Apr 21, 2012

The Netherlands day 1 & 2

Day one

After sleeping for a solid 13 hours, we hung out around our cabin, ate Dutch goodies, and went for a short bike ride to a castle! We kept it pretty simple, since we were all still exhausted.

Audrey Hepburn's grandmother used to own this castle, and after that the last German Kaiser lived there!

We explored the grounds, and found this super cool horse made out of logs and twigs! Epic, right? 

On the ride back we admired the houses. Pretty much every single house is photogenic and gorgeous. It's ridiculous.

Day Two
April 4th

I started out feeling restless, bored and ready to go do something. And also missing the internet.
 So I ate and photographed vla. :) 
Vla is an amazing subtly sweet yoghurty pudding that is rather hard to explain, but is delicious. Why can't we have it in America, I ask you??

Sis and I took a short walk in the woods by our cabin, just to get out.

And then in the afternoon we went for our first big adventure!
Bus ride to Utrecht Centraal Station, train to Amsterdam!
 Waiting at the bushalte. (Bus stop)

It was so strange, just sitting on the bus and hearing all the passengers chatting in a different language. I knew everyone would be speaking Dutch, but somehow it was still a surprise when ... well, everyone was speaking Dutch! 

On the train I had my first thought in Dutch. It was weird, but I was kind of impressed with myself. ;)

Waves of people, tsunamis of bikes.
Notice the special path just for bikes? Yes. Wherever there's a road, there's a bike path. It's awesome.

Trams, buses, people, mounted police, bikers, mopeds, cars! It's seriously a wonder we didn't get run over by one thing or another.

It was super interesting just wandering around the city. Crooked buildings, yarn bombing, cheese shops ... you name it! 

Dam Square:

This is my mom in front of the entrance to the first prison in Holland.
It is now the entrance to a shopping mall.

At first it seems a bit weird that such cool history should be made into a shopping mall. But really, when almost every single building you pass has incredible old architecture and an interesting history, there comes a point when it doesn't seem quite as novel or ... sacred, or something.
It's strange to be surrounded by so much history that you start passing it by without a second thought.

Cobbled streets. Love.

After a lot of walking, we had a picnic in the garden outside the Rijks Museum.
"Can we all just take a moment," I said, "to realize that we are eating cheese sandwiches in Amsterdam?!"
I had a lot of those moments that day. Moments where I just wanted to stop and exclaim, "We are really here!!" or some other such obvious nonsense. 

And then we went into the museum! We saw Rembrandt and Vermeer, among others. My favorite was the Milkmaid, or "Het Melkmeisje". The colors were so intense and the lighting was amazing in person! It almost had a 3D effect.

The Night Watch. And yes, that's me in front. :)
The painting is massive. The people in it seem to be real figures standing there in a spotlight, the shadows really receding. Incredible.

And then we walked around the city some more.

A few weeks before we came to the Netherlands, I had seen a photo of a canal with tall buildings lining it, and a bridge covered in bikes. And I thought, "I'm gonna be there soon."

And then boom! 
I was remembering that moment, and marveling, because ... there I was.

Tiny streets.

It was a full and wonderful day. On the train ride back, Sis took this photo of my reflection in the window.

Tired, and so happy.

More adventures await...


  1. Mmmm is that custard? Best stuff ever!

    Keep the posting&photos coming! :)

  2. Wow, beautiful pictures!! It looks like you had fun, I'm so jealous- I love traveling.

  3. My favorite part is the horse and the cheese shop :D

  4. Leuk om Nederland door jouw ogen te zien cousin!

  5. Lovely photos! Yes, there you were. Eating cheese sandwiches in Amsterdam. I would love a *Boom!* moment like that.

    Oh. And I would give anything for a cheese shop. Anything but my life, which I would need to enjoy the cheese.

  6. Wow! It looks like you had a magnificent time in Amsterdam! Vermeer is one of my all-time favorite artists, and "The Milkmaid" is so special. The milk looks like it has been captured in mid-pour - it is simply amazing! I hope I get to see that piece in real life someday. I'm inspired.

    Alison :)

  7. These are lovely! I can't wait for more! The houses are so charming, and the architecture, oh I am sure it was hard to stay watching where you were walking and not on the things around you?! :)

  8. Looks and sounds like a good kind of vacation.

  9. Hi sweet lady! I found your blog via Skunkboy Creatures and am SO GLAD that I did! I love finding sisters in Christ who blog; it's like finding a diamond in the rough! I'm your newest follower. xoxo

  10. Fantastic photos!! Almost feels like i was there! :-) that's good journalism/storytelling!

  11. Really an awesome way of keeping your journey. It almost seems as if I were there with you. And yay for the Dutch thought that popped in your head :D

  12. As a Dutch person, I love your set of posts on Holland! It's so fun to see your own country through the eyes of someone who has never been there, and who marvels at stuff we find so logical!


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