Thursday, August 27, 2009

Last week of Europe, Days 12 - 17

So, it's been a busy week! Saturday Margot and I took a 6 hour train ride to Berlin, Germany. There, we met my dad at the train station where he met us from Poland. It was the first time I saw Tamir in a year and a half and I'm still having a hard time putting the experience and my feelings about the meeting into words. Let's just say it answered a lot of questions and I'm glad I saw him, however, nothing much has changed and I don't see another reunion in the near future. But here's a picture of the new Tamir and I infront of Friendship Fountain in Berlin.
Berlin is a city of 800 museums, so Margot and I decided it would be a great place to finally do museums. We went and saw where the Berlin wall was and went to the Checkpoint Charlie museum, the Judaism museum, and the zoo because Berlin has the world's largest amount of species. It's a beautiful city with a blend of new and old architecture.

We returned from Berlin on Monday night and then Tuesday morning I flew to London by myself. I spent the day walking around London alone and it was a wonderful experience in such a beautiful city. It was very invigorating, peaceful and liberating wondering around a city I've never been in another country alone just exploring, wondering around streets, waiting to see what lies around the corner. I saw Westminister Abbey, heard Big Ben chime at 1:00 p.m., ate lunch at the park by the London Eye and had a glass of wine at a pub while I read my book. I really had the best day! Then i took a two hour train ride to Bournemouth where Dan and Nicole picked me up and we went to a pub for trivia part - our team won! The Seven Deadly Sinners :) Being with them made me feel like I was at home in another city, I was with family, and I loved every minute of it, thanks guys!
On Wednesday, we drove to Salisbury where we saw a beautiful cathedral that houses one of the last remaining four copies of the Magna Carta. It was exquisite. I had some fish and chips, and we saw the beach at night which was beautiful. The country side is just gorgeous. Today I took two buses and a plane back to Holland, and I have one more day to enjoy Europe before I fly home Saturday. Ready for home...

Friday, August 21, 2009

Day 11 - Fri. Aug. 21

So I finally visited Amsterdam today! After a relaxing day yesterday, Margot, Paul and I took the train to Amsterdam and met their friend Flores. We took a boat tour along the canals. After that, Paul had a meeting because he's joining a fraternity at the university he'll be attending in Amsterdam. Today he had to check in and got a list of things he needed to do/buy for their first frat meeting Sunday. So we helped him on his scavenger hunt and ran around Amsterdam picking up business cards from places and doing random things on the check list. It was actually fun because I saw parts of Amsterdam I probably wouldn't have seen otherwise. I went by the Anne Frank House but the line to go in was soo long and we were on a time crunch, so we're going back next week for the day to do some museums.
After we were done with everything on the checklist, we drove to get dinner then had dessert at this little outside place that serves Poffertjes, or small, puffed pancakes, with powdered sugar. They're a Dutch favorite, and quite delicious I must say!
Tomorrow is an early day so I'm off to bed!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Day 9 - Wed. Aug. 19

so today was a pretty low key day, as will be the next day or two, which is fine with me! We slept in, because Margot and I both haven't been sleeping well. We ate breakfast while each reading our Twilight books, I'm on the first, she was on the last. After taking it easy in the morning, we headed to an outlet here in Paris which was supposed to be really great. There was honestly no more sight seeing we could have done, and not a lot of walking i was willing to do. So i didn't buy anything really but Margot had the most amazing thing happen - and yes, it is worth blogging about!
Ok, so there was a winter jacket, quite beautiful, marked down to 119 euros. She decided she would put it on her credit card and it would be worth it. As we walk to pay for everything, he says the total is 90 euros for her entire purchase (several things, including the coat). She pays, excitedely, and we rush out the front door and start screaming. No way did that man just sell her an already marked down jacket that should have been 119 euros for, brace yourselves....12.5 euros!!!!!!!!!!!
So now you can imagine out excitement!! The man clearly made a mistake and later on Margot admitted that what she did was probably called stealing, but it wasn't her fault. And anyway, I made up for it later tonight because as we were getting off the metro, our last metro ride in Paris, to come home, I saw a guy trying to get a metro pass but the desk was closed. So I gave him mine and told him it was an unlimited pass that could be used until Sunday. He was very grateful and it made me happy that I could do that for him.
After the exciting shopping experience, we met Ileen at the British embassy here where her boyfriend works and they were having a staff party. So we sat and ate dinner there then headed home. Nothing too exciting, especially because it was excruciating walking around in 90+ degree heat all day. But I have to say, the most exciting part of my day, was talking to my sweet, handsome boyfriend on Skype. He is quite wonderful and I love and miss him very much!
ok, i'm done kfvelling about him. More about Europe later!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Day 8 - Tues. Aug. 18

