Beyond Amsterdam...things to see in Holland.

netherlands travel Jun 29, 2019

During my various adventures to the Netherlands, I have ventured outside the cities of Amsterdam and Utrecht to explore. I was primarily driven by two motives. The first motive was to see the famous sights of the Netherlands...windmills, tulips, and delft... traveling to Kinderdijk, Keukenhof, and Delft. The second motive...you'll have to stay tuned for my next post.

I was able to travel from Utrecht to Kinderdijk via bus, all mapped on the NS app. Kinderdijk is a farming area in South Holland celebrating the Dutch history of recovering land from the sea for over 700 years.

 

 

Kinderdijk was a beautiful landscape, something I had seen in photos back home. I was actually surprised to find out that there are quite a few Dutch people who are not familiar with the location, or it's popularity as a tourist destination.

I enjoyed taking a walk along the canals and stopping in the museum mills to learn about their history...

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Utrecht, Netherlands

netherlands travel May 29, 2019

I've been lucky that over the past seven years with my current organization, I have been able to make multiple trips to the Netherlands. Growing up in Holland Michigan, where we celebrated everything Dutch, with Dutch heritage in all sides of my family, including a grandmother who was born in Friesland, I have always dreamed of visiting the Netherlands. Now that I've had so many opportunities, I am thankful when I get a look at a new and interesting part of the country.

Obviously, when you mention travel to the Netherlands, the first thing that comes to mind for most people is Amsterdam. For this post, I want to focus on the Netherlands outside of Amsterdam, starting with Utrecht, which is the city I visit most, but I will share some of my other favorite sites, and even Amsterdam, from my visits over the years in future posts.

 

Utrecht is the fourth largest city in the Netherlands, a university town about 40 minutes from Schipol airport by train, to Utrecht Centraal,...

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Landscapes of Ireland

ireland travel May 20, 2019

Arriving in Dublin, I was a little disappointed at the modern buildings and highways I saw. I know it's a little naive, but I expected to see rolling countryside...dirt roads with a little old man, in rubber boats and a snap front hat, carrying a walking stick, leading his sheep down the road.

 

Once we got off the main highways, we definitely started seeing the rolling hills I was expecting, with sheep grazing in the field and stone fences all around. This was the Ireland I dreamt of visiting!

 

 

My two favorite spots to visit in Ireland were on the West Coast - Cliffs of Moher and Burren National Park. Not only were these spots beautiful in their own rights, but the areas and landscapes between and around were breathtaking.

 

Cliffs of Moher

 

When we pulled up to the Cliffs from the city of Liscannor, you couldn't see the Cliffs, but you knew they were there based on the elevation we had climbed. After parking, and a short walk past the...

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Cities of Ireland

ireland travel May 14, 2019

As I think about our time in Ireland, there are two things that sum up my thoughts...lovely little cities, and stunning landscapes. For today, I'm going to focus on the cities because for me, this is one of the primary differences between Europe, and other continents, and the U.S. While we have some historic cities in the U.S., they are still much newer and more modern than those we encountered in Ireland. You won't find a castle or historic pub in Missouri, especially not one that has been around for over 200 years...but in Ireland, they seem to crop up quite regularly. And this is what we enjoyed here...well, not the pubs per se, but the historic towns and cities we encountered.

Dublin - Starting our journey to Ireland, with a flight from Edinburgh to Dublin on Aer Lingus, was a bit unfortunate. We thought this would be an easy journey but there was a bit of a delay leaving, and then lost luggage at the airport and a long line at the car rental. This left us tired and hungry,...

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Fight Like a Girl - 3 Lessons from Game of Thrones

As I was thinking about continuing on my Game of Thrones theme, I found the following meme and was inspired...

Episode 3 of Season 8 was fantastic, but if you haven't seen it, beware of this spoiler alert.

I have to say, this episode made me both very anxious and very proud. I'm not sure I quite put it all into perspective until it was summarized in the meme above...what I LOVE about this show is strong women. Sure, there is romance and handsome kings, and a lot of other themes 'for women', but what really hits home for me, is the women who know who they are, fight when they need to, and hold firm to what they believe. Here is my take, with some help from Game of Thrones, on how to Fight Like a Girl.

Brienne of Tarth

1 - Don't be afraid to go against traditional stereotypes. Both Arya (top left of meme) and Brienne (bottom left of meme) weren't comfortable with the roles they were assigned by birth. Both were born into higher class families with the expectations of becoming...

