Saturday, September 1, 2012

Cruising with Virginia ( Part 1-Amsterdam)



 Now that I am back from the Holland America Baltic cruise, I will be sharing a series of photos from the trip with various posts. I will group these posts by location or theme! This shall give you a closer look of these amazing places and experience the fun happenings that we had.  Let’s get the cruising started...
First we flew from Toronto to Amsterdam (where the cruise started) and spent three nights there. I had the rare chance to meet Hero Arts Flickr group friends Hilde and Leni. How fun to meet your virtual stamping friends from abroad!!  Both Hilde and Leni came to meet me in our hotel.
  They signed my well-traveled Hero Arts poster that I made back in 2009. It was totally Dr. John's idea to have such a sign for every time I get to meet HA Flickr friends. We went to a beautiful 145-year old stamp store called Posthumus (which was granted a Royal status in 1920). We ADORED the displays in the window; this store has all means of traditional stamping dated back to 1865! If you check out the website, you can see the original store front photos! Really neat!
We then went to a lovely lunch where David got to have his very first taste of beer (Netherlands' own Heineken). Edited-David did NOT like the beer-ha!
Leni accompanied us to the famous Rijksmuseum (Museum of Netherlands) by tram. During the tram ride, it was fairly crowded (which I am not used to any more) and we had to stand in a cluster. Just then, I felt a small commotion from my purse and sure enough, I noticed a man from behind me attempting to unzip my purse! I yelled out:"Hey!! Are you touching my purse!!?" Right away he got off the bus before I could confront him any further! And that was my close encounter with pick-pocketing. Thankfully I caught the act in time! Ever since then I guarded my purse very carefully. It's probably a good thing this happened early in my trip. Later during the cruise, I heard horrible aggressive pick-pocketing from fellow cruisers in St. Petersberg. More on that later.
 In Amsterdam we also had a great time visiting the Van Gogh Museum. Here is the proper way of saying Van Gogh's name in Dutch ( you can listen here ). When I viewed these amazing/priceless paintings at the museum, not only I see the lights, colors, textures, patterns and depths, I feel them. This museum is not big, but I think you can easily spend a few hours there!
Canal cruise in Amsterdam
The street scene---boats and bikes everywhere!

The Dutch people are avid bikers as the flat land makes it easy to bike around the city. The bikers have wide bike lanes and their own traffic lights! It's great to see that this classic form of transportation is their first choice. In the photo below (top left corner), you can see the biggest City bike garage/storage next to the train station. GREAT for the environment, too!
 The food we had in Amsterdam...as you can see, they were awesome!
The only thing we didn't like about Amsterdam was the strong smell of legalized marijuana from the "coffee shops" located in the small side streets throughout the downtown core. I don't think we will pick up this bad habit any time soon because we couldn’t stand the smell!
Well, I hope you enjoyed this little "trip" to Amsterdam with me! More blog posts are to come as I make use of my odd sleeping hours due to jet lag. Thanks for stopping by! 

38 comments:

Rose said...

so glad your sharing your awesome trip with us :)
what a beautiful city and so glad you stopped the guy from taking things from your purse!!

Lynn said...

Oh this post is absolutely wonderful. Cannot wait to see more. How awesome to meet blogging friends...the stamp store looks awesome...and the food...oh my! So glad your purse is safe...yikes!

Barb said...

That picture of the store front window is amazing! Thanks for sharing your trip with us, V! I'm really looking forward to seeing more - love that photo of your and Dr. John! :)

Laura B. said...

How awesome to see your time in Amsterdam! What a neat stamp store and to meet some fellow stampers too! The food looks amazing! Can't wait to see more!

CinnamonSally said...

Looks like you had a fabulous time Virginia, I visited Amsterdam about 20 years ago and loved it.
PS that stamp store looks amazing.

Anette said...

what a great post, love seeing all these pictures!

Brenda said...

Love this virtual tour...thanks for sharing.

kath said...

how wonderful that you met up with some lovely Flickr friends...old amsterdam is beautiful not so the downtown area which is decidedly seedy and well done for seeing off the pick pocket...hugs kath xxx

rcwidow (Linda) said...

Great photos! Thanks for sharing

Michelle said...

Virginia, what a wonderful post! It sounds like you had a great time in Amsterdam, despite the attempted pick-pocket experience! When I went to the Van Gogh Museum many years ago, I went from not liking Van Gogh at all to his becoming one of my favourite artists. His paintings are so, so beautiful! One day I would like to go back. I can't wait to hear and see more of your trip!

Tammy said...

Wow--if this was just your first 3 days, I can't wait to see more! Love that you got a photo of David's first beer! Did he like it??

Kara Lynne said...

You could easily be a travelogue journalist! So fun to see your friends and that shop! I love the pictures of your family (and relieved you all didn't become addicted with the second hand smoke - ha)!

Angi said...

Beautiful photos Virginia. Now I wanna take a trip there. :)

Lin said...

