Wednesday, June 27, 2012


We were very excited that we were able to go down to Wimbledon yesterday! T got off of work early, quickly came home, changed, and we were out the door.  It was a surprisingly beautiful day! Upon arriving, we basically had it in our minds that we were not going to get tickets, but we were going out on a whim.  When we arrived to the Wimbledon area, there was a sign that said 'Queue for Non-ticket holders.' We entered the line. They gave us a 'queue ticket' and we were numbers 10100 and 10101. The person in charge of the line said that it would maybe take 2 hours - 2 and a half hours to get to the front of the line. We nodded, and decided to brave the treacherous line. It was 2:30pm.  It started to drizzle... we did not have any umbrellas, and since it was pretty hot before we left, we were wearing shorts and a skirt.  Hmm... should we stay in the line?

The drizzle soon went away, and people began handing out refreshments.  We talked to a few people in line, and tried to figure out how to pass the time.  Rumor was that we would probably get in by 5:30pm.  Oh gosh... 3 hours to go! This was going to be a LONG day! We had coffee, orange squash (some wierd drink), and played a few games on our little British phones.  The line was moving quite well, and we were gaining hope that maybe it would not take as long as we thought! Well, we were right! We were at the admission gate by 3:30.  Only having to wait in line for around an hour, we were ecstatic!  We bought our tickets, only 20 pounds, and headed straight to the board to see who was playing.  General admission is allowed to view anyone playing tennis on courts 3-20.  However, if you want to see matches on Centre court, No. 1 or No. 2, you have to stand in a queue and pay 5-10 pounds to get a ticket.  When we got there, Nadal was playing on Centre Court, there was no way we were getting into that one.  After that, Andy Murray, a British favorite, was on Centre Court, we definitely were not getting into that one either.  We saw that Andy Roddick was playing on No. 1 later in the day, so we decided that we would walk around, watch some random tennis matches, eat Strawberries and Cream (a Wimbledon favorite), and then queue up to try to get tickets to see Roddick play. Tennis is a sport that I enjoy watching, so even though we did not know all of the people playing that we watched, it was a lot of fun!

After a few hours of wandering around, we got in the queue to get tickets to Court No. 1, and within 10 minutes, we had our new tickets in hand, grabbed some food and a Pimm's (another British favorite Liquor drink), and then headed inside to support our fellow American!  We watched the first set, Roddick, ranking at 30, and his opponent, Jamie Baker, ranking at 187.  Roddick barely won in a tie breaker making the first set 7-6.  The clouds quickly came out, and I started to freeze.  I went to get some hot tea, and T got a beer.  We went back to our seats, watched them play until the score was Roddick 4-2, and then it started to rain.  Unfortunately, it was rained out and they would have to finish the following day.  We waited for the rain to die down, looked around the gift store, and headed out of the stadium, back down the road, on the tube, and back to our humble abode. We had a great time! My dad loves to play tennis, and the whole time, I kept thinking that he would have LOVED this event! He should definitely try to visit the event one day!  Here are some pictures of our time at Wimbledon!

 Our Queue Card to prove that we had a spot in line
 T waiting in line
 Looking down the line... we had a long way to go!
 500 yards from the grounds!
 Trying the Orange Squash drink... pretty gross
 Trying to pass time... taking a funny picture
 Only 400 yards left!
 Now 300 yards left!
 We started to move faster! 200 yards!
 Almost there! We could see the grounds!
 Finally! The admission tickets!
 Order of Play Board
 In front of one of the courts
 The famous 'Strawberries and Cream'
 Eating my Strawberries and Cream in front of the gift shop
 T with our tickets to Court No. 1
 Our tickets!
 Drinking my Pimm's
 The Players
 Andy Roddick
 Roddick vs. Baker
 Roddick Serving
 T outside getting a beer
During the rain delay... the pictures kept turning out dark in front of the court... but, yes... we were there together!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

We woke up early Sunday morning and were excited for the day to begin! We had planned on eating breakfast at our hotel, get ready, head to Zaanse Schans, a cute little Dutch village, just 20 minutes north of Amsterdam, and then go to the Anne Frank House and Museum later that day.  Well, the weather had a different plan for us. 

