we went to ghent

Good morning, everyone! (or good afternoon to my European followers)  I hope you’ve had enough time to absorb the information overload that came from the Paris post!  Believe it or not, we did even more than that while our visitors (Brad & Kelly) were here, although Paris was clearly the highlight!

On our first day back in NL, the weather was…ok.  So we did some outdoor activities.  First up, a trip to our favorite cafe (Blossom) for some brunch and a good coffee! Then we showed Brad & Kelly our daily life in DH by visiting our local grocery store, bakery, flower shop, ect. on Bankastraat.  We love our neighborhood feel, and they were impressed as well.

Our cheese shop.

Our cheese shop.

Then considering it wasn’t raining, we made a trip to a place you might recognize by now…Kinderdijk.  Yes, the place with all the windmills.  A couple were decorated for some reason this time…and it was the least busy we had ever seen it!  I managed to not take 100 photos this time, so you just get this one!

Flagged.

Flagged.

That night we headed out to the beach for a little strolling, eating dinner at a great spot called Doen and watching of the sunset.  Brad & Kelly seemed to really enjoy this, and they were surprised that just 10 minutes away from our place is a big beach!  It really is still something that seems odd…

Not bad a view at dinner, not bad.

Not bad a view at dinner, not bad.

The next morning was an exciting one!  We went for a 2 hour road trip to the city of Ghent, Belgium.  It is an incredibly quaint and adorable city filled with canals and old buildings.  We strolled around, had a nice lunch in one of the open squares, made the all important stop for a Belgian waffle and found a few chocolates along the way too!  A nice little day trip…for sure!

Now…the photo montage:

Our entrance to the city.

Our entrance to the city.

IMG_8227 IMG_8235

Turned a corner and oh...a castle.

Turned a corner and oh…a castle.

99 bottles of beer (and cola) on the wall.

99 bottles of beer (and cola) on the wall.

Just for fun.

Just for fun.

And...mmm.

And…mmm.

Then back home for a walk around the city center, including a swing by our original apartment, and then dinner at a little hidden gem called Paraplu that BC found in an alley with the help of some coworkers. (I hadn’t even been there yet!)

Friday was a low-key tour of The Hague day.  We made our way to a really nice, rustic restaurant for lunch called “Landbouw” which means farming/agriculture.  Then a drive through the massive old homes in Wassenaar, and a pit stop at Luciano’s…the delicious gelato place!  This has become a staple for us.

Then we did some shopping along “The Fred” or Fredrick Hendricklaan…no major purchases, but a nice stroll.  We did dinner that night at our favorite Indonesian place, called Jimbaran.  They had some serious staffing issues or something, because the already long European style of dinning became even longer!  The meal was tasty though…as usual!

We made another little trip for our last day with Brad & Kelly.  This time to the North…Amsterdam!  We have decided that the canal cruises are a good way to see the city when you only have a day or so to visit, so that was up first.  While we waited for our turn, we wandered down to Museumplein to see the “I AMSTERDAM” sign that is well-known by tourists.

A shot along the way.

A shot along the way.

After a quick stop for lunch, we had a reservation at the Anne Frank Huis.  The first time for Brad and Kelly, and a return visit for both of us, the tour was still quite moving.  How could it not be to imagine what transpired in that location!?

We then made our way back to the Double-Tree hotel where we were staying overnight to check-in.  We were told the view from the lounge on the top floor was worth the stop, so we decided to believe the front desk clerk.  He may have underestimated a tad…  It was really an amazing view!

Working the panorama skills.

Working the panorama skills.

We had made reservations at a dinner spot earlier in the day, so we backtracked from the hotel to the restaurant called Van Speyk.  It was a seriously delicious meal!  A good way to end the week and a half long culinary journey we had taken!  Then of course, to get the full Amsterdam experience, we had to do a quick stroll through the infamous Red Light District.  This was my first time doing so at night…a much more happening place, to say the least.

Gosh, what an amazing time we had with Brad & Kelly.  We love you guys so much – thank you for making the long trip over to hang out with us!!

It’s been a little emotional since we’ve been back on our own…funny how different it felt to have people from home here!  But we are getting back into the swing of things…just in time for my lil’ bro to arrive ONE WEEK FROM TODAY!!!

I celebrated a birthday yesterday, as many of you were already aware.  It was a really odd feeling to have a birthday away from my friends and family… (especially since Mom’s birthday is the following day – HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!)  However, I received so many wonderful birthday wishes and my husband definitely worked hard to make me feel extra special!  (I’m talking he made me breakfast in bed, people!)  Lucky lady. 🙂

Well, I think that’s all for me today.  Have a wonderful weekend!!

Until next time,
-MK-

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