Friday, February 25, 2011

Back Home...temporarily

Well, we're back "home" after a few days in the capital city of Denmark, Copenhagen. It was a good trip; very cold there...MN type cold. We've gotten soft!! The wind was so bitter but they didn't have much snow at all. Just a little in the low-lying shady spots. It was still very windy & cold to be walking around sight-seeing so I took the Grand Tour of Copenhagen (while Ed, Guido & Gokhan worked, of course!). It was a wonderful tour (3 hrs) in a warm & comfortable bus. I saw so many sights of the city (I'll list them below) & even got a glimpse of Queen Margaret & Crown Prince Frederic while at the Palace watching the Changing of the Guard!!! Didn't do much shopping other than the window type after the tour. I did walk the 'Stroget' which is a 1.6 kilometer pedestrian shopping street thru the middle of the city. I covered it from one end to the other & back again. Bought nothing but postcards & a guidebook! So proud of myself. Really enjoyed going thru the Royal Copenhagen Porcelain shop. Headed back to Amsterdam today for a couple days of R&R before our next big adventure. Ed heads to London on Monday then I will train to Frankfurt, Germany & meet him on Thursday. We plan to attend Carnivale in Cologne, Germany with friends. We've been told it's THE place to experience Carnivale!
The Town Hall & Town Hall Square

Christiansborg Castle: the seat of Danish Parliament, Prime Minister's Office, Supreme Court, & Royal Reception Area.

Frederik"s Church @ Amalienborg Castle the residence of the Royal House of Denmark since Christianborg Castle was damaged by fire in 1794.

Amalienborg Castle: made up of 4 identical Rococo palaces arranged around a large square. Queen Margaret II lives here with her husband the Prince Consort Henrik in the palace known as the Palace of Christian IX.

The Queen's actual guards.

This ship is known as the "Oops Frigate". It was decommissioned after accidently firing into a residential summer home area in Denmark. Fortunately, no one was home & no one was harmed. Ooops!!!

The Little Mermail statue made in 1913 by Edvard Eriksen & since then has become the symbol of Copenhagen. The monument takes it's inspiration from the well-known story of the same name by Hans Christian Andersen, himself another national symbol.

Interior of the Church of our Lady; founded in the early 13th century. The Crown Prince Frederik was married here in 2002 to a commoner from Australia, now, Crown Princess Mary.

Statue of Hans Christian Andersen outside of Town Hall Square

Nyhavn neighborhood built mainly from the mid-18th century. Hans Christian Andersen lived here for several years. Now these house restaurants, cafes & small hotels.

Friday, February 18, 2011

London sights

I said earlier that I"d post some London sights so here they are. We really enjoyed our time in our English speaking surroundings. But honestly, sometimes these Englishmen are harder to understand than our Dutch friends & neighbors!!

I've been a little under the weather since our return to Amsterdam so that's why I haven't posted much. Actually have barely been out of the apartment...on well, I'm on the mend!!

Enjoy my shots of London!!
There's Big Ben....

Houses of Parliament

The London Eye...still haven't been able to take a ride!!!

Beautiful architecture on the Houses of Parliament

Outside a pub...had a pint, some chips & futbol!!

"mind the gap....mind the gap....mind the gap"

Our own "beefeater" tour guide at the Tower of London. He was quite comical!!

Ravens are to always be kept at the Tower of London..."When the ravens are gone, the monarchy will crumble." decree from King Charles II 1660-1685 (to this day there are at least 6 & they will bite you! They're huge! I think they could carry off a child or a pesky tourist!)

The "loo" inside the Tower of London.

Beautiful walkways in the Tower of in 1060!!!

The Tower Bridge in London

THIS is the London Bridge...big deal, huh?!

St Paul's Cathedral...where Princess Diana & Prince Charles were married.

Westminster Abbey...Princess Di's funeral location.

Buckingham Palace

Entrance to the Palace

Yes, 36 years of marriage!!!

Trafalgar Square...getting some sprucing up before the big Royal Wedding on April 29th.
(Just for you Phyllis!)

Monday, February 14, 2011

London for our Anniversary

Hello from London!! We've been here since Saturday & have seen all the sights. Weather has been beautiful most of the time. Even got to meet some old friends here; Dale & Vicki Hawley. We sure had fun! Headed back to Amsterdam today & it's actually feeling a little like home. Ed will head off to Helsinki for a couple days but I'm staying at home & catching up on laundry & my museums!!

I'll post some pictures later but I got to see the London Eye, Buckingham Palace, Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, St James Park, The Green Park & a few pubs. We spent our anniversary (Valentine's Day) at the Pride of Paddington in London with Nik & Guido. Fun evening. I really like London; is it because I speak the language?! I wonder!!

More soon!!!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Museum for Ladies today!

