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Archive for August, 2009

centraal station

When I pick which photos I want to include in my posts, I “flag” the ones I like most when I upload them in iPhoto. Right now I have 50 “flagged” photos. It’s just too beautiful here.

This morning we spent some more time in Antwerp, our first stop in Belgium. Unfortunately it was a Sunday so a lot of the shops were closed. But we did get to check out the Cathedral of Our Lady and it was pretty impressive. And huge. When we first stopped in, it was Mass so we had to come back later to look at all the paintings and architecture.

cathedral of our lady

momlookatme

I’m about to change the name of this blog to, “My Mom Turns Around in Pictures.” Seriously, she NEVER lets me take pictures of her. And she thinks it’s a game, since you can CLEARLY tell she’s got a big ol’ smile in this picture. So, thanks for coming to Europe with me, mom, and all the pictures I now have of your ponytail. Haha.

Myself, on the other hand… I do not mind sitting pretty for a picture in church. I mean, really, when am I going to be here again?

antwerpchurch

The other thing we did today in Antwerp was buy some chocolates (and eat them). They had chocolates in the shape of the cathedral and in the shape of hands from some legend about a giant who would cut off people’s hands if they didn’t pay a toll. And they had chocolates with the letter “A.”

antwerpchocolates

Here’s me at Centraal Station in Antwerp (which is also the picture at the top) waiting for our train to Bruges (or Brugge) with the A’s. They were filled with a darker chocolate that had a bit of a coffee taste to it. So far my favorite chocolates have been just solid dark, white does not do it for me.

And here’s a sign I thought was pretty sweet:

sigarets

Final note: wish we had a hairdryer.

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spartansky

antwerpsunset

Glad to be here.

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damrain

I think this picture is sweet. Last night in Amsterdam there was a bit of a storm, and we didn’t have umbrellas so we were just going to run back to our room for the night but by the time we got back, it had stopped raining so we decided to turn around and go back out.

Then it was was quite the adventure. I roamed the Red Light District with my mom. How many people can say that? At first we were sort of confused; we saw the sex stores and sex museums, but we did not see sex for sale.

Until…

redlight

There they are, ladies and gents! Of course I didn’t take any real photos of them because they are actually people and not zoo animals, but I did want to post this little shot to show you that yes, there are women who work in Amsterdam as legit prostitutes and they do actually stand there in windows surrounded by red lights, beckoning to the people as they walk by. For real. My mom wanted to stand there and look at them but I just felt awkward giving them more than a glance. But I will tell you that from what I saw, most of them were pretty good looking! And they were everywhere! You’d be walking and all of a sudden you’d realize there are lights coming from the windows that are below the street level, too.

And as we walked down one street, we saw a man come out from one of the rooms. Awkward!

Oh, and here’s a nice little sign for a store that’s not really so “nice” on the inside. Well, I guess that depends on your definition.

loveyou

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hairdresser

Has anyone ever been to a “hairdresser”? Let me know.

happyherring

I tried herring today. Meaning: that’s not a hot dog I’m about to eat. It’s a raw fish sandwich with pickles and onions. My mom had two bites and I probably had four. It wasn’t bad actually, but I didn’t see a reason to finish it so I guess it wasn’t really good either. I took a detail shot of it and it turned out so gross I am not posting it.

I have cycled more the past two days than I probably have in my entire life. We did another four-hour trip today. We biked all over town again and to the old Olympics Stadium and to Vondelpark (their Central Park) and to the “I amsterdam” sign where a really awesome guy refused to get out of the picture. He was just sitting there, watching everyone take pictures of the sign and therefore also him. Just sitting there. Rolling a cigarette. Thanks, dude. I actually want to go back and try to take another picture but when I told this to my mom she goes, “Good luck.” So we’ll see. Maybe on Sept 8 when we return to Amsterdam for another day?

Here’s what we did get:

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Oh, yeah, there was also a lady in the way for that one. Hi, lady!

m

Update on the “do not push” button in the room: Well, I pushed it and… nothing happened! I think it’s broken. Boo…

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Penguins!

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I meant to post this picture yesterday, actually. When we were on our little bike tour in North Amsterdam, we drove by this house and I just had to stop because there were penguins in the window! I want one.

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DSCN6355

Heyo! I am live-blogging from Amsterdam here! We’re staying at a crazy little hostel right now (in the Smirnoff room, actually… and there’s a giant red button on the wall and below it a sign that says, “Do not push button” but I am DYING to push it) and they have wireless internet so la la la.

Our flight landed at 6 a.m. AMS time which kinda sucked because I didn’t get any sleep the entire flight. We walked around a bit before getting breakfast at our hotel, for which we made the most delicious sandwiches – all kinds of breads, meats and some cheese. Yep, for breakfast. It was good. They had some small containers of chocolate frosting of sorts, similar to Nutella and my mom is totally gonna steal some to bring home.

We met up with a girl named Silke, who my friend Ryan knows and set us up with. We rented bikes are rode around the center of the city and also North Amsterdam which I feel like is the Brooklyn of Amsterdam. Here I am on my 25-lb cruiser:

DSCN6371

To get to North Amsterdam we had to cross water (ferry there and a bridge back) and it seems just a lot more residential. It’s more quiet and spread out and there were farms everywhere with cows and sheep and horses. Ok, so maybe not so much Brooklyn, then. But it was really pretty and the open air was so nice. We definitely would not have seen this part of Amsterdam had it not been for Silke. BUT after 4 hours, can I just say… we are SORE. We’re doing another bike tour tomorrow and we’re probably gonna die.

We probably would have died today but we stopped at an old little cafe/restaurant for some hot chocolate before our last leg of the journey. There were rugs on the tables.

DSCN6406

One thing that really kept me going was every time I turned around and looked at my mom cycling behind me I would just burst out laughing. I don’t know why but I thought it was soooo funny. I guess it’s not everyday you’re biking through fields of cows in Holland. My mom was just biking along with this cute little smile on her face, in her own little world.

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Oh, and we got some frites already too:

DSCN6420

Not too bad. :)

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DSCN6328

For the record, I did not eat this. Not that there’s anything wrong with eating this giant, juicy burger here per se, it’s just that I had already eaten most of my lunch when I decided to meet up with my friend Lisa at Stand yesterday. And also, a certain someone was recently looking at my blog and asked me, “Geesh, how much do you EAT?”

Well…

Haha.

Anyway, Lisa got a cheeseburger and those fried darlings in front are fried pickels. We tried to split some shoestring fries but they ended up being a little too stringy for me. When I think shoestring, I think more J. Alexanders (yeah, it’s a chain, but a damn good one that for whatever reason is missing in NY) and less what I got here.

But I could not sit at Stand empty handed, especially since I’ve walked by the place countless times in the past two years and never actually tried it. So I got me a milkshake. Just plain chocolate but it was plain delicious. In fact, I’d say this chocolate shake is probably one of the better ones I’ve had in New York (yeah, I’m talking to you, Shake Shack). Another plus was the straw. It was HUGE so all those yummy chocolate chunks won’t get stuck.

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Lisa got a Vanilla Kahlua shake and if I go back, I’d go for the toasted marshmallow shake because it came with toasted marshmallows on top and that’s just cute. So’s the fact that there’s currently a painted cow sitting in front of the establishment.

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