Have you ever been to the Netherlands? I have been twice before, but this time was extra special. My parents picked me up in Münster and whisked me off to the tulip fields across the border. I don’t have a particularly green thumb (re: black) but I can appreciate gorgeous flowers as much as the next person. And man, these flowers inspired me to plant my own! These photos were taken at the Keukenhof garden, which is basically Disneyland for flowers. I was awe-struck and couldn’t help saying “Look at that, Mom!” around every corner. Below are a few photos if you’d like to see.Dad thoroughly enjoying the tulips…All in all, an inspiring visit! I’m off to purchase gardening supplies…
Hello Spring, I thought you would never arrive! Welcome. Welcome. Welcome. Welcome. Did I say how happy I am that you’re here? It felt like you took your sweet time, but you were so worth the wait.
As you may have gathered, this winter was a bit rough for me. I like snow and reading and wool socks as much as the next girl, but by the end of March it was, well, let’s just say it was a bit much. Now that I can sleep with the windows open and show my pale legs to society, I am one happy lady.
Yesterday I went to Heidelberg to visit a dear friend. Everyone was out enjoying the warm sunshine. Live music wafted through the market square and I ate a ginormous gelato cone that later gave me a stomach ache from all the sugar but I didn’t even care. Spring in Germany is something special.
The tourists haven’t arrived, the towns are still waking up again from their long hibernations. This is our reward for surviving the last five months. Thank you God!
Isn’t this world lovely?
I went to the Palmengarten on Saturday with a few ladies from the church. It is a beautiful, peaceful botanical garden smack dab in the middle of urban Frankfurt. You can even see the skyscrapers downtown from the middle of the garden! It was such a relaxing morning, and some of the plants (like the cacti pictured below) really reminded me of California. I would definitely recommend a visit if you’re ever in Frankfurt– the cost is seven euro for regular adults and three for students.
I hope you’re having a great week!
The other day I was walking around downtown Malibu (I use the word downtown loosely here) when I noticed this beautiful field of yellow flowers! For some reason, I don’t remember spring in Malibu very clearly my freshman year, and then I was gone last year, so this is the first time I’m fully experiencing and appreciating it! These yellow flowers really reminded me of the fields of rape seed in Hildesheim, Germany last spring/summer. I always miss the nature of Malibu when I’m home in El Segundo, because it’s very urban and compact. However, yesterday when I was downtown I saw that they cut all these flowers and now it’s just an empty field. Oh well, I’m glad I snapped these pics when I got the chance! This weekend includes homework, a volleyball tournament for my sorority, and a Sunday night concert. What are your plans?
Have you seen the movie The Fault in Our Stars? In the film, the main characters take a trip to Amsterdam to meet with one of their favorite authors. They wander the canals hand in hand and fall madly in love, all to the tune of an awesome soundtrack. And honestly, I can’t blame them! Amsterdam is charming, chic and romantic. I didn’t have another person to fall in love with (insert tears here), so I fell in love with the city. Keep reading as I share more about why I enjoyed Amsterdam so much, and a few tips and tricks to make your visit equally as enjoyable!
Why Amsterdam? How much time do you have?! I could write about the reasons to visit Amsterdam for hours, but in a nutshell, Amsterdam is unlike any other city I’ve ever traveled to. It’s a mix of old and new, chic and industrial, energetic and peaceful. It is centrally located, well connected, and teeming with culture. Plus, who doesn’t want a pair of wooden clogs to wear around the house?
Transportation I took a five hour train from Hannover, Germany to Amsterdam Centraal station. From there, you can easily walk to most of the popular sights in the city center. Everything is very well marked with signs on nearly every corner. If you’d rather not walk, here are a few options:
- Bike– Riding a bike in Amsterdam, although it is a bike friendly city, is still very intense (and this is coming from a girl who grew up driving the Los Angeles freeways). I almost got taken out several times while crossing the street! Plus, I am not the strongest bike rider, so I opted to pass on bike rentals. But if you decide to go for it, there are rental shops on nearly every corner that can’t be missed.
- Tram- I mainly walked or took the tram. It coset 2.50 Euros per ride, so you may want to look into a day pass, which you can buy on board. The signage is clear and well market, and you can hop on right in front of the central station when you first arrive.
- Boat- Travel by boat is not a major way to get from point A to point B, but I do recommend taking a canal tour. I took an hour and a half cruise through the main canals, and the captain pointed out sights and shared about their history. It’s a nice way to get your bearings and see things you might otherwise have missed.
Accommodations It might feel impossible to visit Amsterdam with out declaring bankruptcy, but I promise it can be done! It is not a cheap city by any means, but there are always cheaper options. I rented a room in an apartment through the popular hosting website Airbnb. The place was twenty minutes outside the city center, and since everything is so well connected, I would highly recommend looking for something a bit further out to save some money. Also, many museums have discounts for kids, families, and people under 19 years old. You can buy tickets to several attractions online in advance, which saves time and money.
