One of the biggest motivators for us to go to Europe when we did was because good friends of Chris's had moved there. What better time to go than when you have someone to visit! They had lived near Amsterdam for their first year but a few weeks before we arrived they actually moved to Da Haag. So, that's where we went!
The cities we saw in Holland were all surrounded by water. Canals run through the cities meaning there are bridges, boats, and beautiful scenery everywhere! The walkways were usually cobblestone and the buildings were each unique. We walked a lot and every turn seemed to hold another beautiful view.
It was a bit cold in Holland and it did rain off-and-on each of the three days we were there. We were fairly used to that, but now we were blessed to have a place to stay indoors during the day! It was such a treat to be able to stay with our friends where we could relax and just catch up instead of rushing off to see the sights.
I loved seeing them live life in this foreign place with their daughter. It's exciting to see your friends say "yes" to what they felt called by the Lord to do. Some days are hard, there are definitely adjustments to make on a daily basis and a lot to learn. But it is a great adventure! I enjoyed hearing about the lessons they've learned and the experiences they had in the last year and also what their hopes were for the future.
Our time in The Netherlands felt like a vacation from our vacation. We were able to slow down, rest, and enjoy the company of great friends. We didn't "do" much, which was a nice change of pace and exactly what we needed.
Proof that we really did "backpack" through Europe!
One of the canals in Amsterdam
A little antique store had these wood shoes on display
How long we were there: 3 days
What we did: Walked around Amsterdam, Den Haag, and Delft. We stayed with friends who had been living in Holland for a little over a a year. We slept in and rested, did our laundry, and stayed mostly dry during the rainy days. Mostly, we enjoyed seeing and catching up with our friends!
What we ate: Shortly after arriving in Amsterdam we warmed up with some warm drinks at a local coffee shop, I had a hot chocolate, Chris had coffee. Then we went to a cafe and had lunch on a patio off of the canal; I had a salmon sandwich. We walked around the canals, past Anne Frank's house and then decided to try to warm up and stopped at another cafe for more warm drinks and an apple tart. Then we found our way to the train to Den Haag. For dinner we had Chinese take-out (not the original plan, but many places close early in the evenings).
Our friends cooked for us and shared their dutch treats with us: Nutella and chocolate sprinkles on bread and stroopwafels. The following day in Delft we had lunch at a cute cafe off of a canal; I had a chicken quiche and Chris had a traditional savory pancake. That evening we went out with a couple other friends we met in Colorado; they took us to a restaurant where we enjoyed beer and warm comfort Dutch food--roasted lamb and duck with potatoes.
Where we stayed: in Den Haag with our friends Matt, Jamie and their daughter.
How we got around: We took the train in between cities and the tram to get around within the city. We also noticed that of all of the places we had been so far, bikes seemed to be the most common way to get around in Holland. Bikes were everywhere! We even saw a two-story bike rack at a train station that held hundreds of bikes!