Friday, February 25, 2011

A trip of a lifetime! Amsterdam, Maasluis and Paris

Frans and I were lucky enough to go on an extended trip of Europe from the 7th of December 2010 till the 17th of Jan 2011. We went to so many amazing places. We saw cathederals, museums and art galleries. Till they came out of our ears! We walked miles. And miles. And we sampled delicious local cuisine along the way.

So here is a snippet of some of the places we visited. We took over 7000 photos! There is no way to show them all. Arn't you lucky?? But here are just a few of my favourites. 

We arrived in Holland. Frans promised his Mum he would kiss the ground. After all, he was returning to his roots. So at Amsterdam railway station, he went down on all fours and did what he'd promised!

There is a delightful street market in Amsterdam. We stumbled accross it whilst on a tram. There are food stalls, hat stalls, glove stalls and tacky suvenier stalls.  I loved this Michelle Obama recycled bag. It was only one or two euro. I wish I'd bought it. But I didn't. I was thinking of our weight limits.

Our hotel was in the Museum district. We walked past the Rijks Museum quite a few times. We did go in on one of our 'museum' days. It was a beautiful place. We saw many famous paintings. Vermeer's "Girl with the pearl earring" was one of them.

I just loved this orange bike. It's SOOO Dutch. This one was chained onto the fence outside the Rijks Museum. 

Yum yum! Chocolate coated apples. They are soooo pretty!

Delft = Dutch in my mind. And this shop window says it all for me.  

There's a story to this hat... Frans has been lusting, yes LUSTING, after one of these 'loser' hats for ages! Finally he bought one. It wasn't cheap either. If you're going to make a statement with a 'loser hat', then you may as well do it properly. This number was lined with rabbit fur. Really toasty warm. And then..... he LOST it! The very next day! Duh!

 The same street market in Amsterdam had some really funky ladies clothes. This bubuska skirt was devine. So cute!

There were at least six or eight fabric stores along the street. You could buy the most beautiful knitted fabrics. Make your own coat!

 And then Amsterdam wouldn't be amsterdam without a little hoochie! No, we didn't buy any!

 This is the view from Aunty Frances' window. A cold snowy morning in Maasluis!

Bicycles everywhere.... even parked in the snow.

This is how Aunty Frances takes her Advocaat! By the spoonful! 

Very cold in Maasluis. Don't we look rediculous!

 Frans promised Sara he'd make her a snow angel!

Frans and Aunty Frances

The pretty town of Maasluis

 World of fashion and beautiful hand bags!

 An early morning walk thru the snow took us to the Notre Dame Cathederal. We attended Mass here. Hearing the pipe organ blast out a little bit of Back was an incredible experience!

Louis Vuitton. Ahhh...... Please Santa.....!!

The Louvre. Such an icon of Paris.

This view of the plaza taken from inside the museum

Seeing little children drawing what they see is just so inspirational. They learn about art at a very young age!

Gorgeous brocade curtains and tie backs!

If you can master the Metro in Paris, you can go anywhere! Up and down countless stairs and down windy tunnels....


A beautiful evening at the top of Mont Matre. The Sacre Coure in the background.

It may be winter, but the artists are still doing their thing. You can get your picture drawn for a hefty fee if you're game to stand in the cold!

Snails! In garlic butter. So divine!

Did I mention it was COLD in Paris? We bought some lovely French cheese (not cheap!) and kept it outside our hotel room window on the ledge. Best fridge ever!

The Sun King Louis the Fourteenth. At the gates to his 'summer house', the Palace of Versailles. No wander the French people rebelled and lopped off his decendents' heads!

I LOVE leopard print. But this is taking it a little far don't you think?

Who are they? Where do they come from? Figured it out in the end... They're Vatican guards. The elite squad. Hope their dresses don't slow them down! Cool boots tho'.

The Hall of Mirrors. Where the treaty of Versailles was signed after the first world war.

The gardens of Versailles. Truely beautiful. Even in the cold snowy weather.
Paris IS the Eifel Tower!

A night time shot. Nice.

Different view. Duh.

And then you get dissappointed by the romance of the tower when you see the crap lying around.... What a shame.

Frans purchased ANOTHER hat. This time he's going for the suave European gentleman look.

Another Louis Vuitton store.... You can tell I really want one! Anything!

The outside of the Louvre

All I could think of was 'The Da Vinci Code'

Macarons. Delish!

VENICE here we are!

The iconic Venetian masks are for sale everywhere. Some are quite lovely. I did not buy one. Where would I put it? It just doesn't go with my decor....

Venice floods. Every day! When the tide is up, you have to walk along tressel tables. What a right royal pain in the butt!

A gondola on the main canal. Pic taken from the Rialto Bridge

Our Christmas dinner! We bought some supplies on Christmas eve as we were told that everything would be closed on Christmas day. So we had some cold meats and bread on our bed! Not really the usual Christmas fare!

Did I mention that Venice floods? If you look carefully, you'll see a bride in her wedding dress hoiked up around her armpits! She's wearing gum boots! Wedding photos with a difference!

The street lamps in Venice are so lovely

If you have to wear gum boots, then you may as well make them a fashion statement!

What a gorgeous store! It is the ultimate deli / butcher !

I think this bloke was dreaming...

The inside of the store...

Keep tuned.... we'll go to Rome and Bussi next!