Sunday, July 10, 2011

" Are they fresh? " " . . . Sure . . . ? "

Now that we've dropped off Jenna and Brandon at the airport to head back to the states (with a twinge of jealousy - *sigh*), I guess I failed to mention why they were here. Jenna is in law school and has been doing study abroad in Rome for the past five weeks, so knowing we would be living here, she extended her stay by a few days so that she could come visit before heading home. Her boyfriend flew out last weekend to take advantage of the trip and spend time with Jenna in Europe. Having them here was awesome and made me feel like I was on vacation with friends! : )

So after lounging around most of the morning, eating all kinds of Dutch sweets for breakfast -- wait, let me pause here and actually share the things we ate so you get an idea of what I'm talking about. Between the four of us, we partook in:

  • coffee
  • cappuccino
  • bread with butter on it, covered in chocolate shavings (all Dutchies eat this)
  • cheese pastries
  • stroopwafel (think round, flat ice cream cone with caramel inside)
  • mini sugared donuts (granulated sugar, not powdered)
  • meat pastry
Everyone had more than one of the above, but I will not name who had what to protect the anonymous. We got a nice, new coffee maker that does all kinds of stuff, so Keith is really enjoying making coffee and cappuccinos -- he makes a terrific cup! Anyway, we literally spent an hour and half having breakfast and coffee, talking, and hanging out, which was super relaxing and nice.

Let me interrupt this post once again to tell you another funny Albert Heijn story (this kind of stuff only happens to Keith!) . . . When Keith was getting breakfast foods for us that morning, he was in the drink aisle picking up several large bottles of water when an old woman comes walking right up to him, waving her arms at him and speaking in Dutch (what IS it with him and these old ladies??). He says, "I'm sorry?" and she says, "Oh, I can't reach the beer up high, can you get it for me?" PRICELESS.

A bike parking deck outside Amsterdam Centraal
Ok, back to our day : We finally decided it was time to get our butts in gear and head out for the day, so everyone got ready and we made the "trek" to Amsterdam (I use the word "trek" lightly because the Dutch would consider it a long drive, but it's only about an hour and fifteen minutes). The first thing we did was have a late lunch / early dinner, and after looking at several places and menus, we finally decided on tapas. Everything we had was delicious, especially the bacon-wrapped dates (YUM), and after emptying our bladders at the free restroom (many places charge you to use the restroom whether you're a customer or not), we headed out to explore the city.

At the tapas place for dinner
(shout-out to my dad, who LOVES tapas places ;)

In front of one the many canals
Originally, we had intended to do several things while in Amsterdam, such as see the Van Gogh museum, visit the Heineken experience, do a canal tour, etc. BUT a number of factors prevented us from doing any of these things, namely our nonchalantness in the morning coupled with a confusion about what time these things closed. However, we had a GREAT time walking around, people-watching (you can do that incredibly well in this city), and talking. We saw all different kinds of people walking around -- young, old (even a 70ish-year old woman driving a moped), white, black, Asian, hispanic, anyone you can imagine -- many people pulling their luggage behind them, most just enjoying the bars, restaurants, and coffee shops on every corner. There were families, hippies, sketchy dudes, friends, couples, you name it, we saw it. Jenna made the comment that she wished she could just take pictures of my facial expressions -- I'm not sure how many times my jaw dropped or my eyes widened (just slightly, for those who know me ; ), but it was a lot! We also enjoyed strolling through the streets, taking in the architecture, walking over bridges and canals, and being careful not to get run over by any bikes. Despite its reputation of stoned teenagers and debauchery, it really is a beautiful city -- the architecture, the canals, the cobblestone streets -- all make for a unforgettable background and I'm glad we got to share it with Jenna and BF.

Finally, at the end of the night, my pregnant self wanted some dessert, so we went in search of the perfect place. The first bakery we came across had an extreme variety of pastries and delicacies -- I'm talking about fifty different kinds of goodies. However, when asked if the pastries were fresh, the response was, "  . . .  Sure . . .? " So we moved on. We eventually found a place that served gelato over fresh Belgian waffles.

I'll give you a moment to let that sink in.

It was, of course, a match made in heaven. Keith and I shared a scoop of pistachio and a scoop of coffee over our waffle, and Jenna and Brandon shared raspberry and vanilla over theirs. The cold gelato mixed with the crispy outside and soft inside of a hot, fresh Belgian waffle is unmatched in my book (well, for the time being -- you never know what dessert I'll discover next). After we finished our waffle and gelato experience, we sat there looking at each other like, "Did that just happened?"

About to dig into our dessert!
Just like any other dessert from Greek mythology
Amsterdam Centraal, the beautiful train station

Keith and I

Jenna and BF
We slowly made our way back to Amsterdam Centraal, the train station, to take a train back to our car. Amsterdam Centraal is in itself a sight to behold -- it is massive, beautiful, and unlike any train station I've ever seen (see pictures). We finally made it home and crashed, knowing Jenna and BF had an early flight . . . definitely one of my favorite days since we've been here so far. : )

Now, it's church on Sunday, finishing up house stuff and preparing the nursery this week -- can't wait to share some "after" photos with you all!


1 comment:

  1. Ok so I really enjoyed reading this post. My mouth dropped in jealousy when you were originally going to the Van Gogh Museum but then as I continued reading, I got sad you missed it. That would have been nice to see. Then luckily I had just eaten breakfast before reading this or I would have been extremely hungry from all this food you mentioned. Although the gelato served over fresh Belgian waffles made my mouth water. Looks and sounds delicious.