I'm finally blogging about our trip to Europe! It's a daunting task, as I took a million pictures
(europe in autumn is amazing, how could I not take pictures of everything I saw?!) 
but I am making myself blog about it before I start forgetting, even if my posts aren't exactly how I want them to be. You see, I'm a slight perfectionist and things don't get done until I can do them perfectly...which means they don't get done most of the time. So here I am blogging about our trip now that we've been back for three weeks.
(I'm giving myself a pat on the back for that one.)

Also, everyone asks if it was hard to leave the boys for 9 days. Yes, it was hard especially in the beginning (the initial goodbye was the hardest part) and I cried a few times during our ten hour flight but once we landed in Amsterdam my adrenalin kicked in and we immediately started go-go-going so we really didn't have much down time to think about it. Of course we missed them and thought about them a ton but I knew I had prepared them as best as I could and they were having fun with family and friends, it was like a vacation for the boys as well. We were also on complete opposite schedules as them (Portland is 9 hours behind) so it was easier knowing that they were sound asleep for most of the time we were awake. We did get to Facetime a few times which really helped all of us I think and we kept a photostream of the pictures we were taking so they could see us whenever they wanted to.
I love technology!
It was difficult, but not as hard as I thought it would be and I honestly can say that I don't remember the last time I have felt so at ease and stress free, and I definitely came back a better mom (and wife!) because of it. Don't let the fear of leaving your kids hold you back from adventuring with your love!
...
September 21, 2013.

Coffee in hand, we headed into PDX to catch the longest flight either of us had ever been on. It was the afternoon and we'd be meeting our friends in Amsterdam at 8:30am with a full day of exploring ahead of us.
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Obligatory airport pictures:
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I highly recommend only taking carry ons, it made travelling so much easier.
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Our ride:
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We made it to Amsterdam! 
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After meeting up with our friends (who live in Germany but were gracious enough to come travel with us and show us some of their favorite spots in Europe), we headed to some vintage shops.
Neef Louis was amazing and I'm pretty sure I walked around the entire warehouse (yes, warehouse) with my jaw on the floor.
One of everything please:
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I've always been on the lookout for an old school poster and they had a ton of them:
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This is the one we brought home:
Their chair selection alone was amazing:
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And to top it off they had a great cafe where we sat and had our first European meal.
Apple pie in Europe (served with fresh whipped cream, not ice cream) somehow outdoes the good ol' American version:
(that's Gage, Jessica and their daughter Remi our gracious hosts looking longingly at our slice of pie)
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Europe also know a thing or two about hot chocolate:
(they just pour hot milk over chocolate chips!)
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This fancy ham and cheese panini came with jelly for dipping and it was amazing:
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Us with Remi, isn't she adorable?!:
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After vintage shopping, our friends showed us around Amsterdam. We were so exhausted, as it was technically the middle of the night for us, but we still had the rest of the day ahead of us!
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If you look closely, you'll notice that this is a bike parking garage:
(it's no doubt that Amsterdam takes biking seriously and we learned quickly that you don't dare step in the bike lanes when one is coming)
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A few interesting bike facts about Amsterdam (thanks to wikipedia):
- There are far more bikes than people in Amsterdam. There are 1.3 million bikes vs. 800,000 people.
- Bikes get stolen all the time, so nobody rides fancy bikes. In 2005 about 54,000 bikes were stolen.
- Each year about 15,000 bikes are retrieved from the canals!

Enough about bikes...
 I had read so many reviews trying to find the best rated places to eat in each spot we were traveling to. One place I knew I wanted to find in Amsterdam was Vlaams Frite Huis. There are a ton of places that sell fresh cut fries in cones in Amsterdam but this little hole-in-the-wall fry window was so good. Fries in Europe are commonly served with mayonnaise instead of ketchup, but Vlaams is known for their selection of 55 different sauces so we decided on a curry sauce which was pretty darn good.
Fries are my love language:
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One thing I noticed is that Amsterdam is amazingly clean for the amount of people/tourists that were there. And everything and everyone is gorgeous. You can tell that the Dutch people take pride in the way they carry themselves, how they upkeep their homes and the way they dress. Everyone is effortlessly stylish, even the old ladies.
I was constantly in awe of the architecture and just how pretty everything was:
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Even the shopping areas were amazing:
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And not surprisingly, the Euro is beautiful as well:
(especially when you compare it to American dollars)
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After some shopping, we checked into our cute little "eco-cabins" at Camping Zeeburg just outside of the main part of Amsterdam.
Ours was the yellow one:
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It was essentially a dorm room but it was perfect (and cheap!) for sleeping and holding our belongings. We had to share bathrooms with everyone else, but it wasn't that bad really. I'd say everything about this place blows Oregon camping out of the water. Somebody needs to build a campground like this in Oregon, there was even a restauraunt with a bar for the night owls (which was definitely not us). There was also a little store that had some basic grocery items and they baked fresh bread and pastries each morning, but more on that in my next post!
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The "wagonettes" that were across from us:
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The cute restaurant:
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Eventhough we spent most of our time in Amsterdam out of all of the places we saw on our trip (we also went to Germany, Paris and Switzerland) it's the one place we know we'd like to come back to someday.
It's like Portland on steroids and we loved the heck out of it!

Stay tuned for Amsterdam p.2 coming soon...hopefully!

3 comments

  1. Ashley on October 19, 2013 at 9:23 PM

    Such a fun post to read and look at.. it's giving me the travel bug!... I would love a post on what you packed for your trip in just a carry-on... when you have time! :-)

     
  2. Suzannah Hamlin Stanley on October 31, 2013 at 9:07 PM

    The trip sounds amazing, and these photos are so cool! Do you ever think about making your center/post column wider so you could show photos in X-large size? It is easy to do in your Blogger layout/settings and would make them look even better!! =)

     
  3. Silvia Bennett on November 30, 2013 at 8:25 PM

    Love, love, Amsterdam! I am from Pdx, currently living in Brussels. I stumbled across your blog while I was searching for last min advent calendars ;) Enjoy your blog!

     


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