Posts Tagged With: Amsterdam

New Press a Penny and Some Souvenir Coins

So as my last post indicated I’m back from my week in Europe. I have a lot of posts ahead of me from this trip. I’m starting my posting my souvenirs and then will share my trip journal.

I was able to pick up one press a penny in Cologne. Though there it’s press a .05 Euro. I also picked up some souvenir coins to add to my collection. I have some from Paris.

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Categories: Amsterdam, Belgium, Europe, Family Vacation, Germany, Gifts and Souvenirs, Mish Mash, Press A Pennies, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Europe’s Best City Escapes for Spring

In about 2 months (not 1 month-stupid WordPress widgit) I will be heading to Europe to do my annual international vacation. We will be going to Amsterdam, Cologne, Brussels, Ghent, and possibly some other small cities. So when I saw the article below I was glad to see I was going to one of the cities on their list.

All rights belong to Yahoo! and you can view the original slideshow/article here.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam, Netherlands

The Netherlands takes pride in its tulips, and for good reason: these flowers are big business. This spring, explore the countryside on bicycle to see vast fields carpeted with vibrant tulips in a dazzling array of colors. , located in nearby Lisse, is famed for rows upon rows of flowers that stretch as far as the eye can see. Take a day trip there when the gardens are open, from mid-March to mid-May, by direct bus (No. 858) from Schiphol Airport.

Insider Tip: In the city, opt for ‘s equally fabulous and historical floating on the Singel canal—the only one in the world, open daily—to view floating barges that burst in fragrant swathes of red, pink, orange, and yellow petals.

Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon, Portugal

In spring, Europe’s westernmost capital is bathed in warm climes, with picture-perfect hues that pervade twisting cobblestone alleyways. A spring trip to is a fairy-tale fling in a global city that’s undergoing something of a renaissance. Outside the city, neighboring castle-clad towns Sintra and Cascais both make for easy day trips.

Insider Tip: The hip, bohemian neighborhood of is filled with creatives. Explore the quarter’s abundance of artistic murals, three-table bars where elderly men smoking pipes flank traditional bars, and Capoeira schools and cafés that boast an eclectic edge.

Budapest, Hungary

Budapest, Hungary

The hip capital ranks as a popular budget-friendly destination. The city offers medicinal thermal baths, edgy “ruin pubs,” and a gritty, post-Communist exuberance. For exploring, the lower Pest side of the Danube River boasts opera, theaters, and the city’s historic Jewish quarter, while Buda on the upper side features the castle district’s posh residences.

Insider Tip: Spanning three floors, offers everything from local meats to baked sweets. Spring kicks off a roster of world-themed food days, including Chilean and Moroccan eats. The Easter market is one of the busiest times of year; expect throngs of hungry crowds counting their forints.

Riga, Latvia

Riga, Latvia

Deeply etched in European history, is synonymous with classical music, elegance, and historic architecture. Get lost in the quaint side streets on a spring morning and make sure to visit the city’s medieval center, which offers the widest collection of art nouveau buildings in the world. Here, the concentration of remarkably intact medieval architecture dates back to the 12th century, which contributed to Riga’s World Heritage status. The European Union also recently recognized the city as the European Capital of Culture for 2014.

Insider Tip: Foodies should head to for locally sourced Latvian tidbits ranging from pig snout and sauerkraut to hemp butter. End your day with a drink and a rooftop view from the ‘s 26th-floor Skyline Bar. The spot fills up fast, so get there early to enjoy spectacular panoramic vistas.

Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen, Denmark

Spring kick-starts a year of Danish design and architecture exhibitions. Start at the iconic , which first opened in 1755. The hotel is newly refurbished, overlooks famous square, and sits near the Nyhavn Canal, the Royal Danish Theatre, and shopping street Stroget. Spend another afternoon at , Northern Europe’s largest aquarium.

Insider Tip: For unforgettable organic fare, go to super-hip , the Meat District neighborhood, and try restaurant, which is housed within a 1920s Bosch warehouse, or the neighboring .

Categories: Mish Mash, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gifts from Holland, Belgium, and Colorado

I have two friends that just got back from their vacations. One friend came back from abroad. He brought me back chocolate, postcards (yeah for adding to my collection) and a delft windmill. I have a lot of delft items from Aruba. It was nice to add something from Holland to the collection. I had some of the chocolate with my ABP crew and we all thought it was amazing. It was so light and creamy. I also love the bag it came in. I love gifts from abroad!

