Thursday, June 28, 2012

An Evening in Spaarnwoude






Two nights ago might have been the first real summer feeling day the whole year.  So I rode mt bike to Spaarnwoude which is a big recreation area not far from Haarlem.  I focused most of my time in the shaded green area towards the top.

On the way there I saw this interesting bridge:

The ride was good.  I got to see a lot of things that are pretty close to my house.  I thought I was in Spaarnwoude before (which I was) but I never realized how big it really was until that night.  The part I was in before was actually only a small piece.  It is kinda crazy because you actually go in and out of Spaarnwoude (at least the recreation part) a lot.  You will see signs welcoming you and saying goodbye every so often.  There was really a lot here, camping, fishing, horseback riding, biking, beaches, swimming, restaurants, and many other things.  This will definitely be worth checking out again the next time there happens to be a nice day.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Ride with the Train in NL


On Saturday I used on of the unlimited train ride tickets that I have and visited Leeuwarden, Zwolle, and Hoek van Holland.  It was a nice day and I got to see a lot of things.

The first stop was Leeuwarden which is the capital of Friesland.  I was was looking forward to going here since in Friesland they also speak in Fries instead of only in Dutch and I wanted to hear what that sounded like.  After getting there besides for a few signs on tourist locations, everything was in Dutch and everyone was speaking in Dutch, even the old people.  It was kinda unexpected, but o well, the city was still nice to see.  I bought a book there called Gehaaid (English version is "The Raw Shark Texts")  So far the book is pretty interesting and different.  I really like it and can't believe it was on the bargen table for only €2,50!  It definitely kept me busy during all the train riding I was doing.

Next was Zwolle.  This city is in the eastern part of the country.  Also a nice place to walk around.  here just as in Leeuwarden I walked around the center and took a bunch of pictures.  I also bought some stuff at this one store and was taken aback when the woman at the register answered me in English!  Wow, that hasn't happened for a long time.  I tried not to let it bother me too much, but it did get to me just a little.

And finally was Hoek van Holland.  This is a beach/port town that is close to Rotterdam.  The beach was quite small compared to Zandvoort but the port was huge!  There were cruise ships and a ton of industry.  The pier pictured above was really really long as you can see from the picture.  This is me at the end looking back and the beach to the left and port to the right.  It was incredibly windy there too, wow!

It was a good day overall and I got to see three more places in Holland.  I still have another ticket and I already have some places planned that I want to see.

As always, if you want to see the pictures from this trip, they can be found in my Holland album, newest pictures at the beginning:

Holland Sites

Sunday, June 10, 2012

First (warm) Day at the Beach in Holland


Today I woke up and the sun was out!  It was really nice out.  I was supposed to go and meet Megan's friend in Amsterdam today but she ended up not coming.  Too bad, today would have been a great day to show her around.  So, I sat in my back yard for a while, read some, and had some lunch.  I kept thinking that I should go to the gym, but just did not feel like it today, then I came up with a good compromise, why not ride to the beach!  So I did, at first I thought it was going to be a bit too cold, but it wasn't at all.  I walked around a bit, walked to the top of the dunes (have to go back and explore this further another time) and then just sat and read and slept for a few hours, was great!  On the way home before I left, I stopped and got an ice cream, salted almond camel...wow, really good.

Tomorrow, back to work...eh...

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Time in the US






I know, I know, it's been a while, but I had lots to do in America and then as soon as I came back I got kinda sick for a day, but now I'm all caught up and back to the blog!

This was such a great vacation.  The thing that made it so good was the fact that I had so many different things to do this time.  I actually did not miss Holland (as much) this time!  The first week I took vacation and stayed with the rents.  The first full day of being home was Mother's Day, so of course as usual the whole fam did race for the cure.  It was good as usual, but even better for me because I was so proud of my dad!  He lost a bunch of weight (and is still loosing by the way) and had so much energy that he was ahead of us almost the whole time!  Keep up the good work dad, you look great!  Later that day I saw Meem and Uncle David, Aunt Chris, and Nate.  Tuesday I took mom's car and went to Squirrel Hill and Oakland for the day.  What a great day!  Most of the time I just wandered around to some of the places I used to go to all the time.  I stopped by my old apartment, had coffee at some great coffee shops, stopped into Faculty Records and saw Carol and Maria, and had lunch with Nicole.  Just seeing everything as it was (and even some new things) really made me feel like I was at home and it was a great feeling!  That night I had dinner with pap and even got to see Dave and Erin (and finally meet Cooper).

Wednesday mom and dad took the day off and we took bikes and went riding for a while along the trail that goes between Pittsburgh and Washington D.C.  For the very small part of the trail that I got to see, I liked it, and would love to bike the whole thing one day.  Thursday was great because I got to go to Kennywood!!  I met Dan and Sara there and later we met up with Jim.  It was great to be there.  There are a few things that we noticed that are slipping now that the place is under new management, but nothing too bad and hopefully it stays that way.  Friday mom and dad were off again and surprised me by going to Fallingwater!  The place was amazing and was everything that I expected it to be and more.  What a cool place that must have been to stay at.  Saturday we had a small bachelor party for Mike since I will not be able to be there for the bigger one later in the year.  We had a cook-out and went out for the night in the Southside.  It was a good night.  That night, I also stayed at Mike's new house in Moon Township.  It's a big place!  I'm glad that him and Lyndsey like it so much.

Sunday I headed Downtown for a week of work.  The week was pretty good.  I got to see a lot of my old colleagues and eat some good food.  We also got a lot of things taken care of too that can be difficult to do when you are not Downtown with everyone at the same time.  It was also great to see Kavin! :-)

Friday I flew down to Florida to see Shawn and Kara.  The first whole day of being there they had to work so I asked Sara P. to come hang out.  She was able to come and it was so good to see here!  I think it's been 3 years!  The picture to the left is from Siesta Key (apparently "America's best beach")  It was pretty nice.  Most of the time being in Florida I got to drink good micro brews (which is not so common here in Europe) and just hang out which was a great way to end an awesome trip.  Thanks Shawn and Kara for having me.

Finally I have to tell you about the funny old couple that I sat next to on the plane.  They were so nice and we talked almost the whole time.  They were Americans but also of Italian decent so I got all kind of stories after they found out I was as well.  I almost felt like they were my own grandparents.  I was helping them use the personal video system, keeping them company, and really just enjoying talking to them.  The poor old guy was having so much trouble getting out of the seats since the row in front of us was reclined.  He litterally had to walk over the seats just to get in and out, it was pretty funny.  Then the kept bringing me candy, cookies, and crackers from the galley!  haha :-)

So overall a great trip with beautiful weather almost the entire time!