Friday, May 28, 2010

Week 16, Days 3 - 5: Amsterdam, and (sigh) return home

Week 16, Day 3 - at the train station in Brussels on way to Amsterdam: Black Ann Taylor Loft short-sleeved button down with ruffled detailing down the middle, striped BR jeans, flip flops!!

Week 16, Day 4 - in front of the Van Gogh Museum, which was AMAZING: BR pink wool cardigan (it was chilly!), BR 3/4 length sleeve black tee (same shirt I traveled in...hey, how else did you think I'd be able to carry on for a week-long European trip?), striped BR jeans (yes, I know, I've pretty much worn them every day), Brooks running shoes (I really could've just worn the flip flops, but I packed the darned things because I thought I'd actually get in some exercise, but since I didn't, decided to wear them so I could justify the space it took up in my suitcase)

Week 16, Day 5: Gap White Jacket with Embroidered Flowers, (unseen) BR black scoopneck sleeveless tee, my favorite shoes on the trip, Reef Flip Flops (don't know what I would have done without them!) Yes, that's me frowning at the fact that I am in the presence of the most amazing clothing boutiques and cannot spend a dime on a single article of clothing!
Okay, so even though we had visited Belgium and Germany, Amsterdam, Holland (aka the Netherlands, which, btw, I didn't know until this trip - call me ignorant!) was hands down the most amazing stop during our trip. The city has got to be the most difficult to navigate around (probably impossible for a tourist in a car, but pretty damn hard on foot), but who cares - you are surrounded by canals, picturesque old brick buildings, amazing eateries and cafes, and coffeehouses (yes, there is a difference between a cafe and a coffeehouse in Amsterdam, but for fear of revocation of the 1st amendment, I will refrain from explaining to those of you who do not know the difference what that difference is...let's just say that brownies and vanilla cakes in an Amsterdam coffeehouse will leave you feeling a little "different"). We spent the first day in this amazing city *trying* to get our bearings straight. We had lunch at an Italian restaurant that served "whatever" was fresh - which was all amazing, took a nap at our hotel, and then met up with Scott and Maggie to paint the town red (well, whatever part of it wasn't already red, if you get what I mean...uh hem, ever heard of the red light district?).
Our night out in Amsterdam ended up being pretty *mellow* (again, code for however you want to interpret this blog) and involved at least 8 different stops throughout the night. I'm not sure how we did it, but we still managed to be back at the hotel by 9pm. We had a night cap there (and probably a handful too many of cookies, hint, hint), and then called it a night. The next morning, we set out for what seemed like mission impossible - to find a cafe that actually served eggs and bacon - together - for breakfast. You could attain the two items separately at most places, but hardly ever on the same plate, and certainly not for we circled back to the hotel to enjoy our overpriced "English Breakfast." Scott and Maggie headed back to Brussels while Mike and spent the rest of the day hitting up just a couple of the numerous museums in Amsterdam. Our first stop was the Van Gogh museum...which was absolutely amazing. To have so many breathtaking pieces of art under one roof is beyond words (well, almost, since I am putting this in the form of words). We then set out to find a cafe where we could have a glass of wine or a cup of coffee and instead stumbled upon the Bols Liqueur Museum. Bols, though I had never heard of it, apparently is one of the first originators of flavored liqueurs, their original libation being what they refer to as Genevre. The museum appealed to all senses and in each little corridor you encountered, you were encouraged to use a different favorite being the sniff room where you could take a whiff of the 32 different liqueur flavors that Bols produces and guess what you were smelling...can you say Yogurt flavored liqueur...sounds gross but was amazing! The tour ended with a cocktail of your choosing - which gave Mike and I just the right buzz to move onto the Reich museum - never have we seen so many Vermeers and Rembrandts!
After grabbing lunch at a cafe, we headed back for a nap and then did a little more city exploration, passing through the shopping district of Amsterdam. I must say, this was the first time I was tempted to set foot in a store and unleash the repressed shopaholic within me...but, amazingly, I resisted and instead just hit up another couple of bars with Mike before heading off to a 4 course dinner at a restaurant that has been around since 1650!!! Crazy! After dinner, we embarked on the night scene...and I'll just leave it at that as I think it might be best to plead the 5th.
Ahhh...Amsterdam...probably one of my most favorite places in the much that I think I'm experiencing withdrawal...or perhaps it's jet lag. Either way, it's not pleasant. I must go back someday!!

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