Wednesday, July 10, 2013

It's all about me (and Frank)!

What a great trip!
Thanks for asking me to come along.
We did manage to get one photo together.

It's all about me (and food and drink)!

We did lots of food and beverage consumption.  Blogs really must have photos of food and drink to be popular!

Strawberries and Cream - a Wimbledon tradition

We intended to get Strawberries and Cream on the Wimbledon grounds but when we picked up our tickets from Stubhub at a smaller tennis club nearby, they were serving the traditional treat with mimosas on the back deck as part of the hospitality.  Most entertaining was when two English teenage boys dressed in Wimbledon white including headband and wristbands borrowed raquets and played a bit on the courts.

Pim's - a British summer drink
We kept seeing people with trays of this at Wimbledon and I had seen signs outside the pubs announcing that summertime meant Pim's time.  It looked like iced tea to me, with lemon and lime and sometimes orange and apple.  But, it's actually a hard liquor of some sort mixed with club soda maybe and the above fruit.  Very refreshing - I had two at the theater while seeing Mamma Mia.

Fish and Chips
You can't go to London without having Fish and Chips.  We went to the Golden Hind which has been around nearly 100 years and is the favorite of Frank's work colleague, a local Brit.  He knows what he is talking about.  It was a huge plate and I ate it all!

Bitterballen - a Dutch treat
At one of the Amsterdam pubs I saw a plate of these go by.  When I asked the waiter what they were he said they were Bitterballen and he did not know any translation for that word, but they were a traditional Dutch food.  It was a must try.  They were breaded fried balls of ground meat with a thick gravy surrounding the meat served with English mustard.  Very tasty and you gotta love the name!

Dutch Cheese and Meat Tray
We brought home a bunch of Dutch cheese and it's really tasty.  I took a picture of this appetizer tray because I wasn't sure what that "meat" was in the middle (the top is a soft salami.)  I think it was a liver pate type thing - not my favorite.  But, that grainy mustard down the side of the plate was really good.

Fresh Stroopwafel
When were living in Kazakhstan one of Olivia's friends introduced her to stroopwafels.  They are a cookie made of wafers with caramel syrup in between.  Now I get them for her as treats from World Market.  So, we had to bring back stroopwafels for her.  We got some at the grocery store, some at the cheese store and some at this kiosk outside the Rijks museum.  They also served fresh stroopwafels there - Olivia will have to go there someday to experience it hot off the griddle.

My Indonesian friend at the Italian restaurant
This was our waitress at the italian restaurant we found in Amsterdam.  She wanted to take a picture of Frank and I but since it's all about me I made her get in the picture.  Frank says she's trying to kiss me but I think she just put her face very close to mine.

Lastly, we had an OUTSTANDING meal at a Thai restaurant just on the edge of the red light district.  We ate so  much and so fast that there are no pictures.  Frank thought the greatest part of the whole trip was when were trying to find the restaurant and we ended up on a few red light alleyways.  It was early but business was starting up.  I looked to the side at a window and said, "Oh my goodness, there's a woman!"  She was standing in a window and not wearing much and didn't actually realize we had wandered into that area so I was a bit surprised.

It's all about me (and miscellaneous pictures)!

Extra photos that didn't fit elsewhere!

 We stopped at the Chelsea store to buy Emily some gear since her team is sponsored by Chelsea
She really wanted a hairbow (???) but we did find hairbands and a ball and water bottle and t-shirts

We stayed at the very fancy Sofitel Grand in Amsterdam
Extremely nice, especially since they upgraded us when our room was not ready

The bicycles in Amsterdam are crazy
People riding everywhere, parked all jammed up
Even a two story bike parking garage

It's all about me (and pubs)!

This whole picture taking thing started with Frank wanting to take my picture in front of all the pubs we visited.  We visited alot between the two cities, but I'll have you know I drank water in many of them.

London Pubs
These are Frank's favorites that he visits when he is there
The Lamb and Flag and Pontefract Castle

At the pub before the musical I found this great tourism magazine
The London Drinker

We hit lots of pubs in Amsterdam.  Some just for a drink, some for a beer with the locals, some for excitement.  Here are some just for beer photos (but sometimes I'm holding Frank's beer because I was drinking water!)

