Upon arriving to Schipol airport for the second time, I felt immediately at ease and ready to explore an entirely different culture. The Dutch are all ridiculously happy and laid back, everyone in a pleasant mood and healthy looking. We immediately found a pair of bikes to rent out and ride around, really the only way to get around as the Dutch love. Over the next few days we settled into our houseboat, visited a few museums including the Van Gogh and Anne Frank museums. Of course we went to the dutch brewery underneath the windmill on the east side of town, visited lots of cafes and restaurants and just wandered around. One night we had to go by the infamous red light district-certainly an interesting experience. I would love to go back and spend more time really diving into the culture here, truly beautiful and pleasant place to be with some amazing memories I won’t forget.
Last night I had a dream that I woke up in Istanbul for some reason…my travel bug is setting in again, so I thought I might put together a blog about Venice and all it’s tiny intricacies, mazes and spectacular views. Not to mention the personal connection we all now have with it. Fond memories!
This was the street where our charming AirBNB was located. Amazing place, felt like home.
What Gena was actually unaware of was that building across the water would serve as the perfect spot for his surprise proposal.
New Year’s Eve
Her wish had come true!
After resting off the NY eve shinanigans, we woke up super early the next day for some engagement portraits. They are really spectacular and worth every minute of our complete exhaustion if not just for the light and the views.
This image was taken by Aeran, but I have to end with it. After wandering around all night, hopping in and out of New Year’s Eve gatherings, we ended up back on our street just in time for the sun to rise. It was a magical moment that I won’t soon forget :)
This is so late, but I’ve been busy since I returned from my trip to Italy and The Netherlands! I tell stories with photos, so I will share some of my favorites with some stories attached. Back up to October: I get a call from my friend Bryan, thinking it’s just some regular prank of his. He said “Italy, Christmas and New Years. You in?” I couldn’t help but to say no at first, I was already planning an entirely different trip to India. But when he said “I have an incentive for you to come, but you can’t tell anyone.” I already knew! He had plans to propose; about time! So I scrapped my plans and bought a ticket the next week. We decided to hit Florence first, AirBNB housed us the entire way in great little flats all over the country. Then Venice for New Years (where he would pop the question) and back to Florence and the surrounding areas to relax before going back to the states. Aeran was going to stop in Amsterdam on his way back, so I thought since my layover was there as well I would just extend it for a little while and enjoy that city too before heading back to New York.
So, we get to Florence on Christmas day. Once we set our bags in the apartment, we took a stroll around to get a feel for the city and get a nice Christmas dinner somewhere.
Fountains in front of the Piazza della Signoria:
Firenze is amazing during the holidays, we couldn’t get over the lights:
We finally found a little hole in the wall to enjoy a nice dinner. Here is some carpaccio and fresh shaved parmesan
The Duomo (meaning cathedral) in the heart of the city, our view for a nice night. We found this little wine tasting bar where you could get 1-3 oz samples for around a euro, then if you like it you could get a glass for less than 10 euro. They had at least 36 different types, I loved them all!
View from the Ponte Vecchio:
And the Ponte Vecchio itself:
So Florence is known for its leather. There is a HUGE market just north of the center of town where you can go and haggle for pretty much any leather good you could think of, in any color. The building on the left houses the largest indoor food market I’ve ever seen full of fresh produce, endless oils and balsamic vinegars, CHEESES, candies, spices, fish, espresso bars and bustling people everywhere haggling for the best price. We went there several times to stock up the pantry.
One day we tried to go to the Boboli Gardens. This involved a very steep climb through some neighborhoods-however when we got there it was closed. So we walked on towards the Piazza Michelangelo for the most spectacular view of Florence that I found.
Hills leading up to the Piazza:
And then we saw this:
Due to our mistake the day before, we got up and made it to the gardens with plenty of time. We brought a picnic too to enjoy in the gardens. I spent most of the day here and would do it again, simply stunning!
I would love to visit Florence again and enjoy the food and more museums. We packed up the house and our stuff and hopped on a train to Venice! Part 2 coming soon.
Today I found myself in the midst of a soft snowfall in Central Park, at Strawberry Fields. Not realizing what today was, the crowds huddled around the memorial caught me by surprise. It was such a happy moment seeing at least a hundred people dancing and singing all the Beatles tunes together, so I stayed a little while with some friends and sang along before heading back on our night walk through the park.