Posts Tagged With: holland

Eat, drink, dance and feel the love in Amsterdam!

Denise should look extremely familiar to those who have been peaking at this blog for the past 21 months as she has made many appearances. I met this magnificent lady years ago while we were studying in Alicante Spain. We reunited in Argentina for some volunteer work and more studies and have spent many of evenings dancing the night away in Amsterdam. Last year, I even lived with her family in Alphen aan den Rijn. Here is just a few pics from the years of memories that I’ve made with sweet Denise.

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Now, I return again to replenish my craving for her presence and this time, I get to introduce Mike and Hayden too! (If you’ve followed for long enough, you’d know that last year she got to meet three other of my American friends, Ian, Mike D and Marshall!).

The day starts with the introductory as we sit outside at one of the many terraces offered in Amsterdam.

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Time for a snack which leads us to a variety of options. Here in Holland, there are many typical Dutch bites to pick from. In Amsterdam however, you have a wide selection from many parts of the world. Specialty stands to Turkish, Mexican, Italian, Japanese and more. I suggest just wandering the streets until your eyes, nose or tummy decides for you. Today, I went for a home baked spelt bread cone that was filled with Salmon, sprouts and a dill spiced sauce.

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The group of us decided on trying out an extremely typical plate here in Holland which consists of herring fish, onion and pickle.

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Flashback moment! This construction site has been here every year that I’ve visited. Just for fun, we shot the first picture years ago and of course it has turned into an annual photo. Enjoy, year one, two and present!

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After a fun walk around the city, we depart from the boys to go back to her home town of Alphen aan den Rijn for dinner with my (her) family before getting ready for a night out on the town. We made a pit stop by the work place of Denise’s little sister, Manouk. Her and I connected last year when I was adopted into her family. Unfortunately this year, she is working so she won’t be able to join us out and about. Here is her “sad I can’t come with you” photo, followed by the “glad I got to see you” smile.

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A little time in the kitchen, a wonderful dinner at the table and a complete evening with one of my favorite Dutch families! Writing this page made me realize I didn’t get a photo of them… Next time.

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To get back to the city, we hop on a bus that takes us to the train that brings us to the centeral station. From there, we get her bike again and ride to find the boys.

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Along the way, Denise hinted to me that there would be a few more joining us this evening which is always great to hear… the more the merrier! News to me, it was a surprise from my dear friend Carina! All the way from Germany, she had traveled here with another sweetheart Jenni for a night out with us!

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Details about Carina and Jenni will come later. For now, here’s a peak at what a girls night out in Amsterdam can look like.

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Two fun surprises in the coat check! First we have Denise’s hairstylist that we danced with last year, always full of energy!

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Next, this wonderful woman has been taking care of the jackets and wash room here at this specific club now for 20 years! The first photo is from last year followed by this evening!

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Not feeling like a big dance party? Other evenings leave you with choices like a nice dinner on a terrace, a walk to a coffee house (not to be confused with a coffee “shop”) or one of my favorites, a picnic next to a canal. Depending on the neighborhood, time of day and weather, you can find several groups, big and small, gathering waterside. Tonight, 4 of us went to a local store, collected goodies then found a seat next to a canal for snacks and great conversation.

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Who’s the fourth in the pictures? Lets pause for a moment and reminisce of the times with Simon. He was one of the fellow travelers I met in Argentina that I reunited for the hike in Machu Picchu with. Take a look!

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Night walks can also bring unexpected surprises. On this evening, I followed the sounds of a beautiful acoustical set. These three kind girls have been playing to fund their future worldly travels. Of course I’ll donate to driven people doing something they love to support a journey they desire, well done girls! Your voices caught my attention and your attitude kept me intrigued. Keep on smiling and doing what you do!

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On Mikes last night here with us, we decided to stay low key and chat at a local pub when this woman approached our table and in the sweetest voice offered us a “reading” based on our names and birthdays. Very interesting and certainly entertaining as she called us out on some personality quirks, especially because the boys and I have known each other for so long!

