Plans for the Motherland
I am literally counting down the days (83) until I get on a plane with my best friend and spend a month in Europe. It is going to be such an amazing time for the both of us and I am so thrilled that we have this opportunity. I have been doing a lot of research in regards to weather, where to stay, what to visit, where to eat, etc. and I am realizing that I might as well just track it all on this blog! It’s a lot easier than writing it down in my planner that I happen to lose and leave at home when I need it to reference my notes. So I will be tracking my planning progress here and if anybody reading this has any advice or words of wisdom PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE comment and share. We appreciate all the help we can get!
The trip will be starting on May 7 where we will be boarding a plane in San Diego and flying into Amsterdam (after too many hour for me to think about.) Thankfully, my mom was born and raised in Holland where her family still lives. My aunt, uncle and cousin will be coming to pick us up at the Schipol Airport and taking us to their house in the city of Den Haag. I have stayed there many times so it has started to feel like home away from home.
We will be staying there for the weekend (Thursday-Sunday) which will be the least expensive portion of the trip because accommodations will be free as will some meals. I warned my friend to be ready for a lot of sandwiches for breakfast…like every morning. The last time I came home from visiting for two weeks I couldn’t look at another sandwich for months. During our time in Holland we are definitely going to spend a day or two in Amsterdam. Not only is the culture in Amsterdam so famously interesting and different from here in America (coffee shops and weed anyone?) but there are a lot of attractions in this city, being as it is the capital. We are hoping to visit the Heineken Brewery, the Anne Frank House (I’ve been but I told my friend that I wouldn’t mind going again if she wants to see it), the Van Gogh Museum, and we hope to take a boat ride on the canals at night.
Another place that I want to make sure to visit is the Scheveningen. Not only is it their beach area but there is a great pier that stretches out into the ocean with wonderful shops and places to grab a bite to eat. There is also a beautiful hotel and casino where we usually stop in for a coffee and a mall to do some shopping. This area always brings me back to when my mom and I would visit because we would always make sure to visit Scheveningen. This will be the first of many beaches that we will be seeing through out our trip and I am so excited to be able to compare them all not only to each other, but to the beaches that I am used to here in San Diego, California.
There are two places in Holland that I have never visited that I hope to see during our time there.
The first is the Keukenhof Gardens. I honestly don’t know how I’ve been to Holland 5+ times without seeing this beautiful sight. Holland is known for their flower fields but they are only open during specific times of the year so that might have played into the reason why we never went. Thankfully, they will be open and blooming while we are there so we MUST go! If you were to Google image “Keukenhof Gardens” it is an overwhelming display of color and beauty.
It is known as the most beautiful Spring garden in the world, as well as the largest at 79 acres! Getting a tour is really expensive and not practical for our budget (around $120 for some) but admissions to the garden is only about $20 so we will just have to do some wandering around on our own. The pictures themselves are stunning and I can only imagine how beautiful it all is in person.
The last place that we want to be sure to visit that I haven’t had the chance to see is De Zaanse Schans. This is an area of Holland that screams “traditional.” De Zaanse Schans is packed with windmills, traditional crafts and museums that really showcase the old school vibe that was Holland back in the day. If you think of cheese, wooden shoes, and windmills then this is the place that you are going to be able to experience that. I’ve never been too culturally involved in my Dutch roots but this will give me the chance to get a feel for my ancestors history and all that good stuff.
Other than these main highlights there will be plenty of other things that we will be doing. My cousin 16 now and so excited for us to come and I’m sure he’ll want to spend some of his free time showing us around his city now that he’s old enough to come along.
Holland weather in May:
Average high-63 F/ Average low-45 F From what I’m reading rain in Holland is always a possibility so we will need to plan for that without packing too heavily, since we are trying to pack as light as possible. My goal is to not have to check a bag on our international flights because I have a serious fear of airlines losing my baggage! It’s never happened to me but it happened to my mom once when we flew to Holland and its been a travel fear of mine ever since! Maybe a light coat and some boots and definitely one pair of jeans. I will have to do more research on this.
The Monday after our weekend in Holland it will be time to pack up our wooden shoes and bring out our French Berets because next stop: Paris!