Today I spent my time in the Museum of Handbags & Purses! Yes, there is a museum for that. Actually this is the largest museum IN THE WORLD devoted to the bag; a 500 year history & they have a collection of 4,000 bags. Yea, I hear you men yawning already but did you know that handbags were carried by men & women alike in it's infancy because men's clothing didn't have pockets either. It was so interesting. The oldest bags were from the 16th century & they had bags up to the present. The museum is housed in a magnificent canal house that was built in 1664 in the heart of Amsterdam. If you'd like to check out the website, here it is: Enjoy some of my pictures below.

Some of the most beautiful & oldest beaded bags.

Women carried their belongings on these long chains; sewing scissors, snuff box, dance card, Bible, etc.

These bags were carried on the ladies belt with the huge hook you see at the top of each bag.

These items are made from TOAD!!! They're from the 1930s.

This is portable school didn't have desks so they carried these to school. The kids who's fathers had the higher-paying jobs had the fancier "desk".

Just one of my favorite beaded bags/envelopes. Women would carry their sweetheart's letters in a bag such as this. I need one of these!!

I liked these because I love birds.

We are headed to London the the weekend then Ed has business on Monday & Tuesday. Monday is our 36th Wedding Anniversary (yes, Valentine's the Marine could never forget it. Little did I forget is how expensive flowers are on Valentine's Day! DUH!!) so we'll spend it in London. I'll sighsee with friends that I'm meeting there, Ed will be working! Then we'll have dinner Monday night & head back to Amsterdam on Tuesday. So I'll see you all next week!!! Happy Valentine's Day!!!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Museums, museums, museums......

Hey, I've had a pretty exciting couple of days since my last post. I've been just too busy & exhausted to post. So here goes...

I spent Tuesday walking my ___ off. Walked across town (almost) to go see the Westerkerk & it doesn't have tours till April. So I stopped into the Anne Frank House & bought my Museumkaart. This is basically a card you can buy that gets you into all the museums in Holland free & you get to skip the lines! So awesome!! So yesterday I spent the whole day at the Van Gogh museum. It was wonderful. No pictures were allowed inside the museum so I'm posting a few of my favorite paintings from my tour directory. It was so peaceful in there & the paintings so beautiful. You could walk right up to them & touch them (if guards weren't watching). So different from America. It was a wonderful day.  Today I went to the Hermitage Museum with a new friend that Vicki Hawley introduced me to via FB. Her name is Michelle & she homeschools her 4 children, who joined us at the museum. They had an exhibition on Alexander the Great so it was very interesting! I learned a few things about this amazing warrior. You should Google him; maybe you'll learn somethings too! (or maybe I should have paid more attention in World History!)
Vincent Van Gogh at the age of 19 in 1873

"The Yellow House" 1888

"Almond Blossom" 1890

"The Potato Eaters" 1885

"Wheatfields with Crows" 1890
Thought to be Van Gogh's last painting.
Entrance to the Van Gogh Museum.

Saw this on the way back to the apartment; this is the Dutch version of a "roach coach".

Cool little bridge near our apartment.

Ed has had people in town all week for training so we've had dinner out every night this week. Tonite (Thursday) I decided that I needed to stay in tonite. So it's a pjs, Dr Phil & a little wine...sound like a good idea?!
Not very clear but this is Nik outside the Bulldog Coffeehouse...yes, he stayed OUTSIDE the Bulldog!!
Way to go Nik!!
We are headed to London on Saturday morning for a few days. Our 36th anniversary is Monday, Valentine's Day so we'll be spending it in London!! Yippee!! (Be sure & remember your Sweeties!) I love London & hope to bring back a souvenier of the Royal Wedding!! I'll let ya know...stay tuned!!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Sunday in Amsterdam

We went to another different church this past Sunday. It's called Christ's Chruch; an English speaking Anglican church that is over 300 years old here in Amsterdam. It was a very uplifting worship service with some very familiar songs to prick my heart; "Holy, Holy, Holy", "Days of Elijah", "Blessed Be Your Name". There were tears, but tears of joy & closeness with God. We met a young man who came in & sat beside us with his young 3 yr old son who had been a missionary in Howard Lake, MN!!! How strange is this?!

After church, we came home & had some lunch then took a walk (long walk) down the Amstel River. We saw lots of beautiful sights that I'll share but it was a beautiful day. I did get some "blues" later in the day...missing Super Bowl Sunday with my family! I was able to get it on; just a play-by-play description but Regan & Tyler Skyped with me the whole game & made it more fun. It didn't start until 12:30am here & ended about 4:30am!!! Needless to say, I slept in yesterday & just laid low!! I'm too old for that all night stuff!!

Christ's Church, where we worshipped Sunday. It was full by the time worship started.

Theatre Carre; the place to go for plays & concerts.

Amstel Hotel~very upscale

One of thousands of houseboats on the Amstel River & various canals.

Some are quite modern.

Magere Brug or "Skinny Bridge" that what this is called?

Hope you're all enjoying my pictures of this amazingly beautiful city. I feel very blessed & privileged to be living here in this fairy tale place. Tot zeins!!