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Leaving Amsterdam before us, after two weeks in Europe, Mike departs back to the states. I watch him walk away feeling gratitude for his company and happy for his experience. Mike, I truly value our deep conversations and friendly debates that not only stimulate new thoughts, but keep me on my toes. Cheers till next time my friend!

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My favorite picture of the boys this trip!

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A few more days in Holland and then you’ll find me bouncing my way through Germany. Get ready for curry wurst, live music and roller coasters!

Categories: Edibles!, Travel talk, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Foot, wheels, trams and boats, lets take a look at Amsterdam!

I’m so thankful for all of my travels to The Netherlands and the years of personal accommodations from dear friends that I’ve met abroad. This round, we get the keys to our friends empty apartment to come and go as we please! I would say “priceless”, but if you’ve ever done research, its definitely not priceless to stay the night in this popular city. So, a very big thank you to sweet Ioni for her open door and gracious hospitality.

Now, let me show you the magnetic energy that keeps me returning to the wonder world of Amsterdam!

Care for a stroll? So does most of the other people here! If you’re not feeling up for a walk, there’s also plenty of options with wheels to get you around.

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Need to pick up the pace? Add a motor to the wheels! For those who don’t want to be in the drivers seat, you can always hop on a tram for only 2.80€ one way. (It’s the blue and white train looking object in a few of the shots below).

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Yep, it’s for real.

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For a guided excursion there’s a walking tour, or a comfy seat in the brightly covered busses with a knowledgable person behind a microphone. Love water? You can always coast throughout the canals of the city with a friendly captain explaining the sights that surround you.

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Now since we’ve covered some options of how you might get around, lets take a look at what you may see as you explore the daytime streets of Amsterdam.

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The “Hot Yoga Studio” made me giggle simply because I grew up in North America in which “40 degrees” is nearly freezing.

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This sign stopped us in our tracks with a bit of confusion. What is it? A preventive new design that allows authorities to track thieves by a synthetic DNA code.

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This is a lost and found station. If you find an item on the street or in a nearby cafe, you simply clip it up here with hopes that the rightful owner will come collect it. It also seems to be used as an easy way to advertise personal business or upcoming events. Today, I donated a sticker from the talented band Heritage. Side note, it was gone when I returned from a 30 minute walk… I’m thinking it was this happy fella who claimed to be lost and found!

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Handstand shot!

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Here are some creative pictures taken in this unique city using effects from my camera.

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The next post will include but not be limited to food, friends and a smidge of the the nightlife!

Categories: Art, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

How to get lost in Amsterdam with incredible people!

They call it the city of bikes. No need to wonder why!

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My first time hitching a ride on a bike! I felt safer with this guy than with a seat belt in a Peruvian cab. Recognize this face? It’s Simon! Him and Ashgan were the fun duo that hiked Machu Picchu with me.

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If a bike isn’t your preference of transportation, you can take your pick of one of these. How can you look at some of these photos and not smile!

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Are these mini smart cars? They must be “brilliant”.

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Not fond of wheels? The first two are my favorite photos of people choosing to walk. This little girl is adorable and the elderly man with the boy wore the clogs throughout the entire central station, “click, clack, click, clack…”

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Other random sights to be seen while walking or riding about the city.

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Can you see the name of the shop?

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Dam Square is pretty much the most central as you can get in regards to an open area perfect for people watching! If you’re ever bored in Amsterdam (I say that sarcastically), find a seat in the square and just watch the free entertainment. Here was the show I got!

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It’s Marshall! This is the amazing chef I met in Las Vegas, that I reunited with in Atlanta that now has joined me for a wonderful portion of Europe! Here we are acting like the “grown ups” that we are.

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The handstand shot!

