we spent our thanksgiving in the netherlands this year.
i highly recommend it.
we stayed in a little ocean town called katwijk, on the corner of the street, looking right into the waves. i could have stayed there forever. living pretty far from the ocean, i have learned that my soul yearns to be near crashing waves. each time we have set foot on the shores of some sea, i feel home and happy.
this trip, specifically was very enjoyable, to say the least. we went with some friends who also have a baby, just 2 months younger than cora. it's so fun, at this stage, watching the babies interact.
our first day, we took a walk along the canal, and down the beach walk. it was super windy and down right cold, but the smell of salt filled my lungs with "i don't care", and we pushed on for an hour or so. i couldn't get enough.
|that's us, right at the end of the street.|
we got back to our apartment and got ready and went into delft. a small town in south holland. it was quaint and perfect. nothing spectacular or overwhelming, but pretty and easy. we ate lunch of the square-grilled sandwiches and soup, and strolled along the canals, with no real aim but to see. we shopped a bit, and stopped in a couple of cheese stores. we ended up buying beers from one of the shops and goat cheese from another to take back with us. on our way out of town, we found a place that boasted 200 different beers on the shelves, and stopped in to get a sampling.
the next morning, we woke up and headed out for another city, called den haag. there we found beautiful buildings and more of a city like atmosphere. there was an english book store we ducked into to escape the cold and i found a traditional folk story translated into english that i got the girls for christmas. they won't understand it this year, but i hope one day they realize just how spectacular of a childhood they have had.
den haag was amazing. it is home of peace palace, which is a beautiful building, but is also home to the permanent court of arbitration and the hague peace conference.
we headed back home for our thanksgiving dinner, which was....inventive.
we had no oven in our apartment, but we had brought a crockpot and so we put the turkey in the crockpot. we cooked the ham using a double boiler technique on the stove, while we cooked the potatoes on the back burner. it actually all came together really nicely and was delicious.
that is, until we tried to cook the pumpkin pie in a frying pan. i don't recommend that.
friday, we took the train to amsterdam. amsterdam was exactly what i thought it would be. it was a beautiful, old city, full of character and charm. we saw the anne frank house, ate at a pizzaria on a canal, went on a boat ride, and even saw an event where the king of the netherlands unveiled a new exhibit at one fo the museums. we hit the christmas market, drank gourmet hot cocoa and blushed through the main drag in the red light district. there was even a bar with NFL and NBA games showing.
on our last day, we headed out of town, stopping a couple of times to snap some pictures of windmills.
all in all, the netherlands might be my second favorite place in europe. it's clean, beautiful and charming. the people are friendly and helpful and gracious. and it doesn't hurt that they speak english!
living in a place where my language is not the first, and sometimes not even the second, is rough and gives me a whole new appreciation for people who move to the states without knowing the language. we have a buffer, since we are a part of a bigger, english speaking community and we have stores and restaurants available to us that take american money and are familiar. i can't imagine the isolation and frustration people must feel when the come to the states and are thrust into an environment where people get angry at them for not knowing english.
and that is all for my little soapbox spiel.