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!

European Adventure – Part 1

I’m sure if I tried hard enough I could summarize our trip enough to write only one post about our time in Amsterdam, but instead of one huge, long anecdote I’m going to split it up a little bit.

Day 1 started off with our overnight flight from Boston to Reykjavik to Amsterdam.

I’m not sure if it was the stress of the overnight flight, or the stress of the chaos surrounding me on WOW Airlines that got to me, but the only thing I wanted to do when we landed in Amsterdam was nap.

Until this point I have never been on a flight where people were allowed to line up outside the bathrooms or shuffle through the overhead bins mid-flight.

I was slightly annoyed upon boarding, really annoyed after sitting at the gate for over an hour, and extremely annoyed at the people constantly hovering over me while waiting in line for the bathroom.

Thanks to the hour delay in Boston, our hour layover in Reykjavik quickly diminished into a five minute layover consisting of a bus ride between terminals and a nice sprint to our gate – thankfully, we made it.

Even through all our planning we somehow missed the part of our trip that consisted of getting from the airport in Schiphol to our hotel in Amsterdam Centre. Trying to read a bus map in Dutch with all of our luggage after a 10-hour night of traveling was not the highlight of my trip.

Sometimes I am thankful for John, and this was one of the times. He got us on the right tram, found the right stop, and carried all of our luggage while navigating the streets of Amsterdam until we found out hotel. All while dealing with me complaining the whole time 🙂

I would have gone right to sleep if I could have- but it was lunch time, and we were in Europe, and our room wasn’t ready yet.

Once I was cleaned up and luggage free I could actually enjoy myself. Maybe John’s positivity rubbed off on me a little and I woke up enough to wander the streets. We didn’t know where we were going and we had no plan, but that was just fine with us.

I wish I could remember what exactly we saw on that first day but I can’t. I was lost in the history and the architecture, as well as just physically lost in the city. I took my eyes off the scenery so little that I think I have less than 10 photos on my phone from that first day. I honestly don’t think photos would do the place justice anyway.

Our wanderings took us into the night – with a brief nap before dinner, I admit- with dinner across the way from a sex shop, some space cakes, and a stroll through the Red Light District. Whilst in Amsterdam, right?

Adventure Time

This morning I woke up feeling like a 2-year-old on Christmas morning, I haven’t been this excited to travel in a long time. As you prepare for your long four day Memorial Day Weekend, I’m preparing for my 14 day vacation and my first time traveling overseas.

I’m getting ready to spend four days in Amsterdam, two days in Iceland, and then five days in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico!

I think it might be my first time traveling in almost two years on a totally non-business related trip, the first leg of the trip at least. Going back to Mexico means going back to work for me, although I’ll still be in Mexico so I can’t complain too much.

Going to Europe for the first time and being able to see the beauty of both Amsterdam and Iceland is what has me really excited. New countries = new discoveries and that means new adventures! I feel like an adrenaline junkie for seeing new places and learning about new cultures.

Anyway, for the next seven days I’ll be exploring the world with one of my best friends so what can get better than that?

Get ready for lots of stories and pictures! 🤗

 

April Travels bring May Flowers?

There’s no better way to finish off a month at home than with a week of traveling. Going from Cabo to New York, I traded mountains for skyscrapers. 

I fell in love with Cabo because it was a mashup of all of my favorite things. You land in the middle of a desert and drive through the mountains before arriving on the beach. There are sandy beaches, rocky cliffs, and marinas full of yachts.

The weather was 85 and perfectly sunny each of the fours days we were there. And you can’t swim in the ocean, so there are a surplus of pools to make up for it.

I spent my three days in Cabo driving from hotel to hotel and attending meeting after meeting so you know I’ll be going back to explore more some day. I want to hike up one of the many trails, and I want to visit one of the many oases.

On top of the amazing sites, every single person I met in Cabo was the nicest person I’ve ever met. As soon as I thought, ‘I’ve never met someone so nice’ I met someone else and thought the same exact thing. They were hospitable and happy and that is just not something you find very often on the East Coast.

Quite the contrast from the people honking and yelling from the cars stuck in traffic around New York City or the man who called my friend a “miserable cunt” for not sharing a cigarette.

I have been to NYC multiple times in the past but there is always something I miss out on or just don’t have time to see. This time I went with two girls from South Africa, whom I met while working in Cancun, and thankfully their plan for the day involved a lot of things I had missed out on previously. I can finally say I’ve seen the Statue of Liberty and have been to Ground Zero.

These girls have been traveling the world for the past year and I swear they are experts at finding their way around unfamiliar places and figuring out the cheapest way to explore. They were leading me through the subways, getting us into free tours, and found the best rooftop bar with no cover charge and an amazing view of the Empire State Building.

While it’s fun to visit the city for a day or two, I am not a city girl and was not sad to leave. On the other hand, I left part of my heart in Cabo and my desire to move out West just keeps growing.

The West Coast is the Best (Looking) Coast

I left the East coast for the first time almost exactly a year ago when I traveled to Skagway, Alaska for the summer.

Now for the second time I find myself on the West coast of North America, dipping underneath the clouds above the Baja Peninsula.

The sight as we fly towards Cabo is so similar to the approach into Juneau but at the same time, so different.

The mountains are covered in sand rather than evergreens and ice. I am surrounded by  the turquoise waters of the Gulf of California rather than the deep blue of the fjords. The mountains aren’t as high here and the valleys aren’t as deep.

All of these contrast but you get the same feeling that the topography wasn’t always like this. And the scarcity of civilization besides the small oceanfront towns is the same. The rivers carved into the sides of the mountain are the same, but in Alaska they are constantly powered by the melting glaciers while here in Mexico they run dry.

The feeling of adventure as you approach a place you’ve never been before is the same. Although the four days I’ll be spending here won’t compare to the four months I spent in Alaska.

It’s such a beautiful thing to be able to enjoy the many different horizons of the world.

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Poetry? Please.

I recently fished an old notebook out of my desk to bring to work. It may have been one I used for notes in high school, or an extra one I had lying around the house.

Growing up, my parents always encouraged my to write. I had countless amounts of diaries and notebooks filled with stories of my life, stories I made up, and poetry.

Sometimes I wish I had studied creative writing in college rather than journalism – maybe my poetry would be a little smoother if I had – but poetry is art, and art is whatever you want it to be. So, because I have not posted in a while and came across this poem in the back of my notebook I figured, why not?

I couldn’t tell you when I wrote it or what inspired me to, but it’s kind of funny because I wrote a blog post titled “Where to Next?” not too long ago.

Time passes so quickly

Putting numbers to our days

Where to next?

It comes and goes so quickly

Always passing by us

Where to next?

It’s over before it starts

Forever or never?

We don’t know until it’s over