wander project the Canals of Amsterdam!

The canals of Amsterdam. There are four cities in the world that have massive canal systems, that I have been to! Bangkok is the oldest. Then Venice and then Amsterdam. The King of Denmark saw the canals of Holland and worked hard to make them in Denmark as well Copenhagen is the fourth city with a huge canal system. The canals of Bangkok are very different, and they are called Klongs. But the chances of Amsterdam were ones that my wife truly wanted to see more than anything. It is a long story, but my wife’s family was partially from Amsterdam. Outside the city, but Amsterdam. Holland was her mother’s birthplace. I won go further as that is her story to tell not mine.

So the tulips, the canals, and the people were her people. Our first trip out that day was on the canals riding the canal tour.  Over the next three days was to see as much as we could see. We thought we would ride the Canal boat, then wander to the Anne Frank house. That was not going to happen. When we arrived at the Anne Frank house that day, the line was already heading down the street from the house. We punted instead and wandered to the Red Light District. To say we had been there. The twins wanted pictures with themselves on the edge of the Red light district to show their friends. See, they would be able to say, and we went into the district!

The major discovery at the edge of the Red-light district was two-fold. The only people that wanted to go into the Hogs Head Inn (in the Red Light District) was my wife and my daughter. My wife reported that the place was full of Marijuana Smoke (it is legal there) I waited with the twins outside, they had discovered a Dutch taste treat, the French fry smothered in cheese (sold right outside a place that sold marijuana, imagine that). The twins ate the entire thing of fries happily. We then wandered around the city on foot for a while. Our goal was to eat dinner that evening at my favorite restaurant (I’ve been to Holland 4 times, and that restaurant four times!) The Grasshopper! The dinner was amazing as always.


wander project Amsterdam!

My wife’s family is from Amsterdam. It was, along with Europe in general one of our very first dreams as a couple. By the time we were in Amsterdam, which was nine days into our vacation, the routine was established. We left Copenhagen early in the morning, landing in Copenhagen and checking into the hotel. We were literally within walking distance of a Soccer Stadium, close drive to the airport and of course, a short walk to the subway. We unpacked quickly and headed off to see the sights. The goal for the first day was to go to the Anne Frank museum and to take the water tour of Amsterdam. The initial pictures today are of the hotel grounds.

We were heading into Amsterdam, to have a light lunch and then hop on the Canal tour. My wife, who by the time we reached Amsterdam, was now asking “when are we moving here” every two minutes. We arrived from the hotel to Grand Central, the hub of Amsterdam. The hub, the grand canal, the subway and most of the roads all come to a nexus at Grand Central Station. The first thing we noticed upon arriving was the number of bikes. Amsterdam has the cleanest subway of any city, other than Copenhagen. I am reminded of that every time I get on the metro. The cars on the Metro are older, or perhaps the same age, but they feel older.

Amsterdam has, because of the canals and the water, a raised subway. Copenhagen has a mix of raised and underground subways. DC and its metro are similar to Copenhagen. Some of the track is above ground, and some are below ground. We walked the very short distance to the boat tour ticket stand. There was a gift shop, so we stopped in the gift shop first. We added hats to our collection (ok I added a hat to my collection). The next canal tour wasn’t going to be arriving for more than an hour. We decided to have lunch before hopping on the tour boat. So we bought our tickets and then walked out of the gift shop. My wife asked “when are we moving here?”


wander project Copenhagen…

As I cruise along post-cruise, I just realized that today is the 4th post and 4th day spent in Copenhagen. We were only in Copenhagen for two days.  Oh well. Today is some of the pictures from the Botanical Garden.  My ribs, now four days in were still aching, sitting down, was painful. It also limited my use of the camera. I ruined a lens for my DSLR. The Camera still worked, video worked, but you couldn’t focus up close for pictures.  I did, however, have a few pictures to share. We arrived at the Botanical Gardens before the Greenhouse was open. We were able to wander the beautiful garden. It, the garden was originally built by a member of the Danish aristocracy.

It was left/given to the City of Copenhagen at some point in the past 100 years. The Greenhouse sits next to a small university. The University sits on the backside of the Greenhouse, and the students operate the Greenhouse. They also have several really fun areas outside where they are growing several more native plants. The other thing was a series of outdoor gardens with different areas. There was a beautiful lake that was just down the hill from the Greenhouse. The flowers shared today are from outside on the way to the Greenhouse. They had many different flower gardens that you could view — the flowers doctored buildings as well, which was fun.

When we walked into the Greenhouse, there was a very fast temperature change. It was probably 65 degrees outside. Very comfortable for walking around. It was around 87 or so with nearly 100% humidity inside the Greenhouse.  The rapid temperature change was a little disconcerting. I remember the change because I took about four steps, and my glasses fogged over. I couldn’t see, had to take the glasses off, and dry them on my shirt. It is funny sometimes what you remember. This ends the 4th post on the 4th day of our two days in Copenhagen. The next thing for us was heading to the airport in Copenhagen to fly to Amsterdam. It was only an hour flight!


wander project Copenhagen…

At the end of our first day in Copenhagen,  we returned to the hotel. We had decided to try the sky bar that was actually between the two towers of the hotel. The bar was pretty empty, and we found out they didn’t serve food. We enjoyed sitting on top of the hotel and had a beer and some appetizers. We were for the moment on top of the world.

