Sometimes, our hearts call us far away from home in search of something. Last week, our hearts (hubby & I) found us in Amsterdam and the Netherlands on a whim. Well, not quite.
The summer before, we received an email about a hot sale for a trip to the Netherlands. We hadn't ever considered a trip there; however, it was during a time we both were feeling worn out from work and family obligations and just hoping for some time away. After some research regarding the "Northern Venice" and having seen Italian Venice a few years prior, we were sold!
Fast forward to this past week and our trip on a whim was actually here! And, oh, what a trip it was. How perfect the timing. We had so much fun staying on a canal boat in Amsterdam and wandering the city and surrounding countryside wondering what we would find next!
I would like to take this time to share a few of those wanderings with you!
The above picture is of Marken Island off the coast of the Netherlands and is accessible via ferry or car/bus. We actually caught the ferry to the island from the little shipping town known as Volendam (shown below) where we had a wonderful, little lunch of fresh fish stew and homemade bread. (Also, shown below) and wandered around. It was quite a windy day or we would have been delighted to have stayed longer.
On another day, we decided to take a tour of the city of Amsterdam, partly on foot, and partly via a romantic horse and buggy. We learned many interesting facts about this quirky, unique city including it was completely man made including all the canals. We also learned that 60 percent of people living in the area do not profess any religion. What a motivation to prayer!
If this wasn't motivation enough, we found ourselves in a restaurant with bar at the midpoint of our tour and, lo and behold, the bar was set up around the Stations of the Cross. We then discovered the restaurant was once, centuries earlier, a thriving church.
As if we didn't see enough, we also spent an afternoon in the tulip capitol of the world, Keukenhof Gardens. It was a pleasant sight and scent to overcome our winter blues. It was also a peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam as well as the hustle and bustle of our lives the past few years.
No recap of our stay would be sufficient without talking about our space, a lovely little canal houseboat right off the main canal of Amsterdam known as the Prinsengracht Canal! How delighted we were to realize we were staying on the busiest canal in the city and one, whereby, we could access anything quite easily and much by foot. When at this space, we spent a good bit of our time watching the boats go by, sipping wine or beer, and eating whatever my lovely hubby had created.
As I write this brief recap of some of the many highlights of our trip, I am reminded of oodles of responsibilities before me......Bills, laundry, business paperwork, home and business renovation decisions, family obligations, cleaning, laundry, meal prep, exercise, and on and on and on. I mention all of this to remind both myself and each of you how important respite is, at times, and how much of a blessing. Respite usually refreshes us and our perspective.
Although we may not do this often, usually once or twice a year, our wanderings usually leave us wondering about where our hearts have always belonged.... with our loved ones. While these trips are well anticipated, once complete, we find ourselves grateful for what we already have back home. We then anticipate what we left to wander and all the beauty therein.
Hope you enjoy these travel treats as much as we have! Bon Voyage.