Europe Trip Recap – The Netherlands

Now that we’ve covered how to Pack Light for Europe, it’s time to get to the good stuff! Our trip recaps!! I’m breaking these posts up by cities and will be spreading them over the next couple of weeks.

We started our trip in Amsterdam. We chose Amsterdam mostly because there are direct flights from Boston and it is close to the other places we wanted to go. On our red-eye to Amsterdam, we had a screaming baby on the flight. Not sleeping on the plane made us pretty tired the first day, but we were able to stay up until about 9pm which really helped us get ahead of the jetlag.

Strawberries at the Haarlem Market
There were tons of cute little alleys in Haarlem

We decided to stay in Haarlem because I had been doing research and it seemed like a cuter, more quaint town than Amsterdam itself. After landing at 8am, we took a bus straight to Haarlem and were able to check in to our hotel room. We actually laid down for about 30 minutes before getting up to head to the open-air market. We bought some fruit and bread to have a snack. We even ran in to someone who works at our company (big company, small world).

One of the canals in Haarlem
Canal in Haarlem

We both weren’t overly impressed with Amsterdam. Parts of it were really cute, but the main drag was just really crowded and felt very Western. We did go to the Van Gogh museum which was awesome. Tip – buy your tickets online for the Van Gogh museum. They cost the same price and you can skip the long line outside. We tried to go to the Anne Frank house twice. Both times the line was insane. It was hot and we just weren’t up for waiting, so we skipped it. As you can see, we had great weather the first two days of the trip. We just enjoyed walking around and doing a lot of people watching.

Canal in Haarlem
Block of restaurants near our hotel in Haarlem

We stayed in Haarlem for two nights. Just before bed the second night, I saw that Elina from Healthy and Sane posted a picture of herself in Dam Square. Turns out she was in Amsterdam that same day! We chatted a bit about trying to meet up, but we were catching an early train to Belguim the next morning, so it didn’t work out. To say the least, those first two days were a little crazy with running into people…

Windmill in Haarlem
Another view of the windmill in Haarlem

We absolutely loved Haarlem and highly recommend staying there if you’re visiting Amsterdam. It was a 15-20 minute train ride from Amsterdam and offered cute little outdoor restaurants, a windmill that you can go up in (the tour was really informative), and just a more quaint look at life in the Netherlands.

Train Station in Haarlem
Dutch Apple Pie from Winkel in Amsterdam – you better believe I’m going to try to recreate this in the fall!

One Year Ago: Summer Shrimp Salad
Two Years Ago: Pita Bread and Tzatziki Sauce
Three Years Ago: Chorizo, Shrimp, and Lentil Stew
Four Years Ago: Layered Cookie Cake and Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

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19 Responses to “Boston Marathon 2013”

  1. #
    Fiona — April 19, 2013 at 6:54 am

    Thank you so much for sharing Jen! I completely understand where you’re coming from and how you feel…do nice things for yourself

    • beantownbaker — April 19th, 2013 @ 8:50 am

      You do the same Fiona

  2. #
    Kristen — April 19, 2013 at 8:47 am

    Thank you so much for sharing. This is UNREAL. My husband Jeff ran the Boston Marathon this year, and I spent the day traveling around on the T watching the marathon with my in-laws. We ended the day just a block from the blast sites – I shared my story here:; Jeff’s story here:

    • beantownbaker — April 19th, 2013 @ 4:05 pm

      Thank you so much for sharing your and Jeff’s stories. What a day you guys had. I’m glad you’re safe.

    • beantownbaker — April 19th, 2013 @ 4:10 pm

      I added these links to the body of the post.

  3. #
    Shannon — April 19, 2013 at 10:38 am

    It definitely does help to put some words together. And I feel the same way- even though I was volunteering at the 10k, i can’t help but wonder why wasn’t i volunteering at the finish line so I could’ve helped?

    • beantownbaker — April 19th, 2013 @ 4:10 pm

      I agree – it was therapeutic to write this up.

  4. #
    Katie L — April 19, 2013 at 11:38 am

    Thanks for sharing Jen. I haven’t lived in Boston for 4 years now, but my husband and I had a similar reaction. We both wanted to get “home” to the city we love, a city that becomes part of your being no matter where you go next.

    • beantownbaker — April 19th, 2013 @ 4:11 pm

      I’m glad to hear I wasn’t the only one who felt that way. Living in Boston leaves such a strong impression…

  5. #
    Jen — April 19, 2013 at 11:49 am

    I’m a longtime reader, first time commenter. First I want to give you big virtual hugs regarding the events in Boston. Your feelings are no less valid, no less important. My heart goes out to you. Also, I want to say, welcome to Cincinnati! I live east of the city and am a transplant from Seattle. Cincy is growing on me, and slowly but surely I’m starting to tell people that I’m from Ohio not Washington. 🙂 Best wishes to you and thank you for sharing.

    • beantownbaker — April 19th, 2013 @ 4:14 pm

      Jen – thanks so much for commenting. I realize that at some point I’ll say I’m from Ohio, but the events of this week just my my heart tied even tighter to Boston…

  6. #
    Jene — April 19, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    I’m so glad all of your Boston people are safe. I can completely relate to your feelings of helplessness, I felt the same way after 9/11. It’s hard to be away from family and friends and a city that you love when tragedy strikes.

    Big hugs for you and your crew.

    • beantownbaker — April 19th, 2013 @ 4:14 pm

      Thanks Jene. I’m sure it’s very similar to how you felt around 9/11.

  7. #
    Ashley Bee (Quarter Life Crisis Cuisine) — April 19, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    I feel the same way–Boston was my home for four years of college. I love that city. I feel like it is MY city. I wish I was there, locked in with friends, watching the news and hugging them. I feel so helpless on the other side of the state, so far away.

    As soon as I’m able I’m going to the city and having a moment in the Common before heading to all my favorite places. My heart aches for the city, I wish I was there.

    • beantownbaker — April 19th, 2013 @ 4:15 pm

      I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who feels this way. We are trying to make plans to get back to the city sometime soon as well.

  8. #
    Kathy — April 20, 2013 at 9:13 am

    Oh I so know how you feel.. I live in Michigan. I’ve been here for almost 10 years, and I still call Boston home. It’ll always be home to me. You’re not alone!

    • beantownbaker — April 21st, 2013 @ 6:07 pm

      Glad to hear I’m not the only one. I definitely think Boston will always feel like home to both me and Hubby.

  9. #
    VTHokie — April 22, 2013 at 9:28 am

    I know exactly how you feel – I am a 2004 graduate of Virginia Tech. I was at work when the April 16th incident happened in Blacksburg, and I felt SO far away, and SO hopeless – the only place I wanted to be was in my beloved Blacksburg.

    To make matters worse, I flew to Missouri the next day (for work) for 3.5 weeks. It seemed that the people out there had ALREADY moved on from the tragedy – it just made NO sense to me. I cried most of those 3 weeks, and since I was out there by myself it was a struggle.

    I have always loved Boston, and I know that that community will love and support one another, just as Blacksburg did (and still does). It was the sixth anniversary this past Tuesday, and with everything happening in Boston, and the thoughts of VT and Blacksburg, it was an extremely long and tiring week.

    Stay strong.

    • beantownbaker — April 22nd, 2013 @ 11:46 am

      That sounds like a horrible situation for you in the aftermath of the VTech tragedy. Thanks for the kind words and for sharing your story.

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