Saturday, December 11, 2010

Amsterdam (part 3) and Utrecht

I need to get this blog done before I forget everything we did!!

So Saturday night we headed back to downtown Amsterdam to check out a little festival they had set up. 

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Turned out the festival wasn’t much besides a skating rink and food vendors, but we got some good pictures.

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Then we just walked around downtown a little more and got a falafel on our way back to the apartment.

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(This is a urinal they have sitting along side the streets…  This was right in a busy area.  Could you imagine peeing in front of people like that??)

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Sunday we went back to downtown to pick up our rental car.  Here are a few pictures from downtown again.

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We stopped to get breakfast before we picked up the car.  It was a normal American breakfast (eggs, toast, bacon, etc), which you can’t find easily in Italy.

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Then we headed down to Utrecht, where Mark’s training was going to be the next day.  Utrecht is a BEAUTIFUL town about 45 mins south of Amsterdam.  They call it Little Venice because it has a bunch of canals running through it also.  It really, really reminded me of the States.  They had “normal” architecture, and it was just really pretty.

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All of the houses along this canal had little bridges going to their doors and garages.  It was so cute!

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I love this picture, especially the pair of clogs sitting outside the door.

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We walked around this church in downtown Utrecht.  It is the Church of Saint Martin or “Dom von Utrecht” to the Dutch.  I guess it started out as a chapel in 600ad, and has been destroyed and rebuilt too many times to count.

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Apparently the entire middle section of the church (nave) that connected this part (below) with the bell tower (above) collapsed in 1674 and they never rebuilt it.  We couldn’t go inside but it was really pretty from the outside.

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We walked around downtown Utrecht for a while and saw St. Nicholas, and Mark bought his first pair of boots and Abbie had a major meltdown.

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After grabbing lunch/ dinner at a McDonalds, we headed back to our car.

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We wanted to go see a big castle that’s close to Utrecht on the way home, but Abbie zonked out immediately, so we just drove by it instead of getting out.  Apparently it’s completely renovated inside and you can go on tours and even stay there if you want.  Next time we’re in Holland we’ll take a tour.

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I really wanted to see a few windmills since Holland is known for it’s tulips and windmills, but this is the only one I saw, and I didn’t even get a good pictures of it.  Rats!

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Monday Mark went to his training and Abbie and I stayed at the apartment until Mark got home.  Then we headed down to downtown Amsterdam one last time to take a few more pictures and eat at the Hard Rock CafĂ©.  (That’s kind of become a tradition of ours when we travel.)

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I don’t know if it was an optical illusion or what, but MANY of the row houses in Amsterdam looked crooked.  Check out this one on the left!!  We saw this right after we’d walked by a coffee shop and gotten a strong smell of marijuana and Mark made some joke about us having some sort of contact high which was pretty funny at the time.  But seriously, I think the floors in this place must be slanted!

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Overall, The Netherlands was a VERY nice break from Italy.  It felt more like America than any other place we’ve been too so far.  The people were very friendly and would strike up a conversation with you or smile at you if you made contact.  That just doesn’t happen here in Italy.  We got our fill of foods other than Italian, got to see some American TV shows that weren’t dubbed over in Italian and felt like we were back in the 21st century surrounded by new technology instead of the 1980’s technology they have here in Italy.   I would LOVE to go back and visit when it’s not snowing buckets and go visit some of the smaller towns in Holland next time, and see the tulips.  Hopefully we’ll get the chance to do that before we leave here.  It’s funny, The Netherlands wasn’t even on my list of things to see when we got here, but it’s almost my favorite place we’ve been to so far.  It’s at least in the top 3 for sure!

PS: All of this trips pictures were taken with my little SD1400 camera.  I decided not to cart around my DSLR this trip and I was really happy with the way all these pictures turned out!

1 comment:

Rachael said...

We took a picture of that same house that was slanted too, except that ours did not turn out. It was so crooked especially from the side! Should have gone to Zaanse Schans if you wanted to see the windmills! :)