Blogs from Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands, Europe


Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam December 9th 2022

1. Mombasa I began what felt like the longest day of my life (no night sleeps, but several naps) in Mombasa, Kenya. It was 4am on Wednesday and I'd had less than 4 hours of sleep because--well, you know how it is when you're about to travel. The last day in town is always the busiest, and then I'm a last-minute packer anyways, so I was up until midnight packing. Thought I'd sleep, but noisy neighbors and late-night drunks had other ideas. My tuk-tuk was there at 4:30 to take me to the bus station. There I boarded a Tawakal bus to Dar Es Salaam. Slept a bit on the bus and arrived in Dar around 6pm. I'm skipping a lot there. The bus ride from Dar was far from uneventful. After sleeping most of the ... read more
Tawakal bus
We started before dawn
Tanzania countryside

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam November 12th 2022

We’re off again! On another epic trip to Africa. Now that I am resurrecting this travel blog, I believe you all deserve an update on the whole big picture of me and my family in 2022. I married Chelly Yes, the girl in the blogs from Thailand, India, and Kenya. The two of us were married in January, 2008, to the lamentations of many sad girls in the USA and disappointed boys in Kenya, I am sure. We moved to Kenya In the fall of 2009, we decided to relocate to Kenya. The Almighty had other plans. Things did not work out quite so well for us there, and we returned to Seattle in 2010. We had a son Our first son, Javan Ndaiya Nakis, was born in Seattle, WA on March 2nd, 2011. It was ... read more
Window 2

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam October 14th 2022

And so it begins....with a wild ride to JFK by kamikaze driver. Had my eyes shut all the way and shivered under the air conditioning. Exited the car guessed it..... managed to fall flat on my back. Hopefully I got that out of the way. I was trying to wrestle the suitcase, carryon, handbag, jacket and cane. Did I ask for help? Once on the ground I gathered myself, asked for my wheelchair, checked in and headed to the gate. My wheelchair driver did not take me to the TSA pre check at first and the checkin line was very, very long. My advice is to get TSA Precheck or plan for three hours to check in. Once on the right line I breezed through, enjoyed my security massage and settled down in the lounge. ... read more

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam September 13th 2022

It was an early start today. Our German cruise director is maniacal about punctuality. We headed out to Alkmaaar - a small town that was the center of the early Dutch cheese trade. First though, a stop at several windmills a bit north of our destination. I was surprised to learn that about 70% of windmills in the Netherlands were used for pumping water to reclaim land (30% for grinding grain or anything else that needs to be pulverized). Basically, dikes were built and, slowly over time, all the water was pumped out of lowlands and marshes to create farmland. Makes sense but I just never thought it through. It is remarkable that over 25% of the country was reclaimed from the sea in the last 800 years using this and, eventually, more modern methods, Alkmaar ... read more
Mill Close-Up B&W
June and Cheese Maiden
Scott and Cheese Maiden

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam September 12th 2022

Sunday was about the two other famous museums in Amsterdam: the Van Gogh and Rijksmuseum. The Van Gogh is structured as a narrative which takes you through his development as an artist. Fascinating, engrossing and ultimately overwhelming in it's detail. I had heard that many of his famous works are elsewhere which seems to be true. Much of what is on the wall is "developmental"; i.e. he was working on his approach and technique. Many of these pieces seem weaker than those he is known for. Nevertheless, there is plenty of "good stuff" like "Wheatfield with Crows" with that distinctive thick palette and bold color. The Rijksmuseum which is the size of an modern indoor arena has a vast collection but we were there to see the "Dutch Masters" (Vermeer, Rembrandt et al) and the collection ... read more
Former Warehouse now apartments
Rijksmuseum Banner
Wheatfields with Crows

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam September 10th 2022

Everyone seems to love Amsterdam. Count us in that group (if we can succeed in avoiding being run over by a bicycle). The architecture is quaint and colorful. The canals create a sense of openness missing in the winding streets of Brussels. The Dutch are friendly and pretty much all speak English. Although the map looks large and intimidating, like Rome, the actual city center is very walkable. Great food, great vibe. This place is going on my list for further exploration some day. Our task in the morning was to figure out how the trams (street cars/light rail) worked. There is a stunning lack of information on this but with more fumbling (our favorite pastime) we mostly figured it out. We need this information to get to the Van Gogh museum and Rijksmuseum Sunday as ... read more
More Canals
The Oude Kirk

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam September 9th 2022

As noted in an earlier post, we learned Wednesday that our train to Amsterdam was cancelled due to a train strike in the Netherlands. We booked a bus (Flixbus, very impressive) with reserved seats for 1:00 PM today. The adventure began when we tried to get a taxi to our apartment on Grand Place which is on a street for pedestrians only. We picked a likely intersection and used the "Green Taxi" app (Taxi Vert) to get a ride. The first driver called us after we noticed he was seeming to get further away from us but he did not speak any English. We gathered that our location was not accessible. He cancelled without further comment. A second driver (a true gentleman) worked with us for about 20 minutes to get a mutually convenient rendezvous. Got ... read more

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam September 2nd 2022

FRI, 02 SEP 2022 – Day 21: Amsterdam: Optional Free Day - You have a full free day to experience the delights of Amsterdam! There are numerous museums and art galleries to choose from - why not visit Anne Frank’s house, the Van Gogh museum, take a bicycle tour or simply wander the streets and canals? Alternatively, you can join your Expat Explore tour leader on a Dutch countryside tour optional excursion, or indulge in modern and contemporary art at the MOCO Museum followed by a history lesson on Dutch Gin with a rewarding cocktail at the end! Overnight – Hotel Holiday Inn Express Amsterdam - Schiphol... read more
Clara Maria Cheese Farm & Clog Factory – Amstelveen, Netherlands
Clara Maria Cheese Farm & Clog Factory – Amstelveen, Netherlands
Clara Maria Cheese Farm & Clog Factory – Amstelveen, Netherlands

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam September 1st 2022

THU, 01 SEP 2022 – Day 20: Berlin - Amsterdam - This morning, we’ll say our goodbyes to Germany as we journey on to The Netherlands, where you will notice the landscape change to windmills and waterways, as you approach the city of Amsterdam. This evening we’ll enjoy a canal cruise, and is accompanied by interesting commentary about the city’s development and history. After seeing the bridges and city from the waterside, we’ll sample local cuisine at an included dinner and then, you'll have some free time to hit the cafés, bars and coffee shops! Overnight – Hotel Holiday Inn Express Amsterdam - Schiphol... read more
On the Way to/Around Amsterdam, Netherlands
On the Way to/Around Amsterdam, Netherlands
On the Way to/Around Amsterdam, Netherlands

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam August 31st 2022

This is our first river cruise – my mom was always a big fan – and we thought we would give this travel mode a chance. We’ve been on lots of cruises, mostly in the Caribbean, and a couple of bus tours of Spain, Portugal, and Italy, so this time we thought we would try to see how the river cruise compares. We looked around for cruise companies and decided Viking is probably the best, and a 15 day tour from Amsterdam to Budapest is probably a good representation. Viking is more “all-inclusive” than typical cruises, as it includes shipboard wi-fi, beer, wine, and soft drinks (but they’re only free with meals, if you want a drink in the lounge, there is a charge). The ships are small, with 95 staterooms and about 190 maximum guests. ... read more
Our ship, the Viking Lif at the dock
Amsterdam Canals
Amsterdam Canals

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