Blogs from North Holland, Netherlands, Europe


Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam April 24th 2019

Dinner at the Vintage Room: At 7 we met in the Vintage Room, a small private dining room with wine coolers along the forward wall. There were eight of us, Fran, me and the youngsters; two brothers, Jim and Craig, their wives, Shelley and Sharon, and Craig's best friend, Bill and his wife, Kim. The two brothers live in Olympia, Washington and Bill and Kim, in Walla Walla, the “Onion Capital” of the west. The men all grew up together. They’ve lived in Washington or Northern Idaho their entire lives. All three of them own their own businesses. Jim owns a real estate brokerage company with 40 some brokers. Craig owns a company that makes and sells gaskets. And Bill owns a company that makes cardboard boxes. The spouses have always been stay-at-home moms, but they ... read more

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam April 24th 2019

Final Post: Back in Amsterdam, Easter Sunday morning. Fran and I were on a mission. Actually, it was Fran’s mission, but as usual, I followed along, however, this time with enthusiasm. I had come across an article about five lesser-known museums that we shouldn’t miss. Fran proclaimed that our mission would be to visit all five on this Easter Sunday as they were all open. What attracted me, in addition to the museums themselves, was that they were located in every quarter of the city. Maybe we could walk off the fois gras et al from last night's meal. I could also exercise my manly imperative to navigate. I could say, “follow me” to Fran and she likely would. Perfect. Map in hand, Google maps as backup, we left the dock and walked almost ... read more
Lunch at Jansz

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam April 18th 2019

Hello, All of our traveling friends do it, and from what I can tell early on (more on this later), a lot of others, from all over the world, do it too. Taking one’s hotel with them on a trip around Holland and Belgium seems very sensible. Lots of places to visit, all somewhat close to one another, but packing and unpacking everyday and lugging spring time clothing around (one must bring clothes for warm and cold, dry and wet) feels like it might be stressful and tiring and may take up time that we’d rather spend actually visiting places. A River Cruise might be just the thing. Throughout this and subsequent blog posts I’ll be talking about places that have unpronounceable names. Dutch is a difficult language. Our guide on the first day tried to ... read more
Rijks Fran and me
Rijks Vermeer
Hockney Van Gogh

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam April 18th 2019

This is the second day, if you're trying to keep up. Still in Amsterdam. Not yet on board. No cruise yet. That will come later. We're still at the Conservatorium, but now we've checked out of the hotel and went to the the ship which was docked on the other side of the city. It took a long time to get there. Traffic in Amsterdam is rough and getting rougher. Streets are being narrowed from four lanes to two lanes to accommodate the millions of bikes. Apparently there is 1.3 bikes per person in the Netherlands, a ratio that reminds me of guns in the US. Check in at The Debussy was painless. Our suite was ready. It’s not big; a bed, desk, 1 chair, a closet and a nice bathroom. The ship is new in ... read more
Maria Lassnig

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam January 17th 2019

Most of you know I have no problem going on trips by myself. But take a look at this survey on Travel Pulse: Solo travel is increasingly popular but, according to a new Allianz Global Assistance survey, there are still many people who have yet to travel alone. The survey found that 30.4 percent of Americans say they have never traveled alone, and those who have are more than five times as likely to travel domestically rather than internationally. The survey also found that most respondents who said that they had traveled solo had done so for business, rather than for pleasure. Just over 27 percent said that they traveled alone on a domestic business trip while 21 pe... read more
You never know who you will meet!
Or what you might do!
Don't get stressed!

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam December 8th 2018

May 20,2018 I've always enjoyed traveling solo. I love the freedom of being able to decide on where I want to go each day; of how long I want to spend in a particular museum or site; of deciding when, what, and where I want to go to eat. Last May, as I entered my 76th year, the idea of being alone in a foreign city and possibly having a medical emergency made me think that perhaps being solo wasn't the best idea. Please welcome to my blog my travel companion, my nineteen year old granddaughter, Stella Jarmulowicz. I'm about to share with you the highlights of Carolyn's and Stella's Excellent Adventures in Amsterdam; Bruges, Belgium; and Iceland. Spoiler alert: she was a great travel companion! We left Newark, NJ aboard an Icelandair flight which first ... read more

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam November 7th 2018

I am currently winging my way back home. I flew from Athens to Amsterdam yesterday evening and this morning boarded a nonstop to PDX. (I spent the night at the Hilton airport hotel in Amsterdam.) This has been another good trip. The high points included Japan, especially seeing Kyoto for the first time. I can see why people get deeply involved in Japanese gardens. There is something compelling yet restful about them. I’m glad to have visited Beijing, especially the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace, but I will not be in a hurry to return to China. Cambodia was the unexpected high point of the trip. I loved Siem Reap and visiting the Angkor sites. Bangkok struck me as a big modern city with some worthwhile sights and I might try to go back there ... read more

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam November 2nd 2018

After leaving my friends, I took a train to Amsterdam Centraal. With my heavy bags, I just took a taxi to my hotel in Westerpark. The Conscious Hotel was our designated accommodation for the training, even though the training itself was held at other locations. This is yet another modern hotel, but placed in a former factory in a beautiful park. So the location was nice, but kind of far away from everything. Check in was similar to my first night, where we had to do it ourselves. But my room was ready and it was huge. And freezing. Someone had left the window open and it didn't warm up until well after I went to bed.... I was able to take a nap and a quick shower before meeting our group at a nearby restaurant, ... read more
Breakfast at the Conscious Hotel
Conscious Hotel
REM Eiland

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam October 15th 2018

Traveling is addictive. I know, because I’m willing to spend money I don’t have, dismiss my family and my job to disappear on a whim, and tolerate loads of discomfort and pain just to get my fix. I’m so deep in, there’s no kicking it now. Hello, my name is Andrea, and I’m a travel junkie. According to the cartoons of my childhood, teleporting should be a thing by now. But it’s not. So, layovers have become my essential travel tool. Those long haul 18+ hours flights, seated in coach, are the true definition of hell. But. Can’t stop. Won’t stop. I love Amsterdam and it has become my preferred halfway point for any African or Middle Eastern excursion. Years ago, I loathed this stopover and I simply referred to Schiphol as Shit Hole. Then one ... read more
Amsterdam - Not Just Cheese & Dykes
Floaty McBoaty, Amsterdam style
Cheese Museum

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam October 14th 2018

Today we cruised into Amsterdam at 10am, our last port of call. After breakfast we started to pack bags. Lunch then a lovely cruise around the canals in a small glass topped motor boat. Lots of typical Dutch homes on the canal banks and being Sunday lots of people about. Bikes everywhere ridden by young and old. Plenty of museums, shops and offices around too. Across on the newer side of river are plenty modern glass buildings. Tonight we pack and tomorrow leave our ship at 6.15am for flight to Prague. So its early rise at 4.30am. ... read more
Amsterdam harbour
Our canal boat
Amsterdam old town

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