Today was day two of paris and it was fabulous! We did so much walking in the last two days that my body physically is aching. My legs are still tingling from standing and walking to much. I think we saw every single major monument plus more that is in Paris. Today we started off by visiting the Eiffel Tower which was absolutely gorgeous. Just being there so close was incredible.

Then we went walked, a lot, along the water, to Musee d'Orsay. The art was incredible, the walking, exhausting. But being surrounded by such beauty was humbling.

After that we ate some bread and cheese on a park bench then headed to the Notre Dame. The structure is absolutely beautiful!

The day ended late because we met up with Ileen for dinner and drinks then took a long walk to the metro station and a long ride home. Now i'm going to lay in bed and read more of my twilight book and have a good night's sleep!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Day 7 - Aug. 17

Today was PARIS!!!! Only day one, we have two more full days here of exploring, then back to Holland on Thursday. Anyway, this is a picture of Margot and I infront of the Moulin Rouge. Much smaller and not as impressive as I thought, so just for the viewers, here's another picture....something with a little more view!

Not to worry, the Eiffel Tower is coming soon! So anyway, we started the day not as early as we hoped. Margot apparently woke me up the first time at 8:30 this morning and then two more times, until I finally woke up at 10:15! I don't know whats wrong with me but i've been sleeping a lot here! So we went to the tram station and got our week passes which was totally worth the 22 euros because you rely on the tram so much in such a big city! So here's what we saw:
Moulin Rouge
Musee du Louvre (from da vinci code!)
opera national
Arc de Triomphe
All very beautiful but my feet are tired from walking so I'm going to go to bed now and rest for tomorrow, another day of being a tourist in this beautiful city! All pictures are being uploaded on facebook so check them out!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Day 6 - Sun. Aug. 16

So not much to talk about today but i didn't want to skip a post:) So we drove 5 hours and got into Paris around 9 p.m. we are staying with margot's boyfriend's sister, ileen and her british boyfriend. they have an apartment in paris and you can see the Eiffel tower from the room we're staying in. Quite beautiful. We made an itinerary for monday thru wednesday of all the places we want to visit and places to eat along the way. So tomorrow starts our sight seeing! we're going to buy a museum pass and a tram pass and we're trying to fit as much in as possible. details and pictures coming soon! Going to bed, its 11 p.m. here, got to get a lot of rest for our busy tourist week!

Day 5 - Sat. Aug. 15

Saturday was a great day. We took our time packing in the morning. Afer we booked our train tickets to go to Berlin next week, a part of the trip I'm very excited about, we hit the road and drove to Dan Haag where Margot's cousin Clair lives. She lives in the center of the city which reminds me more of NYC rather than a quaint, small, cute city like others I've been to since I got here. She lives in student housing above a shop in the middle of the city. There are 3 floors of students living in this building and she is on the top. We climbed 3 sets of very awkwardly shaped and sized steps to get here but it is the cutest apartment. She shares a bathroom and kitchen with the other students. We went to the Albert Hein and picked up some wine and frozen pizzas to cook for dinner, stopped and had a nice appetizer at an outdoor restaurant, then headed home and listened to music, danced and ate until midnight when we finally headed out on the town to a place called Danzig. It's down the street from Clair's apartment, and we danced there until 4 in the morning when my body decided to shut down and i was tired beyond words. We headed home then and slept until one this afternoon. Now we're hitting the road for a 6 hour drive to Paris. More to come soon :)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Europe Trip - Days 1-4

So I am starting late, but I will be blogging as often as possible, on my day-to-day experience during my Europe trip. I will start from the beginning.

