Diaries!

Well I met them both and am very happy to report that both Ian and Paul are extremely nice people. Also, Ian is an extremely good hugger. If you ever have the chance to get a hug from him definitely do it. It’s worth it. Also during that weekend I met Ian’s older brother, Bob Somerhalder, who is also extremely nice.

Me and Bob Somerhalder of Built of Barnwood

Bob has a business with his son, Peyton, and his brother, Ian, called Built of Barnwood that is fantastic. With this business they take wood from old buildings and recycle it by making furniture and all kinds of artwork from it all. Beautiful stuff! Also a portion of the money they make goes to great causes as well so definitely check them out at www.Builtofbarnwood.com (also, ‘Like’ them on Face Book by clicking here and Tweet them on Twitter by clicking here.)

Here is an excellent little video with Ian talking about his brother, Bob, and  Built of Barnwood.

After my vampire adventures I headed to our friend’s house to hang out for a few days before getting on my flight to Holland. BTW, I was told that when they were looking for a home to use as the Salvatore’s house in the Vampire Diaries they actually came to this house to check it out. Turns out they wanted something that looked a little darker and a little more like it had been around for hundreds of years so they passed on this house and went to Covington, Georgia instead. Still pretty cool!

Our new travel companion (Gordon…the Gecko) and I arrive at our friends’ house!

I always enjoy visiting with Scott and Cyndi. They have a beautiful home, four polite boys and they are always so hospitable. Thank you all for letting me invade your home. We’ll visit you again on the way back!

This is what controlled chaos looks like…trying to repack my bags for the flight!

Now many of you may not know why we’re heading to Holland so I’ll explain here. Matt, my other half, is helping another chiropractor over there to set up some chiro offices so we’re going to live there for a bit while that’s happening. And of course, we’ll be visiting other countries while we’re over there too. I know England, Switzerland and probably Germany are definitely on the list and who knows where else but then that’s what this blog is about, isn’t it?

So my adventures begin tonight and tomorrow when I arrive it will be Halloween and Matt and my 11th anniversary! Holy cow! How did that happen? I doesn’t seem like that long ago we met and started dating! Time flies!

Here I am in the limo on the way to the airport…

Oh and one more thing I want to mention from this side of the pond. The new international terminal at Atlanta Airport is actually LEEDS certified! For those of you who do not know LEEDS certified means the building is the best as far as being green and conserving energy.

Cool lights and decor at ATL airport’s new LEEDS certified International Terminal!

It was built to be energy efficient! I think that’s fantastic and more buildings should be created like that. We’ve only got one earth. Let’s do what we can to make it healthy for everyone and everything.

Another photo of ATL’s new International Terminal!

Well the next time I talk with you I’ll be in Holland with my adventures from the other side of the pond! I hope you’ll come back and read all about it.

So stay tuned and make sure you subscribe to the blog by entering your email address in the box at the upper right hand side of this blog. I promise you won’t get spam. The only thing you’ll get is an email from me when I post a new travel adventure! Go on do it. You’ll make me really happy if you do. 🙂

Categories: Alphen aan den Rijn, Amsterdam, Atlanta, Georgia, Marietta, Netherlands | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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