Welcome to my blog!

I was thinking about starting a blog for quite a while but could not decide what to write about. My husband and I travel quite often because of his job. We always loved it even before we met. We actually met because my husband decided to take a job overseas and came to a place where I was, about 7 thousand miles away from him. His decision changed our lives for the very best!

I also like to cook but I don't think that I need a blog to document every meal I make. Only occasionally, maybe. We also decided to eat healthier so the blog will help me to keep track of our meals and weight.
That's how I eventually signed up for a blog and named it Veronika's Travel and Living.

Hopefully, I'll like blogging. We'll see.. ;)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Our extended stay in London

I did not update my blog for more than a week mainly because I forgot to bring my camera cord to put new pictures in my blog. Oh, well. I'll put pictures when I'm back home. Speaking of which, we were supposed to fly back tomorrow (Thursday) but it turned out that a visa agency never received Chris' passport that he sent from Amsterdam to the states. Chris gets vacation combined with his visa renewal trip once every three month. It's pretty awesome. His Russian visa is valid only for 90 days after which he has to leave the country (Russia) to get a new visa. We always try to go to the states to see the family etc. This time we felt that such a long trip (12 hour flight) is too much and we decided to go closer to Europe.
Anyway, he cannot go back without a new visa which means that we are "stuck" in London at least for another week.

We are staying in a very nice area called Holland Park.

We like to pretend as if we live here :) So we go to our neighborhood cafes, stores and restaurants. A few nights ago we had an excellent dinner at a local Indian restaurant. We both ordered Chicken Tikka Masala which was outstanding. The local Thai place is also pretty good. So the neighborhood has lots of options if we don't feel like taking a tube and going somewhere else.

The weather is being very nice here with occasional rains that do not bother us much. London being a big city is a great city to be in. It has lots of parks which are easy to get to.
As I said before it's our second trip to London and we have done almost all of touristy things during our first visit. So we are just walking around, going to parks, pubs, movies etc. I'm very excited about tomorrow as Chris bought me/us tickets for the Dirty Dancing musical!!!!! It's my old favorite movie and I cannot believe that tomorrow I will see it alive :)) Yeah!!!
So far we have been to Hyde park, Kensington park, National History Museum, Victoria and Albert museum and National Gallery. Unfortunately, Kensington Palace was closed for installation of some new exhibition and was supposed to open the next day after we leave. Now when we are staying longer it would be great to go and see it. Another thing we want to do is to go to a zoo.
I also did some shopping and bought a very nice purse which was a gift from Chris to me for Women's day. I really love it.

As far as my pregnancy I think it's going well. Most of the time I'm not excited about food. Tomatoes and cucumbers are still my favorite :) Latest passion is oranges and apple juice. Hopefully, everything goes well and we'll have good news when I go to a doctor back in Russia. By the way, a crazy thing happened a few days ago. My brother and my MIL told me that they had a dream about us having a boy! Imagine on the same day! It's pretty crazy. They do not even know yet that I'm pregnant. The only people who know is us and my parents as they are doctors. My Dad is in fact a gynecologist that's why I told him before our trip.
Anyway, we are still in London and love it here!

Friday, March 12, 2010

We are in Amsterdam and have some news

First of all, the big news is that today I'm 6 weeks pregnant!!! We found it out on February 28. I had my blood tested twice before leaving on this trip. Both times, HCG levels were good and kept growing. Hopefully, everything goes well on this trip and I'll go for my first u/s when we come back. Fingers crossed!

Now about Amsterdam. It took us 3.5 hrs to get here from Moscow by a plane. The flight was very early so we slept only for about 4 hours. The flight was very comfortable. It was the first time we flew KLM Dutch airline. We got to Amsterdam very early and the first thing we noticed was LOTS of bikes everywhere!! You won't believe how many people ride bikes here!
We are staying in the center of the city. Our room has a very nice view of a canal. The hotel is called Banks Mansion. It used to be a bank and in 2004 it was reconstructed and became a hotel. The rooms are not big but very comfortable. They provide complimentary drinks in the room and in the lobby unlike other hotels around.
We were able to check in around 11 a.m. Before that we went for a walk and stopped at a local bakery for a cup of tea and freshly baked meat pies. Then we went back to the hotel and took a loooong nap to recover from our sleepless night.

In the evening we decided to head out and get something simple to eat. Surprisingly enough we went to a burger place :) Not healthy, we know. Well, lately my food choices are very limited. I cannot think or hear about food. But if I want something to eat it will be very specific like today. I wanted french fries, Chris wanted a burger. Anyway, we came across a very cool burger place - Burger Bar. The burgers were outstanding and french fries were the best. By the way, last year we've been to Bruges, Belgium, and learned that they eat their fries with mayo! And they also claim that they invented fries and that they should be called Belgium not French :)
At Burger Bar they also served fries with mayo. So after our unhealthy dinner we went for a 30 min. walk. Again, people on bikes are everywhere! At the same time, it's kind of quiet for a big city. It was nice to walk along canals and bridges. There are Coffee Shops everywhere! "Coffee Shop" stands for a place where you can smoke weed. We could actually smell it walking around and passing by such places.
We stopped at a mini market to get some fruit, cheese and crackers for our room. We are quite experienced travelers and we like to be independent i.e. have some food for breakfast in our room even if/when they serve breakfast in a hotel.
We came back from our walk and sat by a fire-place in the lobby. As I said they serve complimentary drinks: champagne, wine, beer, strong drinks and they also serve quite a good selection of cheeses and sausages. This hotel is really good!
Anyway, it's our 1st day here. So far we like Amsterdam. We plan on visiting a couple museums and just relax. We'll be here 6 days and then head out to London.