Must See Spots
1. Anne Frank House– This is arguably the most popular sight in Amsterdam, and for good reason! The tour through the Frank’s hiding place and attached museum at the end are very well done. The line to get in can wrap around the block and stretch on for ages (like Disneyland!), so I would recommend checking for tickets in advance online if possible. I didn’t have tickets, so I showed up at 8am, an hour before it opens, and was admitted around 9:15.
2. Van Gogh Museum– If you are an art nerd like me, this museum is heaven! It is extremely comprehensive and interactive, and features not only a vast collection of Van Gogh’s work, but also the work of other artists who influenced him throughout his life.
3. Rijks Museum– The Rijks museum is right next door to the Van Gogh museum, and the building alone is a masterpiece! This museum features art, crafts, and historical objects from the years 1200 t0 2000. The famous IAMSTERDAM sign is directly in front of the museum, so be sure to snap an iconic picture perched atop one of the letters before heading in!
What to pack I visited the first weekend in July (along with the rest of the world), and it was crazy hot. I seriously considered jumping into a canal for a quick cool down swim. So if you visit in the summer, be sure to pack a sunhat and sunscreen! Also, wearing comfortable walking shoes is always a good idea (duh, Micah).
Anything Else? The majority of these photos were taken along the Prinsengracht Canal, the third and outermost of the three main canals. It marks the start of the De Jordaan neighborhood, filled with beautiful 17th century houses and shops. When you think of Amsterdam, this is the scenery you probubly picture. Be sure to take you time to wander through and experience the charming atmosphere. Lastly, don’t leave without trying a delicious Dutch pancake!
tower houses of Amsterdam!
^Be sure to check out the Albert Cuyp flea market on Saturday morning from 9am-5pm.
^The Rijks Museum.
So, after reading about this amazing city, can you blame me for falling head over heels in love? I may not be in The Fault in Our Stars Cast, but I definitely share their affinity for this beautiful place. So what are you waiting for, friends? Hop online and book a ticket to Amsterdam…or better yet, book two so I can come along!
Hello again friends, and happy Thursday! I can’t believe I’ve already been in Hildesheim for two and a half weeks. I’m now able to successfully navigate my way around town, and even have a few ‘favorite hang out spots’ to frequent. Over the past year, I’ve developed a little practice where I make a “Happy List.” That is, a list of all the small, seemingly insignificant things in my life that add up to make me one happy girl. When I’m feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or cranky, I can look back on these lists and remember how blessed I truly am. You can read a past Happy List here, or keep scrolling down to read my latest list, sprinkled throughout a few recent pictures of Hildesheim in bloom!
1. The fact that the sun doesn’t set until 9:30pm these days.
2. When I learn a new German word and then successfully use it in conversation.
3. My ritual morning cup of coffee.
4. The lilac bushes in full bloom around town.
5. Long telephone conversations with my dad.
6. The colorful doors scattered around Hildesheim. I have a thing for doors.
7. Being able to walk/ride my bike everywhere.
8. Sleeping in way longer than necessary.
9. Warm showers before bed.
10. Fresh flowers on the table.
12. Starting a new book.
13. Binge watching Gilmore Girls (I don’t have a problem, I could stop anytime).
14. All German bread. They do bread right.
15. Playing silly games with little kids.
16. Chillin’ with Tazan, my host’s cat.
17. Breakfast. It is the most important meal of the day, after all.
18. Snuggling up under a fuzzy blanket.
19. Having no where to be and nothing important to do.
20. Checking tasks off your to-do list.
21. Crawling into bed after a long day.
22. Church potlucks.
23. Wasting time in coffee shops.
24. Listening to a really interesting podcast.
25. Messing around on the guitar or piano.
26. ^Finding my family’s name carved above an old German door frame. When can I move in?!
27. Experiencing spring slowly turn into summer. This is my first time really experiencing seasons, and it’s blowing my mind!
28. Traveling to new destinations.
29. Writing of any sort- blog posts, short stories, essays, poems, you name it!
30. Home cooked meals.
31. Warm fuzzy socks.
32. Learning about German traditions.
33. Shoe shopping.
34. Practicing my photography and becoming more familiar with my camera.
35. Family vacations.
36. Colorful buildings and attention to detail.
37. Movie nights.
38. Cider. It’s not just for New Years Eve anymore!
39. Painting with watercolor.
40. Perusing my favorite blogs.
41. Peonies- my favorite flower of all time!
42. Experimenting with new hairstyles.
43. Listening to people talk about something they are obviously passionate about.
44. Card games.
45. Memorable late night conversations.
46. Becoming a regular somewhere.
47. Weekly bible study.
48. DIY crafts and decorations
49. This blog!
50. My lovely readers (that’s you, wink wink :))