When we awoke, we quickly looked outside to see the weather conditions.  What we found was not pleasant.  Yes, it was in fact raining! We had known that there was a slight chance of rain, but we were hoping for the best! Instead of taking the train to Zaanse Schans in the morning, we planned to see if the rain had stopped later in the day and go after the Anne Frank Museum. 

We slowly got dressed (now, we weren't in a rush), and went downstairs and ate another delicious breakfast.  Knowing that we had to take our bikes back, our first mission was to brave the rain, with bikes in hand.  It was not very fun. It was freezing.  When we got there, we found a huge line, others had the same idea as us.  We had to wait in the freezing cold, rain, not to mention the strong winds that were gushing through. 

 Waiting in the rain to return our bikes!

With a few hours to spare before our time at the museum, we headed to the next best thing... a cheese shop! We knew that we wanted to take some Dutch cheese back to London!

 All of the choices! So many!
 We bought two delicious choices!

With umbrellas in hand, we braved the rain, yet again, and strolled through the streets.

 T on a bridge... in the rain

Because we were freezing... (well, I was freezing...), we stopped in a cafe and had some hot tea, hot chocolate with Baileys, and some typical Dutch sweet treats, Poffertjes met poedersuiker en boter... or fluffy pancakes with powered sugar and butter... eating yet again!

  After a few bites that we could not resist!

It was now our time to tour the Anne Frank Museum.  If you are planning on visiting, I HIGHLY suggest getting your tickets ahead of time! You may have to go with a time that isn't that great (we went in the middle of the day at 2pm), but it is totally worth it! If you don't buy tickets ahead of time, you will wait in line for 2 hours, or even longer! If you get your tickets ahead of time, you walk straight to the left of the line, ring the little bell, and walk right in.  Very easy! Luckily, we had scheduled this for today, it got us out of the rain.

After taking a step back into time, we stepped outside, and guess what? The rain had stopped! However, the wind was still blowing strong and had not left us! We ventured back to the hotel to get directions to go to the small Dutch village, but by the time we got back, he told us that by the time we got there, everything would be closed.  I guess that I will have to go back to the Netherlands to see the windmills!

Walking around Amsterdam

Since our flight was not until 9:00pm, we decided to have an early dinner after walking around the town.  We found a little Greek place and decided to eat there! It was again, very delicious! We have been so international during our time in Amsterdam! Indonesian food, Dutch food, and now Greek food! 

 My food: chicken skewer with potatoes, rice, and tzatziki sauce
 T's Meal: The special... chicken, lamb chop, gyro, with salad, tzatziki sauce, and poratoes
He was very proud of his special... and ate it all!

We then headed back to our hotel, had a little relaxation in the hotel lobby, grabbed our bags, figured out the bus system that took us to the airport, and we were on our way.  We took the 197 bus directly to the airport.  Very glad that we did this, the ride was only around 30 minutes and we did not have to switch trains, buses, or anything.  When we got there, we noticed that our flight was delayed... oh that wonderful London weather! We weren't leaving until 9:45 and now we had plenty of time to relax in the airport.  Finally landing in London around 10 (with the time change), we were hoping that the passport line was not too long so that we could catch the tube back into central London.  Well, we didn't get lucky... the line for checking our passports was SO long and took us about an hour to get through.  For short... our passports were checked at 11:20... the last tube was at 11:30.... we ran through the airport, to the underground station, and yes, WE MADE IT! Thank goodness we did not have to waste 50 pounds on a taxi ride!

Now, we must catch up on sleep, and plan for our next trip for next weekend! We are still weighing our options, but I think we are going to see the English country side with a stop in Stonehenge, and Windsor Castle.  Who know where our adventure will take us next! I will keep you posted!


We woke up around 10:00, still tired from the night before.  The friendly receptionist at our hotel gave us complimentary breakfast at the hotel since it was our honeymoon, so we wanted to make sure we did not miss the extravagant buffet! We have definitely been eating our way through Europe, and Amsterdam was not an exception! There were so many different things to choose from! Warm fluffy pancakes, all types of meats, eggs, salmon, cheeses, fruits, pastries, beans, roasted tomatoes and mushrooms, and probably a lot more that I am forgetting.  We did not take pictures of our breakfast, but just believe me when I say that Marriott definitely knows how to put on a wonderful breakfast! We were already looking forward to eating there on Sunday!!

