Scenes from Europe – Part Ten – Amsterdam – architecture, street scenes, markets & more

Amsterdam is the one of the most unique and diverse cities we’ve ever visited. The architecture, houseboats, canals, flower markets, bicycles – unlike any place Spence or I have ever traveled.  We are completely enamored of this special place and I’ve already started looking at a possible return trip in 2016 – fingers crossed. If you’ve never been, I implore you – visit Amsterdam!

Scenes from Europe – Part Nine – Amsterdam – Houseboats & Canal Cruising

On our European adventure, we started and ended in Amsterdam. For the first three days, we rented a houseboat, a unique and fun experience. I don’t think I’ve slept better in my life than being “rocked” gently to sleep.  The canals are such an integral part of Amsterdam, as are bicycles and houseboats.  The architecture was stunning and is unlike anywhere else in the world.  Every moment spent in this lovely city was memorable.

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Our houseboat with Spence (by the green door). Once you entered, our apartment was to the left, another to the right.
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Our little kitchenette and door to the bathroom.
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Our window and seating area. Ducks were frequent visitors, swimming by and climbing up to sun themselves on the side rails.
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Our comfy bed and armoire. Not fancy but fabulous and exactly what we needed.

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Scenes from Europe – Part Five – Lerici

Arriving in Italy, we had no destination in mind. It was a Sunday evening around 6:00 p.m. and we needed a hotel when we came upon the charming coastal town of Lerici. Lerici is a town and commune in the province of La Spezia in Liguria, part of the Italian Riviera. After stopping at a small trattoria, Spence engaged the owner to ask for a recommendation. The gentleman was so kind and called the Hotel Doria arranging a room for us. Now to find it….we drove up the narrow streets, climbing ever higher. At last we found it and what a spectacular view, overlooking the harbor. There was a concert in town which we enjoyed from our balcony. Sunday nights the restaurant is closed but the man who checked us in brought us a lovely tray of meat, cheese and bread with a bottle of Chianti. It was a balmy night, so memorable.  Here are my best of the best photos:

Scenes from Europe – Part Three – The Champagne Tour

During our European trip, we stopped for a tour at Mercier Champagne Cellars.  It was fascinating. Here’s a few facts:

Mercier is a Champagne producer based in the Épernay region of Champagne. The house, founded in 1858, produces both vintage and non-vintage cuvée. Mercier owned the original rights to the name Dom Pérignon but gave the brand to Moët et Chandon in 1927. Today the house is under the umbrella of the LVMH group and is the number one selling brand of Champagne in the domestic French market. (source Wikipedia)

Inside the dome at Mercier Champagne Cellars
Inside the dome at Mercier Champagne Cellars

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A model of the 1889 Champagne cask pulled by 24 oxen to the World’s Fair in Paris France.

The actual cask from that 1889 World's Fair
The actual cask from that 1889 World’s Fair

After riding down in an elevator to the subterranean champagne cellars, you take the tour on a little red train, passing hallways filled with champagne.
After riding down in an elevator to the subterranean champagne cellars, you take the tour on a little red train, passing hallways filled with champagne.

Chalk carvings inside the champagne caves also help regulate temperature and humidity
Chalk carvings inside the champagne caves also help regulate temperature and humidity

Champange as far as the eye could see
Champagne as far as the eye could see!

Scenes from Europe – Part One – Switzerland & a French Farmer’s Market

A few years back, I was lucky enough to take the most amazing trip to Europe with Spence. It was one of those “bucket list” trips for me. Not Spence’s first trip there, he was in charge of making decisions about how I should experience it  – and he did not disappoint. It truly was the trip of a lifetime and I long to return there, frequently (and wistfully) scrolling through some of the 2000+ pictures I took.  It occurred to me that I’ve only featured a few of them in the blog to date.  Here are some of my favorites……encompassing scenes from Switzerland and a French Farmer’s Market.

I hope you enjoy them – stay tuned for more favorite photos from this trip in future posts….