Part 4 – I’m the Queen of the Castle and He’s the Dirty Rascal

Finally an early morning in Amsterdam. For me at least – I had to drag John out of bed, but I didn’t care because the one thing on top of my Amsterdam Bucket List was to go see a real life fairytale…. sorta.

I wanted to visit a castle and Kasteel de Haar was my dream come true; surrounded by a moat, flower gardens, and even a maze, it had everything.

It took us two trains and a bus to get there just to find out the castle was closed for a private event. Fortunately, the grounds were open and it still took us over an hour to see about two-thirds of it.

It was vast and amazing, with green everywhere you looked dotted with pink and purple flowers. There were swans roaming around the different bodies of waters and if we had had more time we could have wandered down to their deer pasture.

As predicted, I fell in love with the place and for the first time on this trip, took hundreds of pictures. If I had actually been let into the castle I’m not sure if I would have ever left.

Before heading back into Amsterdam we spent a couple of hours in Utrecht. The first hour was spent searching for the “perfect” pizza place – only one owned and operated by Italians would satisfy John’s taste buds at this moment.

After pizza and gelato we explored the St. Martin’s Cathedral – originally built and designed by Catholics and destroyed during the Reformation in 1580. Catholic symbols were literally chiseled off the walls, making this an interesting place to visit.

The other thing that makes this place so interesting is that the entire central hall collapsed in 1674 and was never rebuilt. There is now an open air courtyard between the tower and the main building – you can visit both sections separately.

I guess we saved the best for last because this was my favorite day spent in Holland and after arriving back in Amsterdam we only had time to grab our luggage from the hotel before heading to the airport to catch our flight to Iceland!

Camp Cody

Of course I would not have left Alaska in the past without another journey in mind.

On Sunday, I ventured up to Freedom, New Hampshire where I will be spending the next six weeks working at Camp Cody. During the day I will be teaching gymnastics and in the evening (and during meal times) I will be spending my time with seven 10-year-old girls.

Going from Skagway to Camp Cody is literally night and day. Skagway is described as an adult summer camp –sleeping in tents, hanging out around bonfires, and drinking a lot. (Along with other obscenities.) Here there will be no drinking and healthier eating.

I will not complain about the healthy lifestyle forced upon me but I will certainly miss the freedom I had previously.

This morning I woke up half an hour early to shower before the girls woke up; but as soon as they heard the shower turn on they started stirring.

I find it funny how interested the girls are in my life. They have so many questions for me and I actually think I convinced a few of them to travel when they are older. This has always been my favorite part about working with kids—making a difference in their life, or getting to be that person they look back on later in life and be thankful because I taught them something or showed them something, whether or not it was something life changing.

I am also hoping the experience I gain here will actually lead into a future career. No—I do not want to be a professional camp counselor, and no I do not want to work with children forever.

My hope is to work with Education First –a company that provides international trips for high school and college students. It is a company I have known about for a while and will ultimately allow me to have a career job as well as continue to travel.

I am glad that after almost 24 years, and multiple wrong turns, I finally have an idea of what I want to do. I feel like big changes are going to start happening and I am actually ready for it.

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