A SPRING FLING
- NEW LIFE GROWS FROM THE OLD -
Amsterdam had been our dream end-goal for quite some time.
In reality, it turned out to be the beginning of a whole new chapter of our adventure!
Waaaaay back in Croatia, when we were battling with car-life in the coldest winter storm of recent decades, we were dreaming of ending our adventure days in Amsterdam. With only around $4000 NZD left in our accounts, we figured we might just make it there, limping perhaps, but we could squeeze it in before we had to head back to Italy to meet Oliver's parents, and finally give back our small Citroen and get on that plane that would take us to the USA...
What we did not reckon on was that we would arrive in Amsterdam early, with a whole MONTH to spare, and.......... a tonne of EXTRA CASH!
I think I seriously considered blowing all that extra money at a Fairytale Theme park. But luckily, after 5 months of traveling, we had our priorities straight, and knew just how far that leftover money could get us. We planned a new plan:
THE NEW CHAPTER OF ADVENTURES:
I think at this point I turned to Oliver and said: what are your dream experiences in Europe?
We got out our handy-dandy notebook and began to dream big...
- Drinking the best beer in Belgium - The one brewed by real monks, inside the walls of Westvleteren monastery!
- Eating mountains of chocolates, waffles and fries in Bruges!
- Peering closely at the real Bayeux Tapestry in Normandy, (this was my idea, of course!)
- Sleeping a night on the gorgeous Mont St Michel!
- Eating crepes, and drinking cider, and walking between the pink rocks on the Rose Coast of Brittany, in France!
- Sleeping on the cliffs of Etretat, to wake and see the sunrise over the white arches!
- Skipping down Europe's tallest sand dune - The Dune du Pilat!
- Exploring the cave paintings of Lascaux and Font de Gaume!
- Driving across the Millau Viaduct - the tallest bridge in the world!
- Peeping at the pink waters of the Salin d'Aigues Mortes!
- Touring through Provence region, eating, drinking, and merry making amongst Van Gogh's Irises!
- Swimming in the Verdon G0rge, with its azure and turquoise waters!
- Visiting all the gardens of Monaco for a day!
- Summiting the snowy peaks of Mont Blanc, to look out over three countries!
- Exploring the underground cavern-Temples of Humankind in Damanhur!
- Discovering ancient monsters in the Bomarzo Garden of Monsters, in Italy!
... Before finally ending our six months of traveling with one week of touring around Italy, Ollie's parents in tow.
And where would this whole new chapter begin?
In Amsterdam of course!!!!
With a new lease on life, and a Dutch MuseumCard in my pocket,
we took to the streets of the city to see what we could find...
WE FOUND WONDERS
Watery reflections of tall and skinny buildings.
Cold mornings, grey days, and lamp-lit nights.
Windmills, and rain, and a rainbow of umbrellas.
Bikes, bikes and more bikes!!!
We even found some bikes of our own to ride.
Creaky stairs and golden angels at the Museum of Our Lord in the Attic.
Thousands of tulips, tucked into buckets at the Bloemenmarkt!
An eyeful, and a little more than I wanted to see, in the windows of the Red Light District.
Remnants of posters on peeling walls, in the Anne Frank House... (and many memories from childhood of reading her story, all of it came back, flooding my heart).
Richly coloured pigments and wooden palettes inside Rembrandt's old abode.
Psychedelic tiling inside the covered walkways.
Posters for peepshows, all over the place.
A moment of rest in a cafe.
A moment of bliss at a patisserie.
Hordes of sea gulls, their squawking music reminding me of my little hometown by the ocean.
Hordes of British blokes looking for a good time.
Food glorious food - in the form of piping hot croquettes and boerenkool stamppot (kale and mash).
Sunflowers blooming at the Van Gogh museum...
...and daffodils blooming in the countryside of Lisse, where we rode our bikes between the flat fields, canals and small woodland groves.