Sites covered: the Anne Frank House, the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, the Rembrant House, the Red Light District, and I think I've seen just about every canal...multiple times!
|Seemed like a good place to rest!|
Highlights? Seeing the small annex of the Anne Frank house. While it's difficult to think about the challenges the Frank family and others faced during their time there, it is a special experience to actually be in that same space. There is no furniture, but you can still see where Mr. Frank noted Anne and her sister's height on the wall, and where Anne pasted magazine pictures on the wall as well. I'm really glad I went.
I also enjoyed the museums of Amsterdam. I've never been much for museums in the past, but, overall, the ones in Amsterdam kept me entertained. I saw another version of Van Gogh's Sunflowers in addition to so many others. At the Rembrandt House, Kate and I watched a woman demonstrate the different etching and printing techniques that were used by Rembrandt himself. It was really cool!
My favorite part of Amsterdam though was probably the window shopping. In Italy most shops have metal doors that cover their shop windows so you can't just walk down the street and peruse the goods. In Amsterdam you could see in all the windows and think about the purchases you'd like to make...they sell a lot of diamonds in Amsterdam! Don't think I wasn't tempted!!
We took a side trip to Haarlem before leaving Amsterdam. It's a small town about 15 minutes outside the city. There we did a tour of the Corrie Ten Boom house, where many Jewish people were hidden during the war. Here they let you see the 'hiding place' that was built into the house to conceal their guests.
After our time in Amsterdam, Kate and I hopped a train to Paris. It was nice because we saw the countryside of The Netherlands and Belgium, which included some old school, stereotypical windmills you'd picture seeing in The Netherlands. I must admit, whatever French countryside there was to be seen, I totally missed since I fell asleep. I must have been really tired, because those who know me well, know that I have the hardest time sleeping when anything is not normal!
Our trip in Paris went so quickly. Which, maybe was a good thing, since Kate and I did not love the hotel where we stayed. I spent the days by myself, doing the tourist thing, and not being able to make the turnstiles of the Paris metro system work. Whatever! It was such a pain...
|One of my favorite pics from Paris, |
with Notre Dame in the background.
But, the food was a highlight of Paris so I feel it deserves it own paragraph. Two of our three nights Kate and I dined with people she knew living in Paris, so I got more of an authentic dining experience than you might get finding places on your own. The first night we ate at Pramil, seemingly a little more sophisticated than my culinary palate is used to eating. It was three courses for €30, so we went for it. I had a pumpkin soup (you know how I love pumpkin) with foie gras ice cream. This was the most "Top Chef" dish I had ever eaten, but I figured I would go for it. The soup was amazing. The ice cream? Eh...it was okay. Let's just say I didn't work too hard at encouraging the ice cream to melt. For the second course I had veal with potato puree (delicious) and for dessert I had a raspberry and apple puff pastry with bell peppers. Different, yes. Did I eat it all? Yup. There are some pictures of their food at the Trip Advisor link for the restaurant, though I haven't found a site maintained by the restaurant itself. (Someone posted pics of their food...pic #2 was my dessert, and #11 was my main course.) Kate was adventurous and tried this salad (pic #4) with greens that were called "ficoide glacial". We're still trying to figure out exactly what it is or how it's grown, but while its flavor was okay, the texture was a bit odd.
The desserts in Paris were a highlight for me. I love to bake, so sweet treats have a special place in my heart and stomach!! I visited a crepe stand and had a nutella and whipped cream crepe. Amazing. I had a freshly made waffle with salted caramel and chocolate gelato and whipped cream. Double Amazing. I had macaroons in four different flavors from Laduree. Triple Amazing! In the words of Rachel Zoe, "I die!"
|Laduree's macaroons: Coffee and Raspberry|
|Amorino's waffle with gelato.|
Au revoir for now! I put a pile of postcards in the mail on Tuesday, so many of you will be getting a little note from one of these beautiful cities in a few short weeks. (I'd like to say days, but I don't have that much faith in the mail system!) In about 5 weeks I'm on Spring Break! Who's coming to visit? I'm still making my plans!