Sunday, May 1, 2011

Tippy-Toeing through the Tulips!

Adios Stuttgart! We had spent the day at Jen's place because she is closer to the STU HBF aka our second home..the train station. We were taking an overnight train to Amsterdam and it didn't leave until 130am. We hung out that evening and introduced Jen to words with friends!..That kept us up until it was time to head to the train station. We normally reserve actual beds for the overnight trains but they always cost more so this time since we were "coming from stuttgart" where we should be rested, we just reserved reclining chairs. Who ever invented them did not sit in them after they were designed! Laura's long body was not fitting. It was pretty uncomfortable. We arrived in Amsterdam at 930am. We head to burger king for our morning wifi and breakfast! took us 30 minutes to order and get our public restroom and no wifi :(! night mare..and so much time and calories wasted. We end up paying for a toilette and we change and get ready for our first day! We lock up our bags in the train station because we are couch surfing tonight (will explain later) & we don't want to go put our bags up and waste more time. They inform us because tomorrow is Queen's day the lockers will be closing at 7pm instead of 24 hours. Okkkk, we figure that if we hit up Ann Frank's Huis and the Keukenhof tulips we will be back just in time to get our luggage and carry on to where we are staying. We arrive to Ann Frank and the line took us right under 2 hours. We notice the lady in front of us has on the same flip flops as Shelly. Of course, we must let her know and she ends up speaking English. Her name was Marika & she was traveling alone from Florida..a mother of 2 and her daughter had just moved to Austin..small world! She told us a little about her self and how she had been a florist for 15 years..a masseuse..went to culinary school., ect…she was a super mom! Ten minutes later we are in line and she is massaging knots out of both of our backs from our backpacking! We end up staying in touch with her through out the entire "huis" of Ann Frank. This house was so sad. We read books back in school but to actually put the images you imagined while reading the book to real life is surreal. By the way in no means is a house big when you are trapped in it..but in general the house was a lot bigger than we both expected. It was 4 stories.."mansion like". There were so many videos, pictures and her original diary. AHH It's so hard to imagine everything Jews went through during this period. They had no freedom what so ever. They weren't even allowed in parks. We've never been "history people" but seeing actual things that you learn about growing up, puts all the pieces together a little better. To realize now why everyone says America is lucky..or growing up you always hear about how America has so much freedom, I now see why. I completely understand why people say they absolutely love America. ..okay back to our day because we could go on and on about the Ann Frank house. It's crazy about how after this house Marika felt like our step mom already! She was a single mom doing the same thing we were but only she was traveling solo. We informed her about our next trip to Keukennhof where these "amazing" tulips are supposed to be and invited her. She accepted and we headed off to the next train. She was really impressed with how "we knew exactly" where to go and what trains to find…with confidence we laughed and had to agree we had this system pretty down by now! After a 45 minute train to bus ride we arrive at Keukenhof, a little down outside of Amsterdam. Back In December when we were flying home from an event in Miami was when we decided to go to Europe. The lady sitting next to us on the plane heard and she was from there & said you must go see the Tulips in Keukenhof…Not knowing anything else but what we had googled we planned into our we warned Marika we aren't too sure but we know from pictures on google that is amazing!! Big shoes to fill considering she worked in the floral industry for 15 years!! It was everything and more. Its a beautiful park on acres and acres with every color flower and tulip you can imagine. Little pathways here and there..streams of water…swans..looked exactly like scenes from the notebook when they go canoeing with the swans. and cafes(where Shells grubbed down a pesto sandwich and Laura a blueberry muffin and snickers) It was such a beautiful day..coming from Ann Frank was a little sad but when we are walking through the beautiful nature with a new friend, we can't keep talking about how blessed we are in life..just such a positive calming environment being surrounded with all the beauty God has presented us. We spent hours there and realize there is no way we are going to make it back to our luggage and we aren't rushing..we will just sleep in our dresses and get our stuff at 7am when the lockers open back up. In amsterdam we "couch surfed". Something Shells was signed up with. It's pretty much people helping out people. It's online and people let you sleep on their couches. In return when they travel they couch surf as well. Its people who are really interested in showing their town around to travelers. We got permission from Joost that we could sleep on his couch for the night. Our step mom for the day goes with us to his house to introduce ourself and make sure we feel safe! He was about 30 and had a few buddies over. His backyard had tile down and was surrounded by bamboo trees and candles. They were relaxing and we all chatted away in the backyard until night the way its sunny in Europe until about 930pm. crazy! Marika decides she should get going home but didn't plan on being out so late and didn't bring directions back to the suburb that she was staying at…2 girls in sun dresses (now with Joost's sweaters over us..Thank you!), Marika, Joost and his 2 friends take off to find Marika's correct train. Being Queen's day tomorrow, (the biggest celebration in Amsterdam where hostels and hotels fill up a year in advance) ..which is why we had to couch surf! Anyways it took us about 2 hours to find her train and BOY WAS IT was SO windy and I'd say around 40-45 degree..yes in flip-flops..BRRRR Let the pre game Queen's day celebration begin! It's always fun to party in over sized sweaters..another day another hot mess! People are just partying in every street..we party hop have some beer, have some wine..stop for some late night Kebab's and fries and then head to Joost's couch where he had a cot type mattress as well. We get plenty of covers and we hit the hay at about 430am! 

"He has made everything beautiful in His time" Ecclesiastes 3:11

"Beauty is not caused. It is." Emily Dickinson

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