siblings and shenanigans

YO!

He is here, he is here!  My little bro has finally made his way across the pond to visit his big sister…and I am so happy to have him here!  We have been enjoying our time together thus far, and while we have a low key (and rainy) night on our hands, I thought I would fill you in on the details.

Curtis arrived last Friday morning after his first-ever international flight.  In my excitement, I managed only to get this one blurry photo of his arrival:

He's pumped to be here.

He’s pumped to be here.

After returning to The Hague via a long train ride packed with a group of high school Dutchies, I gave him enough time to get settled (and take a quick nap) before heading out to explore.  Side note: It happened to be the warmest day of the year thus far, so I had to get out there.  We wandered down to an area near BC’s office for a treat and then met BC to walk home from work.

A delicious fruity tart.

A delicious fruity tart outside the office.

Then we made our way into the city center for dinner, and we introduced Curt to the Indonesian dish that is quite popular here…Chicken Sate.  He was a big fan.

Saturday was a fairly early morning, as we were hitting the road and making our way to Dusseldorf, Germany.  Given that Curtis hadn’t had a chance to adjust to the time difference and didn’t sleep much over night, there was some sleeping taking place on the road.  It was about a 2.5 hour drive each way to Dusseldorf.

Once there, we started out with a mission…to find some brats or pretzels ASAP!  We wandered through the high-end shopping area and made our way to the Rhine River front.  Given the amazingly beautiful weather that day (yes, even better than the day before that I just said was the best this year), the water front was packed with people.  May I take a moment to note here that the Germans do indeed love to drink beer.  Everyone was sitting outside enjoying a beverage on this Saturday early afternoon…everyone.

A heated bocce ball match.

A heated bocce ball match.

Along the river.

Along the river.

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We made our way back into the city center to a nice market we had stumbled upon earlier.  There is where we located the much needed bratwurst!!

YUM!

Odd bun to brat ratio, but delicious none the less.

Following this lovely treat, we hit up the UERIGE house brewery in the center of town.  Actually, that makes it sound like we went inside a building or participated in a tour of some sort.  What took place in reality is the following:

1. We sat on a brick wall across the street from the brewery…joining numerous others who had gathered along the street for a beer.

2. The bartender made continual rounds to deliver their one and only type of beer in small glasses (for less than 2 euros).  Seriously, this guy’s speed was impressive.

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It was really enjoyable, and we felt it was a true German experience.  Then we headed back to the river front to take in some cool breezes and people watch for a while…one of my favorite parts of exploring.  Then we made our way back to the car keeping our eyes out for the all important: pretzel.  We finally stumbled upon one bakery along the way (okay – we actually went a few blocks beyond the car just hoping for one…) and ordered 3 of these bad boys:

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Apparently, we are idiots.  This is not a pretzel at all…it tasted like a danish roll to me…  We were highly disappointed to realize this upon our first nibbles.

When we got back to The Hague, dinner for the evening was at Scheveningen (aka – the beach) at a new beachside restaurant.  This also happened to be the same location as both an annoying “girl’s night out” crew and a bachelor party…  You can imagine how exiting that was for us.

Post-dinner at the beach (this was like 9:30 PM).

Post-dinner at the beach (this was like 9:00 PM).

A stop by the Peace Palace on the way home.

A stop by the Peace Palace on the way home.

Sunday was a pretty laid back day with minimal action (allowing for our tired guest to get caught up on sleep a bit).  Not much to report on this.

Monday morning came and it was back to work for BC.  So Curt and I headed North to Amsterdam for the day.  First up – a stop at the Anne Frank Huis (I made the mistake of not planning this far enough in advance to get tickets online like I normally do for guests, so we waited for over an hour to get in).  Then just down the street to The Pancake Bakery for some fabulous Dutch Pannekoeken.

Curt's nutella and banana pancake.

Curt’s nutella and banana pancake.

Some walking and stopping in shops lead us to the Museumplein and then onward to the Heineken Experience brew tour.  We enjoyed learning about Heineken, taking virtual reality ride and sampling a few beverages.

On the walk along the canals.

On the walk along the canals.

Beer.

Beer.

We started to make our way back towards central station, including a stroll through some of the infamous Amsterdam…’sights’ and then we stopped up at the top of the Double Tree for the amazing view that we had experienced on our last trip.  Here’s Curt at the top!

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Tuesday had been proclaimed as BEACH DAY!  I haven’t yet had much opportunity to enjoy the beach in all of its glory because it’s been well…crappy out.  However, as I had mentioned, the weather this week has been far superior to the weeks prior.  We loaded up a picnic, hopped on the bikes, and headed for the beach.  Given that it was a random Tuesday and early in the afternoon, we had a lot of beach space to choose from.  We set up our blanket and kicked back to enjoy a cola light in the sun.  Curtis also discovered that we had company on the beach… JELLY FISH!  I couldn’t believe it – never seen this on the beach before.  Needless to say, we kept our eyes peeled when wandering around the beach after that discovery.

SUNSHINE.

SUNSHINE.

Jellies.

Washed Up Jellies.

That night, we made our way back towards the beach to hit up the movie theater with BC.  We saw Hang Over Part III…humorous…better than Part II…

Now to the most exciting part of our time together thus far (in my opinion).  Today, we did a little activity called the ‘Scooter Experience’ just North of Amsterdam.  You may have interpreted this title to mean that we were riding our very own scooters…and you would be correct!

Many of you may be aware of my long standing desire to be a scooter-rider on a daily basis.  Considering the cost of this and the danger level, I haven’t made that commitment to date, so I was SUPER EXCITED to get a taste of it today!  I was also EXTREMELY NERVOUS given the “danger” part.  I would hardly consider myself one who is great with coordination and/or balance, so I had my doubts about my abilities.

We arrived to the starting location, although we were a bit early.  We waited for about 15 minutes before our instructor finally arrived.  He gave us the waivers and offered up insurance options (which I clearly signed up for), and then got us on the scooters to try it out.

Trying to figure it all out.

Trying to figure it all out…yes, he gave us those sweet windbreakers to wear too!

It was a lot harder than I had imagined, but once we got going, it wasn’t as bad.  So he gave us a map, and sent us on our way!  SIDE NOTE: This is not a great activity for the navigationally challenged.  We made many incorrect turns, skipped part of the route and stopped constantly to check signs.  Before I give you a photo series of our adventure, I thought I would tell you about the things that happened along the way…

1. We took two ferries.

2. We drove through a golf course.

3. We ended up on the highway…twice.

4. We saw hundreds of sheep, cows, horses, chickens, goats, ducks, cranes, ect.

5. We stopped at a dairy farm to eat homemade ice cream.

6. Oh, and I slammed my scooter into the corner of a bridge.  No biggie.

Pretty sight at the start.

Pretty sight at the start.

Stopped for ice cream!

Stopped for ice cream!

YUMMY!

YUMMY! (and windblown)

He loves it.

He loves it.

And then the rain sets in.

And then the rain sets in.

And then the accident happens...

And then the accident happens…

The fun continues...Curt's warmer now.

The fun continues…Curt’s warmer now.

Nice barn.

Nice barn.

Pretty spots.

Pretty spot.

Taking the ferry.
Show me what we're working with.

Show me what we’re working with.

We had a blast.

We had a blast!

This may have been one of my favorite things I have done here yet!!  It was such a great experience, and we saw so much of the true Dutch countryside!

Hope you enjoyed the recap!  We are looking forward to more fun (including a trip to Rome) in the coming days.  Get excited for those details!!

Until next time,
-MK-

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