Archive | March, 2011

Visit: Amsterdam

30 Mar

Steve’s study abroad roommate is an Amsterdam resident, and a former tour guide to boot, so as soon as US Air allowed us to deplane, miss our train and navigate the Belgian mass transit systems, we headed from Brussels to the Netherlands.

Stay: We stayed with our wonderful friend in his teeny, tiny studio apartment. After two days, I longed for the suburbs. Amsterdam is currently in a building frenzy as they try to increase the number of hotel rooms in the city, so rooms are a bit scarce most weekends, but we were told to avoid the Hard Rock. I think that’s universally applicable.

Eat: Our host quickly explained that the Dutch have absolutely no unique cultural foods, as they are like Americans and just steal everyone else’s ideas. However, we found this to be a bit untrue. Appetizers consisting of fried molten cheese and fried sausage, and snacks that were just like small pancakes covered in powdered sugar and butter. Exactly the same actually.

I will mention that day 2 started my love affair with European coffee, which is nothing different from ours other than it is made with really expensive machines that make the coffee frothy and smooth. None of this drip brewing bullshit for me anymore. I’m a little unsure what these machines are and how they work, but I’m very interested in finding out so that I can force Steve to buy one.

See: Bicycles, people nearly getting hit by bicycles, canals, night canal tour by boat, Red Light district, Maarken Harbor, the North Sea, Haarlem, Dam Square, cool old bars, and more bicycles.

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How Very European

28 Mar

Our quick trip across the pond has come and gone, although US Air did everything in their power to keep us from coming or going. Three destinations in eight days meant we packed a lot into our vacation, but we loved every minute. It was an amazing first Europe trip for me, and Steve got to relive his study abroad and backpacking memories. Everything was perfect, at least until I was served cheese cubes and summer sausage for lunch on day 7. Recaps to come.

Has Seemed Rather Applicable of Late

23 Mar

Large Scale Sacrifices

22 Mar

I’m sure I’ve more than covered how I’m not Catholic. I’m a fake. But I do participate in Lent. It’s like my annual attempt to prove I have anything remotely close to willpower.

So this year I’m giving up Diet Coke, which quickly spiraled into giving up all sodas, until my boss mentioned that tonic water is technically a carbonated beverage. No G&T’s? This portion of my Lenten promise is still under negotiations until we can further define tonic water as a soda. However, as a girl who drinks her fair share of DC – this has been a daily sacrifice for me already.

My husband (the actual Catholic), takes a different approach. His promises usually fall somewhere along the giving-up-some-form-of-alcohol line, and he has never been very successful. Spring break + St. Patty’s + weekends just seem to do him in every time. In recent years, he’s started preempting these dates from his Lent calendar.  This year, he has seemed to negotiate around Lent almost completely. Steve’s initial statement for Lent this year: “I’m giving up beer, but nothing else.” Then these qualifiers: ” But I’m not counting Ash Wednesday because I’m meeting a friend after work, and I’m not counting our spring break trip, and I’m not counting weekends.” Way to give your best effort there, Susan.

This time, it’s not my judgment he might have to be worried about.

On the Continent

9 Mar

Steve likes to pretend he’s still in college. Like the one time he hosted an “Amateur Day” party and made us all do jello shots and play drinking games in his garage. He also wanted to bring back spring break. Unfortunately for me, he went for classy rather than authentic – so we’re not going to Panama City or Daytona. A bit of an upgrade really, to western Europe.

So, I’m hitting Amsterdam, Paris and Brussels over eight busy days. I’ve done my shopping, chosen my wardrobe inspiration pics (sure to be uninspired once I unpack) and converted dollars to euros. I’d love to hear any of your recommendations for those cities, or just for European travel in general. We have some definite plans, like hotels, train tickets and sight-seeing to-do’s – but suggestions are welcome, as I will otherwise spend quite a bit of time being dragged for eight-hour walks through each city by Steve. Which would be awesome, of course, except that he never sits down or eats or rests. Just walks. Help?

Merci.

‘Round Here

2 Mar

Too tired to catch up. In summary: