Swinging Above the City

#SaturdayMorningFunFacts

 

The first place I ever went in Europe was Amsterdam. When I left for my trip there were so many things I wanted to see, to do, and to try. And when I got there, there was so much more than I even realized.

I was only in Amsterdam for three and a half days – it was enough for a first trip to one city in the Netherlands. Even though I knew from previous experiences on previous trips that I would meet people along the way who would help double my itinerary – you don’t really know until it happens.

It was a bartender from Ireland in a small pub behind our hotel who told us about the A’DAM tower. She told us which tram to get on and how to take the free ferry across the canal to the building. She did not tell us how cold it was going to be once we got to the top though and my shorts were not good enough to keep me warm.

The whole building is an experience, so even if you’re afraid of heights it’s worth checking out. The ground floor is a gift shop and photo center, this is where we took the fun photo above – in front of a green screen obviously.

The elevator ride up is another highlight of this building. The elevator has a glass ceiling, and the top of the building and the elevator shaft is lined with lights. It’s some kind of light show that I couldn’t even begin to explain and you have to see for yourself.

You get off on the top floor of the building where the bar is located. It’s a bar/observation deck with 360 degree views. The views are also interactive, there are screens located in front of the window at various intervals and you can kind of ‘click’ on the spot you’re checking out to get more information on it.

Up the stairs to the roof, you’re now 100 meters above Amsterdam. It’s a wind tunnel and you’re freezing, but the views are amazing. It’s actually the second tallest building in Amsterdam, so you’re not at the tallest point but compared to the average height you can see over pretty much every building around. Also, being across one of the bigger canals on the outskirts of the city you can actually see the entire city spread out in front of you.

It’s not a basic swing that you’re on, it’s a carnival ride. The employee straps you in and the ride lifts you up even higher before you start swinging over the edge of the building. I even felt that distinct belly drop I remember as a kid when I went on rides at fiesta.

It’s not the tallest point in the world, or Europe, or even Amsterdam. But it’s the highest swing you’ll find in Europe and that’s pretty cool if you’re not afraid of heights. I wouldn’t say I am but the ride wasn’t short and I did get a little worried that the ride might fall apart and send me into the freezing canal below me.

Always Moving Forward

If I stay in one place for too long, things get repetitive. I fall in a routine and nothing is new anymore. If nothing is new, I yearn for those experience I haven’t gotten yet.

I fear that I am missing out on something new. Some new experience, some new place, some new people.

It’s like FOMO of the unknown if that makes any sense at all.

If I’m not moving I get anxious and I’m not pleased unless I have something new to look forward to.

A week ago I could have ripped my hair out of my head out of boredom of being in one place for almost two months. I had no plans for the near future and it was driving me crazy.

This week I have a Nashville trip planned for Labor Day Weekend and it’s actually comforting to know I have something to look forward to. Something to plan for.

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~I actually wrote this a couple weeks ago – it’s a #latergram for blog posts because I just found this image on Pinterest and it kind of summarizes everything I was trying to say~

How Do You Even Pronounce Vallarta?

As I was getting ready to write this post, I realized I’ve never actually written anything about Puerto Vallarta – on my blog or elsewhere – so here it is.

Right after I got back from my Europe trip in June I changed suitcases and went straight back to the airport to fly down to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico with my company.

This trip was part business and part pleasure; learning about the destinations I sell is part of the job but experiencing the nightclubs and excursions is part of it as well.

 

We spent five days trying every flavor margarita at the margarita bar at our resort, ziplining through the jungle, sailing the bay at sunset, strolling through town and eating at a mountainside restaurant with amazing views of the bay and the Iglesia De Guadalupe En Puerto Vallarta.

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This cathedral is an iconic part of Puerto Vallarta’s skyline. It’s iron crown towers over most of the other buildings in town and draws in tourists. The rumor I heard while I was in Puerto Vallarta was that the crown was designed after the crown worn by Empress Carlota of Mexico.

I looked this up to confirm the facts once I was back in the States and found this rumor to actually not be true. Empress Carlota of Mexico, based on her hierarchy within the nobility, would have worn a tiara, not a crown. The crown that tops the Iglesia De Guadalupe En Puerto Vallarta is actually just designed by priest Rafael Parra Castillo, the same person who designed the tower.

 

Isostatic Rebound and Other Science-y Stuff

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Obviously because I started doing these Saturday morning posts on Instagram two weeks before I started sharing them on my blog, I’m a little behind but that’s okay.

This picture was taking at the start of Nahku Bay, located in between Skagway, Alaska and the former gold rush town of Dyea. Other than being full of history, it also contains my favorite view of the Lynn Canal and the glacial mountains surrounding it.

I spent three months during the Summer of 2016 in Skagway working, exploring, and learning about the history of the area. Our housing was actually located in Skagway, but our worksite was in Dyea.

Every morning we made the drive to Dyea, past this amazing view, heading to the Musher’s camp and zipline. The unpaved road twisted around the bay on the side of the mountains surrounding it – looking back, it was actually a scary cliffside ride in an area where rockslides were common.

What does all of this have to do with Isostatic Rebound? And what is isostatic rebound, anyway?

I’ll let Wikipedia define it for me :

“Post-glacial rebound (also called either isostatic rebound or crustal rebound) is the rise of land masses that were depressed by the huge weight of ice sheets during the last glacial period, through a process known as isostatic depression.”

Basically, the area of Nahku Bay was completely filled in with glacial ice hundreds of years ago causing the entire area to compress downwards. The movement and melting of the glacier is what carved out the bay and once it was gone, the land underneath was free from the pressure and able to decompress, or move upwards again.

The land here is still moving upwards. The constant but inconsistent change of landscape is why Dyea Road cannot be paved and also attributes to some of the rockslides in the area.

Based on the amount of time I spent here, and the vast amounts of history in this small town, I know I will be posting more fun facts about it soon.

Part 3 – The Typical Touristy Stuff

June 30th-

Finally, after being in the country for 3 days already we took a day to be actual tourists.

Even though waking up was a burden, either because the jet lag finally hit home or all the Heinekens did. My vote is for the Heinekens so what better place to start our day than the Heineken Experience? Yay, more beer!

But first chicken wings – yes, for breakfast because vacation. (and it was already noon.)

The history of the Heineken brewery is predictable. Rich kid invests family fortune on a brewery and proceeds to make family fortune bigger.

The whole thing was interactive and of course included several beers – definitely a must see in Amsterdam.

We then took the risk of attempting the Anne Frank House. Unfortunately, the only thing this mission was good for was the exercise because that hour long line was just not going to happen for us.

Our next stop on the list was courtesy of our bartender from the night before. Europe’s highest swing on top of the A’dam Building. It’s located right across the canal from Central Station and you can take a free ferry over. The tower also happens to be the second tallest building in Amsterdam so you get the best view over looking the city.

On the floor below the swing is a 360 interactive observatory. Being able to see the sites and ‘click’ on the locations to read about it in real time is awesome.

After dinner there was one more museum I had to make time for, this one brought us back to the Red Light District. The Museum of Prostitution features a red window tucked right in with all the others and is actually a room where a prostitute got murdered a while back. The museum had some fun facts about the different types of legal prostitution around Amsterdam and a confession wall where visitors can display their dirty secrets as well.

We woke up tired and spent the entire day walking back and forth across the city, I don’t think either one of us even considered staying out that night. It was an early bedtime to get ready for what was going to be my favorite day in Amsterdam.

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

Thoughts

Everyone wants to feel significant in life. Like they meant something to someone or they made a difference.
Writers wants to write something significant. Artists want to paint, or to draw something significant. Teachers want to teach their students a significant lesson.
It is not until we take a step back and look at life’s big picture that we realize how insignificant we are.
And how amazingly pure it feels to be insignificant.
Nature is significant. Earth, wind and rain are significant. World peace and prosperity are significant.
Look at yourself in these situations and realize, although insignificant, you are great.
Look at the pictures of yourself where you are small and the world is big. Feel peace and comfort from this. You are protected by the world; and the world is protected by you.

 

I recently read Into the Wild. A book about a recent college grad who escaped society, backpacked across America and eventually met his fate in the deep backwoods of Alaska.

I felt I was the same as him; but I also felt different. Different because of our backgrounds but the same because of our hearts.

He wrote in one of his journals, “there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon.”

He lived in the way I would like to some day; without fear and without anyone to answer to. I want to enjoy the beauty of the Earth as he did, without limits.

If you are an explorer, traveler, gypsy, backpacker, lost, confused, or misunderstood, I urge you to read this book. Or at the very least watch the movie.