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The other friend got back from Boulder and took a tour of the Celestial Seasonings Factory. I got tea and a pen.

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Categories: Amsterdam, Europe, From Friends, Gifts and Souvenirs, Mish Mash, Postcards, Travel, USA | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Losing my Luggage in Amsterdam

7/30/11
We land in Amsterdam. A woman waits for the 8 of us heading to Cairo. She takes us to our next gate where we are instructed to throw out our water bottles. BOO! When I ask the woman about my bag I get a rude answer. Then at the gate, I ask again and they tell me that they do not know anything about it. When the woman goes to check me in she tells me that my reservation doesn’t exist and I can’t board the plane. After me arguing with her she makes a phone call and magically I turn up in the system. After getting groped by the gate agent for security, I finally board the plane. We are delayed, which is a mixed blessing. My luggage now has 1 hour to make the plane. New question/worry: will my Contiki rep wait for me? I’m in the 2nd row of the plane next to some British guy.

They serve my meal and I have no idea what it is. It looks disgusting! I eat the 3 spoonfuls of white rice and a piece of bread. The bread tastes like sawdust. I’m given one Belgian chocolate and I put on the movie Sucker Punch. About 15 mins in and I feel ill. I feel like I am running a fever, have chills, and am extremely nauseous. I am informed that there are no pillows or blankets on the plane. Not even for first class. What the hell? I turn off the movie and put on Glee, but even that doesn’t help. I try to review some hieroglyphics, which helps for a while. I try to sleep, but cannot. I can’t stop thinking about my suitcase. The stewardess comes around and offers each of us a blue delft house, which was the best part of the flight. Then I’m given a waffle, which looks and smells amazing. However, I am too sick to eat it.

We land in Egypt and take a shuttle to the airport. I see a Contiki sign and I couldn’t be happier! Yeah Muhammad did wait for me! He points me to the passport line. However, I decide to use my first Egyptian toilet before dealing with the passport line. Not bad. The passport thing was easy since I already had my visa. Next it was time for luggage. I stood there praying that I would see a hint of lime green, which would indicate my bag was coming. The crowd started to get thinner and thinner. The 8 of us were standing there and no one had their bag. Now what? Muhammad and I go to file a claim as he explains to them we leave Cairo tomorrow. He asks me if I have any other clothes and I reply that I do not. I’m praying Janelle, Megan, Lexi, and Sonja will take pity on me. I exchange $220 American and check out the only shop in hopes of deodorant. No luck.

We drive through Cairo in the Spring Tours van. The roads are smooth at first and I read my hieroglyphics book. Then we encounter Cairo traffic. There are absolutely no rules! From the time I landed it takes 2 hrs to get to the hotel. I pick up my room key and am shown to my room. The room looks just like the pictures on the web. Within minutes I have a mosquito bite on my ear. I check the bed for bed bugs and then dump my stuff on the floor. I take inventory of what I have and don’t have. Thank goodness for first class amenity kits. I now have 2 pairs of airplane socks, ear plugs, toothbrushes, tooth paste, and scented cream (to act as deodorant for now).

I go downstairs for the meeting and I don’t see anyone, but then I hear someone call my name. Turns out Sonja and Lexi were in the bar. I fill them in and am introduced to some of the guys. Next I run into the twins. It’s so crazy to finally meet all the girls after talking for months. We sit down in the lounge and Sherif comes in. What a relief to see him! After all the Contiki research I had done, I felt like I knew him. He explained the trip and then I explained my suitcase situation to him. He told me not to worry and that it happens all the time.

The hotel informed us that fighting was going on outside so we convinced the boys to join us in a walk to the gas station for stuff. I desperately wanted water, food, and deodorant. Luckily I found all 3. I debated about buying flip flops, but they were expensive (16LE) and I hoped my suitcase would just be a day late. Besides the lack of traffic lights, it wasn’t so bad outside. I’m glad we didn’t see the fighting that was happening nearby.

After the gas station we went back to the restaurant in the hotel. Everyone got food, but me. Found out Mike is Greek, Alli had a strange situation with a guy from the previous Contiki tour, and that the special price for Contiki guests was actually more expensive then the menu prices. I ate the chocolate I bought in the gas station while everyone else ate food from the restaurant. My goal is to barely put any Egyptian food in my mouth while here.

