Sunday, July 10, 2011

Europe! (part 2)

After Bruges we headed for three days in Amsterdam.  We got there by train, got kicked out of a first class carriage on said train, made our connection in Antwerp and eventually found our hotel.  We had a bit of confusion with finding hotels because what could be better than being lost in a new city filled with pick pockets and tourists while schlepping 800lbs of luggage?  Nothing!

The first day we were in Amsterdam it was really hot, like 90's hot.  And my back hurt.  That day involved a lot of walking around and looking at things, going into air conditioned stores and finding places to stop and have the magical European iced tea (it's fizzy!).  We saw some sights and then did our normal afternoon siesta.  When we went back out for dinner, it looked approximately like the apocalypse was upon us, so we ended up going to an Argentinian steak place much closer to the hotel than where we had originally planned.  It was good because the skies opened, the winds howled, men clung to their beers under sidewalk table umbrellas for dear life, water sloshed in through the windows and doors, it was outstanding.  And broke the humidity.

The next day we went straight to the Anne Frank house after breakfast.  It was rainy and cold, but there was still a line.  From there we hit the Jewish History Museum, had some falafel for lunch, did the Portugese Sephardic Synagogue, and I dragged my mom to the American Hotel to see the architecture.  Then we discovered hop-on-hop-off canal boats and bought 24-hour tickets for those.  It was a good call, because the sun had come back out and things were heating up.  I had the best crepe of my life at a place called Hansel and Gretel and then we took a mini tour on the canal boat through the city.  That night for dinner we went to a Thai place in the Red Light District which had been talked up by the tour books.  It was busy and the orchids were beautiful, but the food was only so-so.  We then walked through the Red Light District and had some amusing conversations about the fact that we were walking through the Red Light District as mother and daughter and I taught my mom the difference between coffee shops and those coffee shops as we walked by.

We started off day three by going on the longest canal boat leg that went to the outermost canal in the city and saw some sights that way.  Then we did the Van Gogh Museum, found the cafe we had wanted to go to for lunch which was closed for renovations, ate more falafel, found the flower market, hit some stores, and located the restaurant at which we wanted to eat dinner - we were getting smarter!  After that afternoon's siesta we hit Kapitein Zeppos which was awesome.  Totally quirky interior, excellent food, funny waiter.  It was great!  On the way back we literally spent our last four euros (on water and iced tea).  It was sad knowing the vacation was coming to an end.

lunch and iced tea 
mom in a shoe 
some beers

Bird, the Thai restaurant
Our hotel was made up of four canal houses
at Kapitein Zeppos with some more beer

Kapitein Zeppos interior
rain storm on the first night 
statue of Anne Frank at the Westerkerk next to the Anne Frank house

interior of the American Hotel Cafe

Mom and me waiting for the canal boat tour
And that was that.  The next day we hopped a flight back to Boston and it was like we'd never left.  Unfortunately, I now have the crazy travel bug and can't wait to go back again!

As mentioned before, I came back to a week of extreme back pain and then was in a wedding on the weekend.  The wedding was incredible, but of course, took up a fair amount of time.  From mani-pedi on Thursday to the catered Four Seasons lunch on Friday afternoon to the rehearsal dinner at Silvertone on Friday night to prep and the actual wedding on Saturday, it was a jam-packed weekend.  Also a weekend in which I learned that one should no drink beer, gin and champagne all in one night.  Or at least not without a fair amount of cold pizza in the fridge for the next morning.

This was the wedding of my friend Anne (of guest post fame ) and her fiance Ben.  The wedding had a peacock theme and everything was done beautifully.  And Anne is a vegetarian who doesn't really like vegetable, so there was a pasta bar, which was awesome.  I don't have a lot of pictures from the wedding, but here are a few that show how creative and beautiful everything was.

This is actually two bridesmaids bouquets mixed together. 

Anne's mom made one of these bags for every out of town guest.  They're adorable and have the Make Way for Ducklings ducks on them!  And were jam-packed full of yummy goodies.

And that's that.  Now, the trip is over and the wedding is over and I guess I have to go back to the real world.  Oh wait, I'm a teacher on summer vacation, the real world is the beach!

I'll be posting about the cherry trifle and golden nugget cake soon!

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