We've had a wonderful, busy trip so far. First we stayed with Arnoud's parents and enjoyed the countryside around Arnoud's hometown. We took a bike ride through the quiet country roads and hiked through a nature preserve, the Kampina.
Then came Martine's bachelorette party on Saturday, May 17th. We had a tarot card reading, tasted Belgian beer, wore silly hats, and made even sillier photos. By the time we made it to the restaurant for dinner, Martine was half-naked (I've edited those photos out!) and everyone was half-drunk. Apparently we had a good time, and luckily we got everything on film as the details of the evening are a bit hazy.
For my birthday we went to Zaanse Schans, a cute little village north of Amsterdam, to see some of the old windmills from the 17th and 18th centuries. The Zaanstreek was an important industrial area of the time (the first industrial area in Europe) and produced all sorts of goods: paint, flour, oil, mustard, snuff, and milled wood. Some of the windmills are still working and we toured a paint mill, De Kat (The Cat). It looks very calm from the outside, with hardly any noise, but from the inside it's very loud and everything shakes and moves. The wings of the windmill turn all sorts of gears and mill stones and grinding and pounding devices. It's amazing how much energy those little sails generate!
We also visited a klompen museum to see the history of wooden clogs. Despite how it sounds, it was actually fascinating! We saw all different kinds of clogs from beautiful hand painted and carved bridal clogs to (my favorite) rollerskate clogs. Humphrey even found a clog to fit him.
Our friend Philipp came over from Vienna for a visit and arrived on Friday just in time for Happy Hour in the sunshine at a cafe in Amsterdam. Together with our family, we took over Eelco and Rianna's beautiful apartment for a Thai food take-out birthday dinner.
On Saturday our friend Tim took us out on his little boat to tour the canals of Amsterdam. It's a beautiful city and it's wonderful and unusual to view it from waterlevel.
We finished at Eelco and Rianna's where we enjoyed Mojitos in the park and once again were treated to a wonderful dinner. We finished the evening in Studio 80, a club in the center of Amsterdam, where we saw our friend Neal (from Error Krew) deejay and danced until dawn.
On Sunday nothing happened because we were too hungover.