May 29, 2012

Amsterdam 11/2011

Onto the blogging of the trips.  We began our trip to Scotland by getting on the bus and settling in for a long ride.  The ride was made longer by getting stuck in a "stau" or a traffic jam.  For hours.  It was bad.  But I slept as much as I could.  We stopped just over the border in the Netherlands.  Then we kept driving...hitting Amsterdam about 4 hours later than we were supposed to.  It cut our site-seeing time there.  The most important thing for me to see was the Anne Frank house.  We found out which tram would take us to the site and we got on our way.  It had to happen, so we didn't wait.

On our way Danny asked me if Anne Frank was "that blind lady".  People wonder where Taylor gets her "blondeness" from.  I explained it to Danny and also spent some time explaining to Taylor what she may see in the museum.  I didn't want her to be shocked in a negative way.  Walking through the large museum and seeing the tiny rooms that they were living in was so heartbreaking and amazing at the same time.  I was walking through history.  Tragic, sad, awful history...but still history.  Taylor seemed to be pretty effected by the whole thing, and I really enjoyed sharing it with her.  Danny was harder to read, but he enjoyed himself.  I was on the verge of tears through the whole thing.  When you read The Diary Of Anne Frank the first time, maybe you don't know how it's going to end.  But when you've read it a few times and then you actually visit the know what's happened.  You know how horrible things ended up for the family.

On our way back to the area in which the bus was, we decided to walk as far as we could, just to see things.  There are bikes everywhere, people riding bikes, bikes parked...just bikes all over the place.  Rows and rows of bikes.  The city is slightly dirtier than Germany, I believe Germany is the cleanest country in Europe (I could be wrong lol but it's very clean here!) The time I miss the clean-freak-Germany is in public restrooms.  But it was still lovely.

We stumbled upon the Gay/Lesbian monument and info center.  It was a complete accident and quite honestly I didn't even know it was in Amsterdam.  It was a large triangle shaped monument complete with a stand selling souvenirs.  I ended up buying some rainbow striped socks that say Amsterdam down them, a purse, and a rainbow Amsterdam lighter.  I figured if I was going to buy souvenirs I'd like to support the coolest spot in Amsterdam.  I felt pretty proud that I was able to explain to Danny that during Nazi occupation, not only Jewish people were persecuted and killed, but also all homosexual and transgendered people...and that's why Amsterdam had this monument.  Danny was just excited for me, he gets super excited when he finds out about GLBT things because he knows how passionate I am about equality for people.  He's also a little proud of himself for being so open minded...which I gotta give him props, he wasn't like this when we met...but instead of becoming more closed minded (the Military does that sometimes) he's become more open minded.  He seemed to enjoy looking around the little shop with me.  I also explained things to Taylor about homosexuality that she wasn't unsure of, nothing crazy (kept her away from the delftware that was shaped like male genitalia lol).  Luckily she has a basic understanding because of Glee.  It makes it nice to be able to say, "You know, like Kurt and Santana." or, "Stay a virgin, you don't want to end up like Quinn." haha.

At any rate, we caught another tram and headed back towards the train station which was right down the road from the bus.  We were running out of time.  On our way to the tram we passed many "coffee shops".  I asked Danny, "Do you smell that?" and he said no the first time, then he started noticing the coffee shops before we came upon them and he started holding his breath before we'd get up to it.  It was too amusing for words.  Taylor didn't get it, which was totally fine.  That isn't a talk we've had yet, not in depth anyways...and I certainly haven't explained legality vs illegal in different areas and places etc.

We decided to eat at the train station, there were several little restaurants lined up.  I wanted one where I could people watch.  There are literally people from EVERYWHERE in Amsterdam.  I can guess what most of the travelers are there for, and in November, it ain't the tulips.  We chose a Doner stand.  They had chicken Doner I had my first Doner in Amsterdam.  And might I say WHOA.  It was so delicious.  I have been craving another one for a while but I can't find poultry ones, they're not as popular.  But dannnnng.  So good.
So that was our first trip to Amsterdam.  It wasn't the best trip ever but then we didn't have enough time to do much.

On the way back to Germany, it was even less time.  I do believe we had 2 or 3 hours.  It gave us enough time to walk around some more and look for a bookstore (had to look for some Harry Potter books), then we wandered around the train station and bought some goodies for the bus ride back.  After that we went and got delicious Doner Kebaps again.  There were other restaurants but I really needed another delicious chicken doner.

One of my favorite parts of Amsterdam is all of the waterways.  They are absolutely gorgeous, the bridges and such.  Houses that are on the rivers.  I loved the architecture, it's very similar to Germany yet still unique.

In all honesty, I don't plan on returning to Amsterdam.  It was beautiful and we had a great experience, but it doesn't make the top 10 even of places we've been since we've been traveling.  But the good news is that I can say I've been to Amsterdam.  More importantly, Taylor can say it.  I mean, how well traveled and lucky can one kid be??

Hope that everyone has had a beautiful Memorial Day and has remembered the true meaning of Memorial Day.  Thank a Veteran, even if you don't believe in or agree with any wars or anything like that, these service members are still selflessly serving and willing to sacrifice their lives to provide the rest of us with freedoms that many people around the world are not afforded.


May 27, 2012

whoa...just whoa

It's been a very long time since I've updated this blog.  I have a lot to say, there has been a lot of traveling since I last posted.  I need to gather my notes (yes, I take notes) and blog it out.  I believe I need to blog about Amsterdam, Scotland, England, the boat trip...and Croatia...and Berlin...I think that might be all I've missed.  We haven't been traveling much lately.  Danny and Taylor went to Austria but I can't really blog about that, I wasn't there.  You know how that works.

We were supposed to take a trip to Rome and Verona but had to back out of that one.  I'm currently signed up for a trip to Paris but it will be almost exactly 1 month after my surgery and I'm just not sure I'll be up for walking and seeing sites a month post op.  So I think that trip will get canceled as well.  But I plan on finding trips for this fall to sign up for.  Something exciting, hopefully.  Unless, of course, we PCS.  Things are sort of up in the air as far as that is concerned.

At any rate, I just wanted to write a quick little entry update type thing.  I'll go through my notes and hopefully post another later about Amsterdam...I'll go in order of the trips.

Hope everyone out there in bloggy land has been having great adventures and many travels in my absence!!