Thursday, April 11, 2013

Rhine Getaway–Amsterdam!

We are so excited to share our fabulous getaway with everyone!  It was well worth the planning, the saving, and the excitement.  Honestly, I really don’t think we had much stress involved at all that I can recall.  I’ll share …as best I can…day by day because it’s going to be the best way to describe it all.

We started our journey on Friday at IAH, and, after we were graciously dropped off at the airport by my Mom, we found our way through the check-in process.  After check-in, we made our way to Terminal E to meet our glowing travel partners, Mindy and Gordon!  Glowing meaning they are expecting a sweet baby girl in September!  As they were departing just a bit before us, we had just a little while to chat with them in Pappadeaux’s before making our way to our lovely Economy Comfort seats on KLM!  Of course, that was not until Henry had made the comments he could expunge regarding “how it usually goes in business class.”  Yes, please proceed with crying him a river. Winking smile  We had a great flight on KLM (LOVE their service!), and we hit the ground running when we arrived in Amsterdam! 

The four of us had pre-arranged a private transfer in Amsterdam upon arrival, so, after finding our driver, he took us the scenic route to our hotel, the Doubletree Centraal Station which is just walking distance from one of the river cruise terminals in Amsterdam.  Each of us was thrilled that the Doubletree allowed us to check in so early!  After refreshing from the flight, we set out to walk around Amsterdam.  We found an interesting bar/café to stop at for a late breakfast to enjoy a much needed meal.  IMG_4400Our concierge also set us up for a cheese and wine tasting for the afternoon, and we were all impressed!  We weren’t expecting the class to be so professional and detailed.  They definitely make tasty cheese at Reypenaer Cheese in Amsterdam!IMG_4418IMG_4419IMG_4417

Each of us knows much more about aging cheese now.  Haha!

After a necessary nap and recharge time, we headed out on the canals again for dinner.  We honestly had not done very much research, even though I probably should have due to my dietary needs.  That said, I’d seen a few positive things about a certain Dutch restaurant.  We discussed and decided we would try it out.  After searching and searching to find the location, we went in to find a very…shall I say AUTHENTIC…Dutch restaurant.  Our American minds expected to just ask for a table to sit down.  It turns out, they almost didn’t seat us because we didn’t have a reservation.  Wow!  Please don’t send us out in the cold again to try to find another place to eat!!!  Thank the good Lord, they found us a table.  After Henry ordered his first beer to celebrate the finale of the Lent season (this was the thing he gave up), he was certainly not going anywhere Smile  He loved the beer!Haesje Claes Amsterdam We were each in for the dinner of a lifetime, and we didn’t even know it yet.  This was certainly a feast, and it was one that we all deem a winner, or in the top 3, for the entire trip.  Without a doubt, if you are in Amsterdam, you must must must visit Haesje Claes for one of your meals!Haesje Claes AmsterdamAs if our starters and main entrees weren’t large enough, we still opted for dessert.  I’m SO GLAD I did!  My gluten free pancake with made-from-scratch vanilla bean ice cream was the BEST DESSERT I think I encountered the entire trip. I cannot begin to describe the tastiness of this dessert!Haesje Claes Amsterdam

After we rolled ourselves back to the hotel for the night, we enjoyed a great night’s sleep before Henry and I arose early for breakfast at the hotel (AMAZING selection by the way!  Bravo Doubletree Centraal Station!).  We then started our journey through the canals of Amsterdam after a lively Saturday evening still lingered in the streets of Amsterdam.  Mind you, this Sunday morning is also Easter Sunday AND they had Daylight Savings overnight!  Nevertheless, we made it to the Anne Frank House line TWO minutes before they opened, and we were surprised that we made it inside the museum within about 15 minutes.  This was my second time to the museum (once in 2004), and I knew improvements and additions had been made. I’m so glad that we were able to see this, and, as with anything, I was happy to learn new information about the life of Anne Frank, her family, and the war beyond what I learned via second hand info as our theatre department worked through the play and heavy research when I was in high school.  I’d have to say waking up early, even after a long flight the day prior, was worth the visit.

After our return to the hotel, we ate lunch in the Sky Lounge on the top floor of our hotel, and we then made our way to our BRAND NEW Viking River cruise ship!  There’s more to come on that, but I’d like to try to give an accurate description of the prominence of river cruising…just on the Rhine; this doesn’t even count the many other rivers which have river cruising available across Europe and other countries.  From the top terrace of our hotel, we were able to count ELEVEN (11) ships that we were able to see.  As we traveled to our ship for embarkation, we quickly learned of several others meaning there were 15-20 ships awaiting embarkation the same day as us.  Understand there are many cruise lines, not all one, but I hope this accurately shows just how popular this form of travel has become!Rhine River Amsterdam Cruise ShipRhine River Amsterdam Cruise ShipRhine River Amsterdam Cruise Ship

In this last picture, you can see two river cruise ships in the center of the photo with a tug boat near the end of the ship most near the middle of the river.  That specific ship is ours!!!  More to come on our exciting river cruise!

Take a look at all of the pictures we took during our two days in Amsterdam!  It’s less than 2 minutes, I promise Smile


  1. How fun, great job with the photos!-Nick

  2. Thanks, Nick! I'm pretty excited that most of these took no editing and came predominantly straight out of the camera. So excited with these!