Everyone was tired, it has been a long day, so we decided to enjoy dinner in the room and relax. We had one more ½ day to wander in Copenhagen and then we were off to Amsterdam. My lesson learned from flying low-cost airlines is you forget what status means. I was used to boarding the plane with the very first group, and I was used to not having to pay for luggage fees. Before this trip, I don’t remember the last time I paid to have my luggage on the plane with me!

In the morning, we had a quick breakfast and then headed out to see the sights. We took the subway into downtown Copenhagen and walked by the jazz festival. We were also able to have lunch at the Hard Rock café in Copenhagen. I have the hat to prove it. We also went into the coolest Lego store, honestly, that I have ever been it in.

Finally, we walked through the botanical gardens of Copenhagen, which was truly an amazing stop. The greenhouse with the amazing flowers was beyond words!

(most of the pictures are from our end of day bus ride around Copenhagen)!


wander project chasing the Little Mermaid…

I first went to Copenhagen with my parents in 1972. Open-faced sandwiches and a trip to a toy store Christmas display was the first couple of days we were there. But the 3rd day we went to see the Lady in the Harbor, the little Mermaid. Standing shoulder to shoulder with my father (ok of the two, I was the shorter one) he with his Pentax Single Lens Reflex camera and me with my Kodak Instamatic 110 took almost the same picture of the lady in the harbor.

It is a moment I have treasured and remembered since that day. In 2016 when we went out and about I wanted to recreate those pictures, the memories and to show my children what had captured my imagination. We walked from lunch to the little Mermaid, about 4 miles. The walk was more to show my family the magic that is Copenhagen.

We also got to walk through the Royal Palace. There is nothing like the opportunity for a good joke so I told the kids, if the Royal Family recognized me I would have to give up my life and become a Royal. We were able to sneak through the compound and no one recognized me.

Then it was the last few steps past the park to the Little Mermaid. A statue placed in the harbor of Copenhagen to celebrate the magical story by Hans Christian Andersen. No relation to me personally, first because he was a bachelor that never married. But also because my family name is Andreessen not Andersen.


wander project Copenhagen

The way I booked the trip, it was land in Copenhagen, rush to the boat and take the cruise for seven days. Return to Copenhagen for two days, and then off to Amsterdam for three days.  We arrived back in Copenhagen and took a cab from the dock to the airport area. Right across from the airport. The hotel was cool, and the first couple of pictures are from inside our room. We unpacked, and then headed off to see Copenhagen. I had a mission. I was going to recreate a picture from 1972, But that comes later in the day. The initial problem was me being able to walk. We ended up buying pain killers in the hotel store so that I could move around.

Then we walked to the subway. Copenhagen has one of the best city, subways. Clean and easy to get around the city. We were heading into the city itself, and our initial map argument was about which way to go from the station. My ribs honestly hurt so much at that point, that I smiled and let the argument rage on. I didn’t have the energy to walk and to argue. SO I walked. From the subway stop to where we were going for lunch (we landed about 8 am and were off the ship by 9. We were at the hotel by 10, and on the subway by 1130). My daughter had gone to the front desk to ask what was the best place to go for lunch that was near the harbor.

She was told of a collection of food trucks that didn’t move, in an old shipping warehouse near the harbor. A perfect fit for the project that we will talk about tomorrow. Now, from the subway station to the old warehouse was a bit confusing, but we managed to make it to the most amazing lunch place ever. There were 30 different food trucks in the building. We finally, after much discussion, decided on Korean food as our lunch. No matter how much we discussed, we could not come to an agreement on the desert. The kids wanted to go to the cheese place. My wife and I wanted to get Danish pancakes. So we spilled up for desert and met back up outside to enjoy the desert.


wander project Rostock Zoo

The pictures today are in the Rostock Zoo. The mosaic pictures are by the Mosaic artist that lives in my house. My wife makes amazing Mosaics, and she loves to find them in the wild. I split the Rostock zoo into two parts. Before and after. This picture is from the before part. Like Legoland, we got on a bus and headed to the zoo once we were docked in Rostock.   The first part was waiting for the zoo to open, we got there a full ½ hour before it was open. Once we were in, we walked the out loop path of the zoo and got to see some animals. The zoo didn’t have concrete paths; most of the paths were mulch and quite easy to traverse. The map arguments began after the first turn.

We came to the first map, and the animals that were to be seen was agreed upon. Then the argument about the most expedient route to the animals began. So, after five days of that argument, I just started walking. Everyone ended up following me, and I got the party to the desired animals viewing options. Some of the animals were very hard to see (the lions and tigers) as it was early morning and they were still napping. The weather was a crisp 70 degrees, and we were able to walk around the zoo without any problems. We had some hours to enjoy the zoo. We decided that we would eat lunch and would end our day at the Darwin Exhibit. Well, not end the day, we had things yet to see.

Around lunchtime, we entered the Darwin exhibit. The Galapagos Turtles was an amazing display.  It was sadly the end of before after began when we entered the Darwin exhibit. The story of evolution. It was dark, and I was walking around the corner to see one of the exhibits.  I didn’t see the sloping section of the display case. I fell, landing on the lens of my camera, and driving the body of my camera into my chest. I ended up cracking three ribs. It took me an hour to be able to move again. The after impact was huge. My ribs didn’t heal. Now two mistakes were made by me. The first was not having the ribs checked out at the time. The second was grinning and bearing it.