Exploring the Netherlands: Amsterdam

Two weekends ago I headed to Amsterdam on a little solo adventure. I had been to this fabulous city before (as well as many hours logged at the Airport) but this was the first time since living here that I boarded a train alone for a mini-vacation.

As an Expat and writer who spends most of my time at home alone, I was really longing to make some new friends. One day I stumbled upon this blog written by another American living in the Netherlands.  Along with her friend, she started an Expat Bloggers Brunch- a group that meets once a month to exchange ideas and generally muss about Expat life in the Netherlands. I got bold and emailed her and invited myself to the gathering.

I am SO glad that I went! It was an amazing experience to meet other Expats who were writers, living in Holland (usually with Dutch boyfriends or husbands) and realize I am not alone.  It was such an inspiring experience, and I truly look forward to cultivating friendships with these fabulous ladies. If you are interested, listed below are their blogs:

Lily Wanderlust, A Georgia Peach, Poppies and Ice Cream, Dutch Tales, HollanDaze, Christa Cordova, Pick the Wild Card, and Awesome Amsterdam.

Canal in Amsterdam, May 2013.

Canal in Amsterdam, May 2013.

Expat Bloggers Brunch in Amsterdam

Expat Bloggers Brunch in Amsterdam

Cheese Shop in Amsterdam.

Cheese Shop in Amsterdam.

Flowers in Amsterdam.

Flowers in Amsterdam.

Exploring the Netherlands: Keukenhof

Last week we ventured off on a little road trip to the Keukenhof. This majestic garden features the most glorious flowers ever. Seriously. In every color of the rainbow, the garden showcased flowers ranging from tulips to lilies to narcissus and even somehow managed to make carnations seem alluring. 

I live in the Northern part of Holland so it was about a 2 and a half hour drive to Lisse all along the way we past fields and fields of colorful tulips in rows as far as the eye can see. I had seen these images featured on postcards but to see it in person was truly something.

We stayed the night on the North Sea (about 15 miles from Lisse) at a beautiful old Hotel- Hotel van Oranje. It was truly a charming little getaway!

(**Please Note that the below photos have not been retouched or enhanced at all, these are actually the colors! Amazing, I know!)

If only my home garden was this fabulous!

If only my home garden was this fabulous!

My favorite colour of tulips.

My favorite colour of tulips.

Me, in a field of tulips.

Me, in a field of tulips.

More glorious flowers...

More glorious flowers...

Queen's Day and an Afternoon in Germany

A few days ago was Queen’s Day and the crowning of the new King. At first I was really excited to be here for the festivities as not everyday you live in a Country where there’s a changing of the guard and a new King (and Queen) is crowned. Especially as an American.  But, we live quite far from Amsterdam where the main festivities were taking place and the idea of hanging out with a million people all day to catch a glimpse of something that you could easily see on TV in the end, didn’t sound very enticing to me. So, instead, we decided to eschew the goings on and head to Germany for the day.

Now you may be thinking why would I give up a once in a lifetime opportunity to party with the masses and celebrate the Royal event? I’m not really sure except that I live really close to the German border and having never been in Germany before I took this opportunity to add another country visited to my list. Plus, I had always wanted     “ to have a beer in Germany” on my bucket list and this gave me a chance to cross it off.

We spent the day in Leer on the River Ems- a really quaint little town about 30 minutes from our house. While walking in the main shopping district I stumbled upon an Asian market. There this American girl in Germany for the Dutch Queen’s Day managed to secure her favorite Miami childhood snack of plantain chips made in Ecuador. How positively International.

And, I got to have my beer in Germany ironically at an American themed restaurant called Hollywood’s.

germany-beer-2.jpg