Friday, October 12, 2012

{Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Netherlands} Flashback: Part 2

Brugge would have to be listed as one of my top cities in Europe. It was just so cute. We arrived at night which allowed time for only dinner and rest. Perfect.

First thing in the morning we hit the two major museums you must experience in Brugge. A chocolate and a french fry museum, duh! The two things Belgium is known for!
The chocolate museum was very interesting. It is no wonder that Europe chocolate is Ah-mazing. There is such a science, yet beautiful art to it. Oh de-lish.

The french fry museum was alright. I didn't get to enjoy it as much as I would have liked. French fries just didn't mix very well with my morning sickness. The girls sure loved learning about fries and eating loads afterwards!

The only thing left to do in a new city is to walk and walk around to get the entire feel of it. On our walk we saw The Belfort...

The Markt, which is at the heart of Brugge...

and Brugge's City Hall.

We heard that a scenic boat ride is a must in Brugge. It was very enjoyable. It was no gondola ride like we experienced in Venice but it was still fun. We were grateful that the sun decided to come out and warm us up a bit during our ride amidst the cold and rainy days we have been having lately.

We didn't stay very long in Brugge, but we stayed for enough time to see everything we needed to. Now off to Amsterdam! 
We drove to The Netherlands, (it's amazing how you can drive such a short distance this whole time and be in completely different countries, completely different cultures, completely different worlds to experience!), and took a break for the first evening per usual before heading out first thing in the morning. This whole trip may seem like we did a lot, which we did, but it was still slow enough and at a perfect pace to keep my morning sickness under control. The key was sleeping in and eating all day.

Anyway, Amsterdam the actual city was just alright to me. The main area where all the public transport arrives was too busy and too sketchy for me. I was a little disappointed at first because I envisioned quaint homes on the river front, windmills, clogs, you know, the typical Holland. It took us a little bit to find what I wanted to see but when we did it sure was beautiful and quite different than the city centre.

Brugge was filled with bicyclists. I had to watch where I was going for bikes way more than for cars. In Amsterdam we experienced the same thing. Bikes absolutely everywhere!

We visited Anne Frank's House which was yet another eye opener and interesting point of view of life during the war. At this point I was a little sick to my stomach with so much WWII horror that I kinda just blocked myself from feeling much more. A human being can only handle so much on this subject. Nevertheless, I appreciated our time there. Now I have to read her diary. I can't believe I haven't read it yet either!

We kept seeing boat rides along the river and we thought it would be fun to do. The sun was on our side once more the moment we got on the boat. Just only an hour ago it was pouring cats and dogs!

Tim was trying to pull funny faces for Natalie but it looks like he was the one caught in the funny face. Sorry, Tim!

I enjoyed the Brugge boat ride much more but it was nice to take a break from so much walking and sight seeing and even sneak in a nap on the boat for Tim.

I thought this was rather interesting. The homes in Amsterdam are so narrow that getting furniture through the house to the top levels is near impossible. So when people move in there are hooks at the top of each house that pulley furniture to the top level and that is how you move your stuff in. Through the windows!

One of my favourite days was probably the next day. Tim had researched a few nights beforehand for me to see something that was traditional Holland. I wanted windmills and clogs, dang it! Tim was able to find a nearby town called, Zaanse Schans, which was built to portray a traditional Dutch way of life, aka my windmills and wooden clogs!!
This town was SO darling. I loved it.

We watched a presentation on how they make wooden clogs, so interesting I had no idea, and then got to try on clogs from a massive selection. Marisa fancied the pink flowered clogs, of course, and Tim just thought they were all so cool. We bought only one to display in our house and had to leave these two clogs behind. Sorry Marisa and Daddy.

But the girls never go back empty handed. There souvenir of choice was a wooden tulip each. Also very Holland!

In this little town we got to try all sorts of different cheeses in a shop, where a chicken was accidentally let in, (pretty funny), ate dinner at a pancake house, and got to see many large windmills. Great experience despite how cold and incredibly windy it was.
(Please excuse my "I am cold, I have no make up on, I have super morning sickness at the moment" face.) 

Lastly, on our last day on our way home to take the train from Brussels back to London, we went to a town called Delft which is obviously known for their famous blue delft plates. Popular item in The Netherlands, of course.

Nieuwe Kerk

Opposite of that was the city hall.

And next to that was very good ice cream, yet again. My girls are going to have some serious withdrawals when we move back to America. Like, MAJOR.

Another successful week, another successful trip for the Harts!


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