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Last year-

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This year-

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The last night in Amsterdam I was honored to introduce Marshall to Simon and Ashgan (the duo that I spent time with in South America). The first picture is us at the top of Machu Picchu followed by a shot of us sand boarding in Peru! Then the most recent photo.

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Marshall also got to meet my dear friend Denise… I love great people meeting amazing people!

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The Netherlands has always had a special place in my heart. It now has several people that have added to the indescribable warmth I feel when thoughts of Holland cross my mind. I miss you already friends… Soon enough we gather again! Doei!

Categories: Fashion from a backpack, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A BIG reunion in Holland

I’m looking forward to showing the beautiful city of Amsterdam and the friendly country of Holland (yes, there’s more to this place than the red-light district and cheese). But for now, I’m excited to share my most recent reunion.

Denise and I met by rooming together in Alicante Spain while studying Spanish last fall. Here we are a year ago. (Almost to the date!)

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Then we got to see each other again when I passed through Holland about a month later. Here we are in Amsterdam where we dreamt that maybe someday we could gather again in a different country.

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When you want something bad enough… You make it happen. Five months later we met at the front door of our own apartment while volunteering and studying in Buenos Aires.

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A few from volunteering at a local orphanage.

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This is one of my favorites snap shots after getting our hair done by one the young girls… Gorgeous!
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This is the location we met Ioni, another Dutch girl that happen to be in the same school. It was an easy friendship right off the bat as the three of us quickly connected and made priceless memories. I could make an entire post reminiscing of our month in Argentina… But here’s 3 pics instead.

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Since both of the girls are from Holland, it was decided that we would reunite someday near Amsterdam. Viola! 6 months later we are getting ready for a night on the town!

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A colorful night of bright smiles and positive people!

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This club played your typical American top 40 hits and a variety of who know what hits from Holland. I'm a fan of most music, however the Dutch music of the evening sent me directly back to the childhood memory of being at a carnival debating if I liked clowns or not… Weird.

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I’m only putting one photo of the actual city at night because I want to save the rest for the future amazing night life post!

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Fun photo!

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To recover from the 4am arrival of the evening seen above, we decided to hit a flea market on the outskirts for an entertaining walk. I didn’t snag any photos of Denise’s good friend Jella or her sister Manouk, but there will plenty more of them later.

To get to the market do we bus, train, cab or tram? Oh it’s convertible time!

We don’t need hats…we’re wild and crazy girls!

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Ok, maybe a little hair control is needed…

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Hmmm, just the bangs back?

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All right, that’s it… Scarves it is!

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The entrance is a small example of the popularity of bicycles here. It’s very typical to have more bicycles in a parking lot than cars.

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Like most flea markets, there are vendors providing items for all of your needs… or at least what you think you need that day because its just so cheap! From house decor, clothes, appliances, and lawn decorations to food, treats and a farmers section for fresh fruit and vegetables.

We skimmed through the house decor and lawn section. (At least that’s what I think it was).

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Stopped for a pic of this awkward set up.

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After being entertained by the walking band and skipping the games, we sit to eat. This is a a Turkish pizza, a thin dough smeared with a light red sauce that’s open toasted on a grill. It’s then filled with lettuce, tomato, and cucumber with your choice of spicy garlic sauces and/or your pick of meat. First time for everything!

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After our meal we survive through the sweets with only a stop at a traditional Dutch pancake stand. Jella told them I was from America and had never experienced this delight before. I was handed a complimentary sample… Flag and all!

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We end our mini adventure at the farmers market which of course is my favorite!

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Finally a quick story. At the market we passed by this green cake that my friends starting raving about. After moments of watching them try to explain the magnitude of amazing this dessert was, we decided to grab a slice and split it so I could try what they considered to be one of the best!

Ooh I was so excited for this new fabulous flavor to hit my taste buds…

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It was angel food cake.
(A sponge cake that Americans traditionally top with strawberries and cream.

Categories: Edibles!, Fashion from a backpack, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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