Saturday, April 24, 2010

Easter Break - Brugge and Kinderdijk

First stop: Brugge, Belgium. We can't decide what we enjoyed most:

The food...
...the architecture...

...the statues (especially climbing on statues, which became Andrew's favorite sport over the course of this trip. Don't worry, we didn't let him climb on Michelangelo's Madonna and Child)...

...or the company.

Next up, Kinderdijk, Netherlands, which has a great collection of windmills.

This was the view from our hotel room. A true photographer would have woken up at 6AM to capture the sunrise. This shot was taken at around 8AM.

We figured this would be a good setting to take some good family pictures. Unfortunately, the weather (windy and cold) and the kids (not willing to hold still, smile, or look at the camera) did not cooperate.

Anthony lingered to take pictures, while everyone else ran back to the car to get warm. This ended up being the best family picture we got: four people looking at the camera if you include Anthony's reflection.

Easter Break - Delft

After Kinderdijk, we stopped for lunch in Delft, which, besides being a cute town, is famous for its pottery. We weren't a fan of the pottery so none is pictured here, but here is the cute town.

Also more statue climbing, and a new event: door climbing.

Easter Break - Zandvoort

We stayed a few days in Zandvoort, just outside of Haarlem.

Hat and gloves, 4 layers of clothing: not exactly the ideal apparel for a beach holiday. Fortunately we had a nice pool where we stayed.

Easter Break - Aalsmeer

The Aalsmeer Flower Auction takes place in the third largest building in the world. Trainloads of flowers move through this place on a daily basis. It was a pretty amazing sight. Anthony has toured a lot of plants and factories for due diligence trips at work. This was by far the best smelling industrial complex he's ever seen.

Easter Break - Keukenhof

Although the first half of the trip was great, we questioned the wisdom in vacationing in mid April, especially in a place as windy as Holland. At the Keukenhof we remembered why we planned it for when we did, and had no regrets.

7 million flower bulbs in bloom. Simply amazing.

"Who can find the best smelling flower?" A game that could have kept us busy all day.

Looking up, it was easy to imagine where Van Gogh got his inspiration for his "Almond Blossom"

The Lilly pads were our favorite. Andrew liked doing something more dangerous than smelling flowers.

After watching our family attempt about 10 family portraits with the tripod and self-timer, onlookers must have been amused. After about 20, they just felt sorry for us and offered to make noises and push the button so our kids would look at the camera. Almost got everybody (except will) looking this time (center picture).

Aalsmeer and Keukenhof in the same day make for a lot of flowers (and a lot of photos) (if you are really interested in actually seeing these photos, you can click on them a couple times to make larger).

Easter Break - Edam

A relaxing day in the charming towns of Volendam and Edam, North of Amsterdam.

Easter Break - Amsterdam

Final stop on our tour: Amsterdam!

Easter Break - Home

About 2 miles before reaching the ferry to go back to England, we were in a car accident. We were hit from behind while braking to avoid hitting someone in front of us that decided to do a U-turn in the middle of the road (ironically, the same cause of our last accident that totalled our Subaru in 2002). No injuries, but our car (which we have owned for about one month) was smashed up, as you can see here.

The accident caused us to miss our ferry, and due to the volcano and flight ban across Europe, the other ferries were all booked for the next 5 days. To get back home we had to drive down to France and catch a midnight ferry there. Not a great ending to our trip, but at least we got to see more of the countryside on the way back.

Although technically not part of the trip since this was the day after we got back, this shows how exhausted the kids (and parents) were after the trip. That, or they had just become accustomed to sleeping on top of each other after 8 nights in hotels.