After our bellies were happy and full, we stepped out into the streets, not needing as many layers as last night, and made our way to the canal.  We decided to take a tour of the canals on a smaller boat, so we had to wait until 12:45.  We then decided to walk around before our boat departed.

 In front of one of the many canals
 In front of the Rijksmuseum
 We of course had to visit a market! Albert Cuyp Markt
 All of the delicious cheeses

We then hopped on our canal cruise boat and headed down the waterways.  We went under and through the bridges and learned lots of interesting information!

 The beautiful canals

 They had these on the tops of all of the houses.  Since the houses are so tall and skinny, in order to get furniture in, they have to use this lever to bring the furniture up through the window.
 Pretty old church
 They loose about 30 cars a year to the river.  Amsterdam insurance companies came together and decided that it was cheaper to put in these barricades for cars instead of always getting out the cars from the river.
 Anne Frank House and Museum... going there on Sunday
 A few of the many house boats that we saw.  They are very expensive now because Amsterdam is not handing out any permits for people to live on the boats.
 The smallest house in Amsterdam.  How could you live there?

 Very windy... my hair is in my face in most every picture.... us on the boat
 The coat of Arms... the three X's mean the three things that killed most of the people in the Netherlands.... Fire, Water, and the Black Plague..... Now days he said the 3 things that may harm people are taxis, trams, and bikes!
 The houses are tilting because Amsterdam is slightly sinking, just like Venice
 If you have a layover in Amsterdam, you can take this bus from the airport to all of the sights. Such a great idea!
 Going through the '7 bridges' 

After our beautiful canal cruise, we decided to cruise another way... on bikes! Amsterdam is famous for all of their bikes, and we decided to join in on the madness! Renting bikes is a GREAT way to see every part of the city in a shorter amount of time! And who doesn't love a nice bike ride! It was definitely one of the highlights of our trip! We first cruised out to another yes... market... by the Anne Frank house called Noordermarkt.  It was great and we bought some dried fruits and nuts to hold our appetite while we cruised around!

 The dried fruits and nut mixes were unique and delicious
 Taking a break from bike riding
 Pretty picture on the bridge
 All of our many friends on the I AMSTERDAM sign... there's me on the S
 T just cruising
 Say Cheese!
 We found a cool little area.... more residential
 Vondelpark..... a very beautiful, large park that we biked around before dinner!

After cruising around for a while, we decided to go back to our hotel and get ready for dinner.  One of my best friends, Erika, is from this area and told us that Indonesian food is very popular here.  We thought that was kind of a strange food type to be in Amsterdam, but decided to give it a try!

We continued our 'food tour through Europe' by eating at an Indonesian restaurant just a few blocks away! We were not disappointed! It was amazing! We were very glad that we tried this new culture and if we ever see an Indonesian restaurant in the future, we will definitely be going in!

We ordered a 'rijsttafel.'  A rijsttafel meal consists of anything from 10-30 samples of Indonesian dishes.  Some are super spicy, others merely very perky, and all of the dishes are accompanied by white rice and some delicious fried rice.  All of the dishes were very good and if you are ever in Amsterdam, I would HIGHLY recommend this restaurant... or any Indonesian food place for that matter!

 Our appetizer... Curry Chicken Soup... Delicious!
 In front of the feast that we were about to begin eating!
 To the left: chicken sautee with a terryaki glaze  
To the right: chicken sautee with peanut sauce (for T)
 To the left: roasted pork in a terrayki like sauce (for T) 
To the right: curry chicken
 Top left: cucumber salad 
Bottom left: fried coconut to add to the dishes if you wanted to flavor them
To the right: the delicious fried rice
 To the left: spicy beans
To the right: (top) spicy sauce (bottom) fresh colwslaw
 Fried Bananas for dessert
 Hard Boiled Eggs in a Sweet and Sour type sauce
 Spicy Beef
Bottom left: white rice
top: T's peanut cucumber salad
To the right: fried little potatoes that you put on food for flavor (kind of like salt and pepper)

The delicious restaurant where we had our Indonesian experience!

After our HUGE meal, we headed back to Leidseplein square and had a beer at an Irish pub.  Stuffed and exhausted from the day, we headed in a little earlier to prepare for another big day ahead of us!