Sunday, May 26, 2013


Derrick and I had our first trip to Europe for a conference Derrick had for work. We went to Amsterdam, The Netherlands. We left at 2pm on Sunday flying from Salt Lake to Denver to Iceland to Amsterdam. We got there around 12:30pm the next day (8 hour time change).
Driving from the airport to the hotel I was reminded of Seattle--wet and green. I loved all the trees! That first day was the only one we knew we had to do touristy things because we were unsure about Derrick's time the other days. We started off with the Rijks (rhymes with bikes) Museum. It had Rembrant paintings and objects from Amsterdam's golden age (1500's). There was an old library, muskets, furniture and paintings from other artists at that time.
We then headed to the Van Gogh museum. They had sketch books of Van Gogh and over 150 paintings. It was said that Van Gogh believed in hard work and practice. The museum showed his painting chronologically and I really felt like I could see his improvements. Here's a pic of Derrick at that museum (in the background is the Rijks Museum):
We found a place for dinner and we asked for water. The girl brought us four Heinekens and we said, "No, just water." She left and brought us two Heinekens. After trying to tell her again she brought us carbonated water. It was gross. That was the one annoying thing about Europe, no water anywhere! No drinking fountains, no glasses of water at restaurants. How do those people do that? Water is the most essential thing our bodies need. Crazy Europeans! So we always ended up paying at least 3 Euros for a bottle of water every time we ate out.
After dinner we took a canal boat tour. It was raining that whole day but luckily there was a glass roof on the boat. We learned that there are over 1700 bridges in Amsterdam and more canals than Venice. It was a beautiful way to see the city!
On our walk back to the hotel we saw this huge tree. Did I say how much I loved the trees there?
That night when we got to the hotel I laid down on the bed without getting ready for bed and fell right asleep. I didn't pray, I didn't brush my teeth, I just hit the bed and was out. I guess over a day with no sleep will do that to you.
Tuesday I went on a walk through the town while Derrick was at conference. I saw the flower markets and went to a cheese shop where they gave out samples. I ended up taking Derrick there later. We bought 60 Euro's worth of cheese, 10 Euros of chocolate and some stropwafels (chewy waffle crackers with carmel in the middle--Yum!).
That night for dinner we went to The Pancake Bakery. One of Amsterdam's common foods is a pancake, to us it is like a crepe--thin. I had a pancake with ice cream, whipped cream and chocolate sauce. No time like vacation time for dinners like that :)
Wednesday I went to a ship museum and got to tour two old boats. The boats were awesome. I walked on every deck, including the cargo section at the bottom. It was like something from a movie. Then in the museum I learned about whaling, fishing, war at sea, trading, how cabin boys could move up to captains because of rampant sickness while out at sea and I even found a present for the kids in the gift shop (plaster of paris with fish molds and paint).
That night was a party for all the people at Derrick's conference. It was on the top level of a Radison Hotel that looked over the whole city. That was the most amazing view we got of the entire city.

In the back of the picture above you can see a white building, that was the ship museum I went to.
Thursday Derrick had a little time so we toured the Royal Palace. Ornate is the best word to describe it. So much detail in every part of the walls, ceiling, floor and furniture.

That night we toured the Anne Frank house. It was crazy that the place she hid in was just another one of the houses you saw all around you. We walked through the doorway that a bookcase hid to conceal them, we saw the actual diary and notebooks she wrote in. And of course saw the rooms where they hid. It was a neat place to visit.
Derrick's conference was at an this old church. It was literally held in the room with the dome you see pictured with a big organ inside and old rickety staircases.

 The whole city was just cool. Every building was old and beautiful. I thought it was crazy that Central Station, for trains, was in use. It is such a pretty building I thought it was crazy people were just walking in and out like it was just that, a train station.

Literally everywhere were beautiful sites: canals, buildings, trees, boats, old churches...I just loved it.

We flew out on Friday at 2pm, arrived back 10:30pm. It was a lot of traveling but so worth it. It was neat flying through Iceland too. There are no trees there. Zero. It looked like an interesting island to visit. We also flew over Greenland which really is ice. It was crazy to see nothing but what looked like iceburgs.
It was so nice to see the kids again Saturday morning. Paul was holding Brynn when I came out in the morning. I said her name and she just starred at me. I really don't think she recognized me at first. I took her in my arms and she just kept staring. Eventually she warmed up to me and fully remembered me. The crazy thing was, I didn't recognize her voice when she started talking, it took me a while to remember that. Now it seems normal again. Caleb was sweet and seemed happy to see us again.
They had a fun week with Grandma and Grandpa. Caleb had pre-school graduation. They went to the park everyday, the library, McDonalds, played with neighbor kids and just had fun!

1 comment:

Caitlin Gardner said...

<3 Thank you for this post. I love all your commentary as most of it was a lot of my first thoughts as a missionary. When I got to Amsterdam though (my last city) I didn't even think twice about it. :D It's an easy place to love.