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Inverness, Glen Affric, Lochness, and More

scotland travel May 02, 2019

In the heart of Scotland, amongst the highlands, we found history and lore.  

Specifically, we first ventured to the Clava Cairns around Inverness which inspired the book and television series The Outlander, of which I am a big fan.  So I found the legendary 'Craig Na Duhn’ and leaned against the stones.  While I did not get transported to 17th century Scotland, I did feel the energy emanating from these sacred stones.  In fact, we joked for the rest of the trip that I may have absorbed too much energy since every electronic hotel key I touched became deactivated.

The cairns were lovely and it was interesting to explain their historical significance, and really how ancient they were, to the kids.  We found the area around the cairns to be a beautiful depiction of the Scotland environment and used the opportunity for photographs.

After leaving this area, we passed other beautiful scenery and the battlefield from the...

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Highlights from the Scotland Highlands

scotland travel Apr 25, 2019

One of the goals of our UK Vacation was to get into the countryside and beyond the cities.  In Scotland, we spent on day in Edinburgh and then ventured into the country side.  The most exciting and nerve wracking part of this adventure was for Chris to learn to drive on the right side of the road…made even more difficult by the narrow streets and rock walls lining the country road.  Believe me when I say this is not for the faint of heart…in fact, I wasn’t even brave enough to try it on the highway!

 

 

But after a couple of hours we ended up at Dunnottar Castle.  Wow!  An amazing feat of construction in the midst of cliffs and deep ravines. The castle itself was ruins and we enjoyed the view from a distance instead of spending money to tour the ruins, but the views of this castle were amazing.  After an hour or so around the castle, we headed into the small town of Stone Haven for lunch and a quick walk through town....

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Our Story - In Honor of National Infertility Awareness Week

hormones infertility women Apr 22, 2019

I've been told that it's National Infertility Awareness Week and felt that now was a good time to re-share my infertility story. I reviewed some posts from a previous blog I was writing at the time and decided that the best approach is to share some excerpts from those posts. I think they really speak to my thoughts and feelings at the time. This post is long and wordy - I know it won't appeal to everyone, but for anyone struggling with infertility like we did, I want to tell my story and give you hope.

The posts begin in June 2007, but this is not where the journey starts. Chris and I were married in August 1995. We purposefully waited several years to start building our family and began this process in earnest around January 2000. From January 2000 to June 2007 we had not only tried to conceive for a few years on our own, but had also tried fertility treatments, including an in vitro fertilization cycle that consisted of one retrieval and three transfers. None of these...

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5 Leadership Lessons from Arya Stark

Although she doesn’t go by the name of Queen, and really has not interest in it, there is still a lot to learn from Arya Stark’s journey through Westeros and beyond.

For those of you who don’t follow Game of Thrones, here’s a bit of background.  Arya is the youngest daughter in the Stark family, known for their leadership in the North, particularly from Winterfell.  Arya has one older sister, Sansa, who desires nothing more than to be married to a king.  She also has three brothers and one half brother.  Of her brothers, Robb, the eldest, has been King of the North, Jon, the step brother, has been leader of the Night’s Watch, and Bran, while crippled, has become the Three Eyed Raven, who can see all things.  Unfortunately for Rickon, the youngest brother, he has not played an important leadership role. 

While growing up, Arya was very different from her sister Sansa in that she never dreamed of being a Lady....

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Don't Call it Edinburgh

scotland travel Apr 17, 2019

During our wait at Heathrow, we did some trip planning for the Scotland leg of our journey.  Knowing we would not be able to get into our hotel until the afternoon, we planned a stop at Edinburgh Castle which was located directly between the airport and our hotel.  This turned out to be a wonderful stop!  

As we pulled into the city of Edinburgh, we could see the castle on the hill overlooking the bay.  We were stunned by the height of the cliff and the size of the castle…especially as we walked up the hill to the top!    At the top of the hill we found a street of shops, of course, catering to the tourists, but still a lot of fun to enjoy.  

 

Edinburgh Castle

 

Since we hadn’t had lunch yet, we stopped first at Amber Restaurant at the Scotch Whiskey Experience.  It was a wonderful lunch topped off by a flight of Scotch whiskey for Mom and Dad.  After lunch, we headed to the castle to...

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