When Chris starts looking at real estate, I know we’ve fallen in love with a place. We’ll be walking along some cobbled street, heading from a three-hour lunch to some tourist attraction, and he’ll stop at one of those windows papered with photos of available rentals. Our little “what if” game will snowball as the day wears on. We’ll discuss which neighborhood has the best vibe, how cold the winters get, and whether or not we’ll be able to pick up the local language. Judging by the signs, we’d fallen for Lisbon by day one.
I took a few day trips during my stay in Amsterdam, hoping to get a little taste of small town Dutch living. I went to Edam, which was adorable without being saccharine, and to Volendam, whose touristic vibe was a Disneyland/Times Square hybrid level of grotesqueness. And then there was Delft, an ordinary town that gave me the strangest of experiences. Continue reading
Belgium: it’s not all waffles and fries. Ok, it’s a lot of waffles and fries, but here’s a few other edibles that beg for equal attention:
1. Liege Waffel Continue reading
Christmas in Holland is racist. Or not. It depends on who you are, and where you come from apparently. I’m definitely leaning towards the former, but it’s obviously a complicated and contentious topic to understand. My interest in the controversy began when I was shopping for presents in Amsterdam. I picked up a children’s Christmas book–thinking an international take on the holidays might be fun for my nephew–and was blown away by the images inside. Pitch-black elves (I presumed), dressed like clowns, with googley eyes, tumbled across the pages, performing acrobatics and building human pyramids. My mind strove for some sort of comprehension, but all I could manage initially was a good ol’ “What the hell...?” Continue reading
My dad worked as a commercial airline pilot when I was a teen, which meant that if I didn’t show up to school one day, there was a good chance it was because seats had opened up on his flight to Athens (or Rome, or Nice, or Lyon, or wherever) and my mom and I had jetted off with him. His layovers were sometimes only 48 hours, but with free tickets and hotel costs covered by the company, I’m guessing you don’t feel too bad for me. Combine all those little trips with the ones I took on my own in college, and I’ve been to somewhere around 20 countries. But (BUT) does 48 hours in a country really count? Does checking off the Acropolis or the Pantheon mean you’ve really been to Greece or Italy? I’m not so sure. The more I travel, the less I care about seeing “the sites,” and the more I care about actually getting the feel for a place, and seeing it through a lens of locals. On my recent trip to Amsterdam, I tried my darndest to do just that. Continue reading