Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Delayed Honeymoon: Canals, Churches, Chocolate!

Anneke & Peter are friends of my family, and we've known them for more than 20 years.  They come to visit once or twice a year, and while we couldn't go up to their home in Tilburg, it was exciting to have them meet us in Amsterdam and give us a view of the city from their perspective!

Narrow Bridge
 The canal tour boats barely fit through this bridge, but when the pull up the drawbridge sites, it is so pretty!

This boat was one of my favorite of the whole trip! Lots of the people in Amsterdam (a few thousand) live on houseboats, and this was their small rowboat to get around and run errands! How cool is that?!
North Church
This is North Church, which is centrally located in Amsterdam, just about 3 blocks from the Anne Frank House.  The brick and all of the windows are gorgeous!
Narrow House
The white bay window that you see in the middle of the photo - that is the width of this entire house! It is the narrowest home in the world, or so the owner's claim! There is a spiral staircase at the back of the home, and I can't imagine how complicated it must be to live here!

After the canal cruise we had lunch, a few drinks, some AWESOME ICE CREAM (which is really cream, and so filling, but usually "unflavored"). 

It was a short afternoon, and Kevin and I were on the TGV to Paris by 4pm! Next up, some history, hours of walking, some romance, and lots of cyclists!

<3 J

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Delayed Honeymoon - The sun goes down &

....The lights come on!  Yes, I mean "those" lights.  It started out as a convenient location search, and ended with me being the coolest wife ever when I booked our hotel in Red Light District. 

Renaissance Amsterdam
After dinner, we ventured out of the touristy neighborhood and found the real "Red Light District"
The curtains are closed when the ladies are not there, or when they are "occupied".  During the day, most of the windows are closed, and they gradually open and the lights come on after 6 or 7pm.  Thanks to a Dutchie who had been to a few too many "coffee shops", Kevin and I leared about the different light colors.

Red Lights - Ladies
Blue Lights - Transsexual

Definetly helpful information, well if you're interested in the ladies, that is.  We did see one man who was extremely embarassed after he attempted to visit with a blue light!

It was so easy to stay up too late, since it was very light out until around 10pm, and we had taken a serious nap.  But, we made ourselves sleep because we were meeting up with Anneke & Peter (some of our Dutchie friends) on Saturday!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Delayed Honeymoon - Amsterdam

Kevin and I knew that if we were going to take a honeymoon, there was no way it could be right after our wedding (thank you West Chester University).  And if we were going to delay our honeymoon, we wanted it to be worth the wait. 

We ended up with the following timeline for our trip:
Thursday - Leave PHL
Friday & Saturday - Amsterdam
Sunday to Wednesday - Paris
Thursday to Sunday - Mougins/Cannes

I'm not going to lie and say it was a perfect trip, but we'll hit those bumps as we review the trip.  So, let's start with Day 0 and Day 1.

Day 0: Our flight left PHL at 6pm, and we were at the airport at 3pm.  Hello 3 hours at Chickie & Pete's.  Thank you stool-neighbor for those shots of Jager! Flight was fine, they fed us, I got to sit next to Kevin, but I did not sleep.  I was not a beautiful sight by the time we made it to Amsterdam, after something like 27 hours with no sleep. 

Day 1: After our night with no sleep, landing in Amsterdam started Day 1.  Thanks to the train, we hopped right from the airport to Central Station.  There were a few lost blocks, but we finally found the Renaissance.  Except, our room wasn't ready. So, off to the Heineken Experience we went! Yes, no sleep and beer - this was bound to be a wonderful idea, right?

Bright and early, but hubby is happy! We had purchased tickets in advance, and thank goodness that this was at least easy to find, and there wasn't any line! The introduction video was quite informative, and gave me a much better understanding of where we were spending our day!

The tasting part was obviously the most fun, and the guys showing us the proper way to pour a Heineken was also pretty fun.  I will admit, the most enjoyable part of the entire experience was the store at the end.  If you can make it, they'll print Heineken on it (example of my husband below):

It was somewhere around 2pm by the time we finished, so we hiked back across Amsterdam, and found our way back to the Renaissance, where we promptly passed out for a nap! 

Naptime over, we woke up in time to visit the Anne Frank House. Thank god for the fact that we bought timed tickets online, because the line was somewhere around an hour along (no thank you. I hate lines anyway, and a cranky Jess, no way Jose). The house is so educational, and was even interesting for Kevin. I can't say I agree with one thing though. Anne's father decided not to return any of the furniture to the apartment after it was all taken when the family was removed. It allows for more space for tourists, but I would have loved to have seen the actual furniture that they lived with.

Please ignore the sun - To the right (where all the glass is) is the actual tourist center.  The home in front of the man in the blue shirt (third house in from the right) is where the Frank family lived. 

Dinner Friday night was relatively low-key, and I was happy to relax with Kevin and enjoy some great food. Oh, and something very American followed us over -

I'll save Friday evening's walk around the city for the next post - this one involves red, blue, and purple lights - so stay tuned :)

<3 J

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Lead the Way

Proud - adj., proud·er, proud·est.
1.Feeling pleasurable satisfaction over an act, possession, quality, or relationship by which one measures one's stature or self-worth: proud of one's child; proud to serve one's country.

The Moyer/Bookheimer Family
(July 5, 2010)
I don't feel that the statement "I am proud of Christopher" at all adequately conveys my feelings.  Larger than the devistation, heart ache, tears, and sadness for missing him while he's in Korea is the pride and gratitude for his sacrifice for his country.
When Christopher told us he was joining the Army, I was happy for him, but nervous. 
When he left for basic training, I was nervous for him, and scared for the unknown.
When he left for Korea, I was terrified for him, and heartbroken for those of us here at home.  And about a month after he left, I realized that I was being selfish, and how fair is that?  He is the one putting himself in harms way, sacrificing a year of his life for our country, and I was the one safe at home with my family, crying myself to sleep. 
So rather than dwell on the sad, I'm reminding myself to be proud. Not everyone can do the things Christopher can.  Not everyone would have such pride for their country, to leave home, drive a Bradley, and drink rice liquor in a country where you can't find a Yuengling.  Thank you to Christopher (and Jon Giorgio) for protecting us, and thank you to all other soldiers as well. 
Half of my heart may be in Korea, and I hope Christopher knows we are proud of him everyday, and think of him always.  This year (actually, 10 months left) can't go fast enough!
Lead the Way, Boy Wonder

Saturday, September 18, 2010

...My online journal

I always thought about a blog as a place where people just talked about themselves, and maybe that's why I always steared away from embracing them.  Or maybe it's because I spend enough time on the computer and didn't feel the need to be attached to my laptop at home as well.

Well, for better or worse, I'm rethinking that view.  I found 3 journals from high school while clearing out boxes from the loft.  Some of what I said was crazy, and boy I was quite the drama queen when it came to my friends and "boyfriends".  Yes, this requires quotes, because there were all kinds of "boys" involved.  Anyway, back to the online part - it was nice to be able to read what I thought, the things that I was concerned about, and the things that changed. 

So, plan for this blog, is to make it my online journal.  It may not always be exciting, and there will probably be several posts about our wedding, which now happened a year ago (OMG), our wonderful delayed honeymoon in France (where I took 2,000 photos), the half-marathon I am running in October, my wonderful husband, my interesting job, and any other randomness that may occur in my life.

I can't promise to post everyday, or every week, but let's see how it goes!

<3 J