I borrowed a night shirt from Janelle and turned my jacket into a skirt. That will have to do as PJ’s. I killed the mosquito and used my headphones from Delta with my earplugs to drown out the traffic noises.

Categories: Africa, Amsterdam, Egypt, Europe, Travel, Trip with a Tour Group | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Panicking on the Plane to Amsterdam

7/29/11
I woke up really nervous. Mommy is stressing me out over this trip! I did some last minute packing and waited for the car to come and pick us up. The car came at 3pm. We barely hit any traffic and were at the airport in no time.

I checked in and was relieved to hear that I wouldn’t have to pick up my bag in Amsterdam. It would be checked in for the entire route. Outside of security, I checked into 4sq and spoke to my dad on the phone. I also updated my Facebook status. I took some flu medicine and I said goodbye to my mom. For security I chose a male TSA worker and had no problems with my meds. However, they didn’t like my wheelie. I was pulled to the side and it was swabbed with something. That probably had something to do with bombs.

I bought a bagel and a water for the plane, which was very overpriced. Then I went into the Delta Lounge. The place was mobbed! There were barely any seats and there was almost no food left. The lady at the desk was extremely rude and refused to help me with my seats. Love how they treat their first class passengers. I had two pieces of cheese and then I left.

I waited at the gate and started to tear up. My first flight all by myself. Of course that only made my cold worse and I spent the next 15 mins blowing my nose in an effort to breathe. I bbmed Bik to cheer myself up.

Once we boarded I situated myself on the plane and waited to meet my seatmate. Meanwhile, the woman right across the aisle from me was being a prick. She never requested a gluten free meal, but expected one to be there for her because she was first class. My seatmate finally showed up. She was headed to India. We started to prepare to leave the gate when I saw the first sign of trouble, a rain drop.

Sure enough the captain announced that we would be stuck at the gate for 30 mins to 1 hr because of the weather. Let the panic begin! My connection in Amsterdam is 1hr 40mins. I went on my phone to inform my mom and to check the weather forecast. It was a severe storm alert and even a tornado warning. I started to freak out! The stewardess said as long as I had 30 mins I would be fine. However, once I explained there is only one flight to Cairo a day she became rude and dismissive. 1 hr mark. I called my mom to have her call Delta to go over my options. I knew if I missed the transfer I would miss the tour group. For an additional hour I had a major panic attack. My mom was on the phone with Delta and I was on the phone with my insurance company. It wound up being an over 2hr delay.

After we finally took off, they served everyone around me nuts even though their instructions (and I reminded them) said not to. Then they came out with the food. I skipped the salad. I had hummus with bread. The main course was pasta in Alfredo sauce with nuts. Who puts nuts on pasta? I spooned the dozen nuts off, ate the pasta, and prayed that I would be ok. The pasta was good and the dessert was cheesecake.

Then I watched Just Go With It, which was cute. I decided I would try to attempt to sleep. 10 mins in and it hits me. MY LUGGAGE! What if I run and somehow make my transfer, will my luggage as well? I talk to a stewardess (Kathleen not mean Ruth) and she says it won’t make my flight, but they’ll send it the next day at 2pm. I explain the whole tour situation and she speaks to the captain. They decide to take down my info and call ground control in Amsterdam. They want them to pull the bag ASAP. I don’t sleep and don’t eat the breakfast (oatmeal). We land with 30 mins to make my transfer.

Categories: Africa, Amsterdam, Egypt, Europe, Travel, Trip with a Tour Group | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Postcards from Places I’ve Never Been

I’m lucky enough to have friends and family who think about me when they travel. They bring me back postcards and inspire me to travel to where they have been. The postcards below include China (thanks Kristy), Italy (thanks Veronica and Gayla), Amsterdam (thanks Gayla-even though I’ve technically been here if you count the airport), New Orleans, Poland (thanks Annette), Croatia, Turkey, Australia (thanks Janelle, Megan, Alexis, and Sonja), Switzerland (thanks to my dad), Ile Maurice (thanks Caitlin), Alaska (thanks Gabby), Bali (thanks Janelle and Megan), and many more.

Categories: From Friends, Postcards, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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