Day 1 - Tues. Aug. 11

Margot picked me up from the Amsterdam airport at 8:30 am local time, which was 1:30 in the morning for me. We didn't waste any time though. I went to her family's summer house and showered, we had some coffee and breakfast then went into town for some grocery shopping. The local grocery store here is Albert Hein, a sister company of Albertson's...sound familiar? Everything is so clean and orderly here. It's amazing! At the store we got breads, cheeses, fish, tuna, meats, spreads, juices, wine, beer, and some chips and snacks. Lots to munch on!
That evening after I took a nice nap we went out for dinner with their neighbors to a restaurant on the water called The Otter.

Day 2 - Wed. Aug. 12

My first full day in Holland we went to Utrecht, where Margot lives. This is an area where a lot of students live and it is absolutely gorgeous. It was rainy so we had to lug around rain jackets and umbrellas but I loved walking around in the rain being surrounded by such beauty. Everything is green here!
We ate lunch at Olivier, a Belgium cafe. Then we just walked around and sat at a cafe in the center and had a glass of wine and cheese and olives and people watched. Later on, Margot's mom, dad and sister Roos met us in Utrecht and we ate dinner at an Asian cuisine restaurant called Opium. We had the greatest conversation and shared wine and great food! It is such a pleasure eating here, especially with her family! They are on vacation so everything is pretty decadent where we've eaten. But also, everything is so relaxed. We take our time and sit for hours. But at the same time, we end up eating a ton of food! Everyone here orders a starter to themselves and then a main course, in addition to bread or some other sort of table starter. It's quite filling. I can't do this every day for the rest of my trip!

Day 3 - Thurs. Aug. 13

We woke up to dreary weather, it wasn't raining, but it definitely wasn't nice out. A bit chilly, too. Some days are really sunny and beautiful, in the 70's while others are dark and cold. But Margot and I got in the car and drove to Antwerp, Belgium. The drive was about an hour and a 1/2 and when we drove into town, the sun came out and we enjoyed a great day. The architecture is absolutely gorgeous there. Everything was old and beautiful. We ate mussels, which is what Belgium is famous for, and shared a Beglium waffle from a street vendor which was without a doubt the most amazing thing I've ever had. We took a tour around the town on a small bus, and did some window shopping. Then we went to a Mexican cantina off of this tiny street that was secluded and quite. We were the only ones at the restaurant! Let me stop and say, do you realize how many times I've mentioned food!? its crazy and definitely starting to catch up with me. But I'm enjoying it too much. We barely ate much food there because we were really full after the appetizer. But we made the trek home and went out last night to a bar that margot used to work at, and her boyfriend Paul currently works there, so we visited him while he was working. This was in Amersfoort in Holland. The day ended great because I got to talk to Josh on Skype for the first time since I left! It was nice seeing my honey's face :)

Day 4 - Fri. Aug. 14

Today was lovely! We slept in til 12 and met Margot's family at a restaraunt by the summer house. They took the boat from the summer house to the Brasserie Kompas. We sat outside from 3-7 and had wine and lots of great food! I noticed today that I can sit around the table and listen to everyone speak Dutch and sometimes they will interpret what someone said in English, or they will speak English for a bit, but even when they're speaking Dutch, I can usually understand what they're talking about. This is sometimes, not all the time, but for the most part, I can get the gist of what's being said, not what exactly they're saying, but I'm catching on slowly. And reading menus is getting easier and easier :)
After our meal we took the boat back to the summer house and had some coffee then took the speed boat back to the restaurant to get our car. On the way Paul went wakeboarding which looks like a lot of fun and I want to try it but it was way too cold tonight to attempt that.
From there, Margot, Paul and I went to Amersfoort and walked around the center and met up with some of their friends. We drank tea, I tried a rose beer they have here, and ate some bitter balls (typical Dutch fast food that look like hush puppies but are filled with some sort of meat) and now I'm home in bed uploading pictures and finishing this blog. From here I hope to update daily, but we'll see :) Tomorrow we're off to Dan Haag to visit Margot's cousin, Clare.