At one pub we met a local guy who started asking about our trip.  He started chatting and ended up telling us about his trip from Amsterdam to South Africa in a caravan (he was in a bright orange 1964 VW Bug) of Dutch soccer fans going to the World Cup.  They got the whole thing sponsored and got to see every game. They stopped in places like Libya and Egypt and Ethiopia and Kenya.  Amazing!  Here he is next to me, before we started chatting:

At another pub we were chatting again with a local man and next thing we know a man comes running at full speed from a side street heading across the canal bridge with others in pursuit.  Everyone was yelling and it was obvious that he had stolen something.  The man we were chatting with jumped up and took off after him.  The thief turned the corner and jumped into the canal (brrrrr!) and our man jumped into a boat tied up next to the canal and dragged him out.  What a hero - Frank bought him a beer!  Here he is next to me in the plaid shirt:

You get the best experiences when you stop for a beer!

It's all about me (and libraries)!

Frank read online that one of the top attractions in Amsterdam is the national library.  Couldn't miss that right?  It's definitely something Frank did not visit on any previous trips.  We ate lunch at the cafe on the top (7th) floor and enjoyed the views, then wandered the library a bit.  It was extremely nice and modern but no gift shop so I could bring home a library t-shirt.

Views from the top

(This is the science museum called The Nemo)

Frank found this chair in the kids section that he swears is better than his recliner
(I guess it's not all about me)

This is not the only library we saw.  The Rijks museum has it's own library, actually open to the public, which contains archival books mostly on the topics of art production and strangely, cooking and recipes.  It was one of the stops on our audiotour of the museum.

It's all about me (and the canals)!

After being in Amsterdam I am upset that we never made it to Venice on all our trips to Italy.  Venice is famous for it's canals but I can't imagine they have more there than in Amsterdam and I had no clue that Amsterdam had so many.  Why didn't I know that?

We took a canal boat tour when we arrived.  It took us around the city from the middle to the edges and back again in about an hour (the canals go in circles around the city.)  We saw all the highlights of city and got the lay of the land (or the water, I guess.)

Tour boat
(very low so it can get under all the bridges)

Houses along the canal
All very old and sometimes not very straight
It would be very cool to live in one

The guide pointed out this house to us -
skinniest on one the canal, only 5 feet wide
(it's that middle strip of windows)

Another way to live on the canal - houseboats
This is the most expensive property in Amsterdam, for real!
They look cramped and likely mildewy to me

And here's a nice view down a canal

It's all about me (and museums)!

Since Frank and I have now been to London together 3x (and him many more than that), we decided to take a side trip to Amsterdam.  Again, he's been there a couple times but this was my first trip.  We went to alot of great museums.

Rijks (National Museum)

Van Gogh Museum

Anne Frank Museum
(Frank had not been here and didn't even know the story! Thank goodness he is married to a librarian.)

It's all about me (and Wimbledon)!

Frank had Wimbledon on his bucket list and the opening rounds coincided with our trip so it seemed destined to be checked off the list.  I thought it would be cool but wasn't something I would have been too upset to miss.  I was so wrong!  What a great day.  The weather was great (for London), the atmosphere was perfect, the tennis was outstanding, just a ton of fun overall.  So glad we went.

We got tickets for the grounds and Court 1.  Weren't we lucky that Andy Murray was playing on Court 1 that day?  He won in straight sets in a not very tough match but it was great that we saw the eventual British Champion.

It's all about me (and London theater)!

Frank had a business trip to London at the end of June and several months back he asked if I would like to go with him. I jumped on that very fast!  Frank decided since on most trips I take the photos, that this trip he would take photos all about me.  So we begin at the theater in London.

I arrived in London while Frank was still working.  I got there just in time to get to the hotel, take a quick shower and take the tube to the Globe Theater to catch some true English Shakespeare.  Unfortunately, the afternoon showing of Midsummer Night's Dream was sold out.  After wandering the theater where I was allowed without a ticket I decided to head to the Tate Modern next door, but found a woman outside selling one standing room only ticket for 5 pounds.  I was in!  The show was 3 hours long which was a long time to stand (in the sun, a lady in front of me fainted) but well worth it.

The Globe Theater

One of the nights Frank and I decided to see a musical in the theater district.  While Frank worked some more I walked through London to the discount ticket area and chose tickets to Mamma Mia! Frank was not too sure of this, as he would have preferred Les Miserable.  But, I wanted something more upbeat and I had never even seen the movie and he ended up loving it (as did I.)  Who can't love all those ABBA songs?

(These are all iPhone photos so not the best quality.)  Now on to the next topic....