My friend, what a wonderful post! I loved Holland many years ago when we lived in Europe - it was one of my favorite destinations, because so many of the people spoke English so well! I think we were only in Amsterdam once, though, but many more times in the small villages and towns , so I really enjoyed your tour today! You and Dr. John look so happy and FIT in that last photo! Counting down the days until I will see you both again!

Maureen Morton said...

Ah, one of my vary favorite places! Looks like you totally enjoyed it - except the smoke! So tickled that you were able to do this great trip.

Vic Lau said...

Amazing fun! Can't wait to hear more about your trip :)

MarcyK924 said...

Oh that was F.U.N.!!!! What a gorgeous montage of photos, V!! A trip of a lifetime! Gosh I missed you!

Melissa Shea said...

Thanks for taking us on your trip! I learned some new things too! It all looks amazing (except for the pick pocketing-ugh! And way to go for catching it early!!). Can't wait for more. Beautiful family. Beautiful pics!

Miriam Prantner said...

Good thing that guy got off the bus, I would have hated to see what happened to him! Looks like so much fun, and I love that you have that HA poster, Dr. John has some pretty good ideas! Can't wait to see more photos!

Kelly Booth said...

Such a Fabulous trip for you V.... Love that you got to meet HA Friends!! xoxoxo

Karen from MI said...

WOW! I LOVED your post, today! FANTASTIC photos and what a wealth of information you shared...I'm actually LEARNING some new facts, Virginia! Feel as though I was right along side you traveling the world! :) That stamp shop looked amazing, too!!! Now go get some SLEEP! TFS!!!! Love,Karen

Kim S said...

Thank you for sharing! I think you may have added the area to my wishlist!

alexandra s.m. said...

Another wonderful post Virginia!
You are such a sweet heart for spending so much time posting these.

BTW: Royal Blue is my new favorite color for you!! A-MA-ZING!!!

hilde said...

Hi Virginia! Wow, awesome photos! Love the collage (hope I write it right) from our day! What a story about pick pocketing! So glad you saw it happening!

Bethany Stellpflug said...

it looks like you had so much fun Virginia! I can't wait for more :)

Mariëtte said...

What a great surprise to see you in our country! It's a pitty I've missed the get together.
I have met Lenie on a stamp event, but never met Hilde.

Monika Reeck said...

Oh dear love the photos and you meet LENI oh dear...I am close to her but never meet her....you could drive more 8 Hour and you will be in munich dear...oh yeah....thats all Foto are lovely...nice to read your story....I just come back from Croatia too and wanna see your blog...vermisse dich Virginia...hugs

Darnell J Knauss said...

Fun! Total fun!! Thank you for sharing!

Simone said...

This is such a wonderful post! Thanks for sharing Virginia! It felt like i was back in Amsterdam all over again! Was a great city to visit :) Can't wait to see more of your holiday photos!

pcm said...

looks amazing!

Cathy A said...

Thanks for sharing your trip, looks like you all had a wonderful time, I wish I could visit that stamp shop, it looks amazing!

Robin K. said...

Thanks for sharing such amazing pics!!! The stamp shop looks amazing!!! Back in 2008 my hubby and I had the good fortune to see some of Van Gogh's works at the Albertina museum in Vienna! After only seeing his work in books I was not prepared for how different it would be to experience them in person- you have put the experience into words very well!

Helen F. said...

The old stamp store is amazing and how sweet to get to meet your stamping friends from abroad!
Thank you so much for sharing your trip to Amsterdam with us, Virgina ~ This may be my only chance to go there ;-) Really enjoying the trip so far and look forward to more fantastic photos. :)

Kelly Griglione said...

Yay, you're back! We missed you! And how cool is it that you're sharing your photos. I love traveling, and photography, so am very excited that we'll get to peek into your vacation. Awesome that you take pictures of the day-to-day things, like the bikes and the parking. It's nice to see pretty cityscapes, but oh so interesting to see the little details that are different than our daily life. Can't wait to see more, keep it coming!

chrystinanoel.com said...

Look at that stamp store!!! And I love Dr. John's poster idea, that's awesome. #1) I need a new word besides love. #2) Bloglovin seems to be taking me in reverse order of posts recently. This is sad.

PS. Thanks for stopping by my blog earlier today. There's unfortunately not room for another roommate (820 square feet...), BUT if you're ever in town, you'll have to let me know :)

Alice Wertz said...

that's a beautiful stamp shop and congrats on David's first sip of beer!!! =) really like the point on the bikes in Amsterdm. really enjoyed reading this beautiful post, Virginia!!

Brenda & Ian said...

Too funny. Our friends and us travelled from Budapest to Amsterdam on a river cruise in May/June 2011.

I am going to post the photo of us in front of the same scrapbooking/card making store that you have posted on your blog.

And, yes, we left a few Euro there!!!

Our Blog, Thornhill Gypsies (when we are travelling)
http://nanapapastrachan.blogspot.com/

I will post the photo soon.

Brenda

Maria said...

Wow! How interesting! So happy that you and family were able to have such a wonderful trip and meet up with friends! Thanks so much for sharing these awesome photos!