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.. ;)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Amsterdam highlights

First of all, I feel bad about not updating my blog for a looong time. The translation I'm doing at home now is the reason for that. It's due at the end of April. It's a book about 100 pages. I have to spend about 6.5 hrs a day to meet the deadline. Hopefully, I'll finish it in time and with good quality.

Now about our trip. Finally, I have some time to write about it and post some pictures. I'm not going to describe every detail of our trip but just talk about the highlights. Let me start from Amsterdam. A year ago I started a diary where I write about what we do when we go on trips. It will be helping me in refreshing my memory.

As I have already mentioned Amsterdam amazed us by incredible number of bikes everywhere! Another thing we noticed about Dutch people is that they do not care about curtains. We actually read about it in a magazine. The article said that they are proud of their tidy homes that they don't mind open curtains in the evening. Of course, I couldn't help peeping in people's windows :) In some I saw a family having dinner, a guy sitting on a couch watching TV, kids drawing in the kitchen etc. Very interesting!

We went to Van Gogh Museum. Unfortunately, neither I nor Chris understand his works. The museum was full of tourists who were anxious to bring home some souvenirs. I have a rule about it: if I don't like a place then I'm not interested in bringing any stuff home that will remind me of that place.

One of the best places we visited in Amsterdam was the Zoo. It's an old zoo which was founded at the beginning of the 19th century. It was amazing how close you could get to animals and even see some details of their fur and hear sounds they make. Most of all I was impressed by the lions. I have never seen lions so close without any fence in the way. It took us about 3 hrs to walk all around it. I even made friends with a cute penguin. He wanted to go with us and Chris was surprised that he did not came to Moscow in my purse :)
After the Zoo we went to a Planetarium and watched an animated movie about astronauts. It was really cool! We were semi-lying in our seats as the movie was shown on a huge dome ceiling.
Of course, you cannot go to Amsterdam and not experience their coffee-shop culture. So Chris did it and really enjoyed his time in Amsterdam. The coffee-shop he chose was very neat and the guy/bartender was cool. Fun times!
Another museum we visited was National museum famous for Rembrandt's works. In particular, The Night Watch. We spent about 3 hrs there admiring paintings of Dutch artists. I think that 3 hours is pretty much enough for that because everything after that seems pretty much the same and it's hard to really enjoy it.
One of the funny things of the trip was that Dutch people thought that Chris was Dutch and they always started their conversation with him in Dutch. :)
One of the days we went to a Botanical Garden which was a disappointment to us. It was very small and it was too early in the season to bloom.

There are so many Indonesians restaurants in Amsterdam! Of course, one night we had dinner in one of them. We read that the best thing to order was a "rice table" when they bring you a little of everything totally about 20 small dishes. It was a very interesting experience and great food! Especially the curry lobster they started with! Another favorite was lamb skewers, beef and lamb saute.
On the same night Chris got us tickets for a night Lovers' Candlelight Tour :) At first we could not find the boat and were about to give up. Thank God we did not! The tour was Great!!!! When we got on board we saw tables served for two, each had a bottle of red and white wine, cheese, fruit and nuts. It was very romantic. Once all the lovers were on board we started cruising and they played romantic music. We've never done a night cruise, always day, and I have to say that it was WAY better! Again, we could peep into people's huge and small windows. We passed many boat-houses where people were having dinners, playing with their kids, computers, watching TV. Again, without curtains! We had a guide who told us a little about different districts we passed and bridges.

The funniest part of the tour was stopping at the Red Light district, walking around and going to a pub to have shots of their local alcohol :) It was so funny! We were total tourists walking in a group around the Red Light district. What we learned about it was that all those girls are individual entrepreneurs and they pay taxes. They rent these apartments. I found out that people actually live in this district and it is one of the safest places because of many policemen working there. Some of the girls were very pretty. They stand in windows wearing only underwear. There were a few that looked like men. It turns out that there are gays there but they are dressed like women and they have a blue light next to the red. It was interesting to ask our guide questions and get some information instead of just walking around. Overall, I would highly recommend a night tour in Amsterdam!
I think that this is it about the first part of our trip!