Last night I was overtired and un-inspired so today I will make up for it!

Yesterday morning we went on a walking tour of Amsterdam led by the brother of Jeff's aunt.  He is a veritable expert on Amsterdam and knows all sorts of little details about common buildings most people just walk right by.  I could've followed and listened all day but we had to cut it short because Julia was less than enthusiastic about the historical details and more focused on where we would eat lunch.  The constant tugging on the arm got a bit old and to preserve everyone's sanity we bowed out and let the childless members of the group continue on without us.

jailbridge2One of the most interesting things we saw was a very wide bridge (the Torensluis - Toren for tower and sluis for lock) that used to hold a main tower gate into the city of Amsterdam.  Underneath the bridge there was a jail and you can see the little windows for the prisoners.  Ugh, can you imagine being held there??  So dank and cold - makes you want to stay on the right side of the law!  Considering it was built in 1648 I highly doubt that it was luxurious inside.

There were many other fascinating sites and facts but it's way too difficult to tell them all - you should come and see them for yourself!  After a lunch that took way too long for our toasted sandwiches to arrive we trammed it back to our place to pick up the car.  Our afternoon plans involved hanging out at Jeff's cousin Petra's houseboat where the kids could swim and play with some of their cousins.  The weather was beautiful and not as ridiculously hot as the day before so we had a lovely time hanging out while the kids swam in slightly greenish water.  swim(Apparently it's very clean but it still creeps me out a little.)

Dinner was another family affair as all of the Canadians were invited to another one of Jeff's aunt and uncle's house for a backyard food extravaganza.  I think they will roll us out of this country as we are being treated to enormous quantities of food and drink almost every night!  I think I will only eat steamed green beans when I get home.

And now for today… I can't say that much happened.  Jeff wasn't feeling 100% so the girls and I went and explored our neighborhood a bit.  After consulting a map (and the internet) we made a plan and walked to a little shopping area about 20 minutes away.  The bus would've been easier but we weren't sure which of the 3 that stop in front of our place would actually take us where we wanted to go.  We walked along the street (keeping one eye on the buses and paying attention to which one went where) and found a beautiful park with ducks and a fun looking splash park.  We eventually made it to the shopping area and we were pleasantly surprised to find a market taking place.  This one was very different in that there is a large Muslim population around here so the market had many stalls devoted to headscarves, very demure looking nightgowns, and those long dress/coat things.  I did, however, get a smoking deal on a faux-leather jacket for 25€.  It feels like real leather and is very cute so I felt pretty pleased with myself.

We looked in a few stores but it was more of a dollar-store kind of area (which is interesting in it's own right) but not exactly what we were looking for.  We stopped for a quick sandwich and iced tea, looked over the back-to-school supplies and marvelled over how differently their paper is hole punched compared to ours.  We took the bus back instead of walking and then spent the rest of the beautiful afternoon sitting in our backyard reading books and eating potato chips.  So, not an overly productive day, but a very relaxing one.

Tonight we ventured back into Haarlem for dinner at a sushi restaurant.  We've been craving Japanese for a while and I spotted the restaurant the other day when we went on our walking tour.  It was a really big restaurant (more North American in feel than any other one I've been to here) and it was absolutely packed.  mint_teaWe didn't have a reservation so we were in the very back booth by the kitchen but it didn't matter as the food made up for it.  It was an all you can eat place, which before now we've been sceptical about trying in regards to sushi.  We looked at the a la carte menu but it was a much better deal to pay the flat price as the kids were 11€ each and what they wanted added up to about 20€ each if ordered piece by piece.  (They have expensive sushi tastes…!)  In any case it was really good, very efficient and completely pleasing.  We ended with a delicious tea that was jammed full of fresh mint leaves.  Excellent.

It's been a lazy day and tomorrow we're looking forward to connecting with some friends who came and visited us in Calgary right before we left - they did a 3 week Canadian adventure and just returned home to Holland so it will be fun to hear what they thought of their trip.  Tot ziens!


 photo gallery


me_madridAbout Me

Blog Archive

Powered by mod LCA