Arlo—Twenty Three Months

Posted September 3rd, 2017 in Arlo by Janelle

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Looking back:

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Arlo—Twenty Two Months

Posted August 3rd, 2017 in Arlo by Janelle

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Looking back:

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Arlo—Twenty One Months

Posted July 3rd, 2017 in Arlo, Traditions by Janelle

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Looking back:

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Arlo—Twenty Months

Posted June 3rd, 2017 in Arlo by Janelle

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Looking back:

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Anniversary Trip — Iceland

Posted May 14th, 2017 in Events, Family, Janelle, Josh, Trips by Janelle

The last leg of our trip was to Iceland. This wasn’t originally part of our travel plan, but when I booked award travel on Icelandair, I decided to extend our trip just a bit to do a stopover.

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This was the VRBO that we rented for the 4 nights we stayed in Iceland. If I could do it all over I would have not had Reykjavik as our home base, but rather traveled to other places to stay. Going back to the city made for a lot of driving which prevented us from getting to a couple places I wanted to.

The first evening we found some dinner, found our VRBO, and found a grocery store. Right away we had complete sticker shock of the cost of food in Iceland. We paid $10 for a dozen eggs, a small box of Cheerios was over $10, just 1 orange was $5, and a $5 footlong at Subway was $13. All food was at least twice if not 3X more expensive than here.

Our first full day we toured the Golden Circle. First stop was Þingvellir National Park.

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The park sits in a rift valley caused by the separation of 2 tectonic plates, and the oldest existing parliament in the world first assembled there in 930 AD. Þingvellir has for this reason been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Next stop was Efstidalur. It’s a farm with a hotel and restaurant. We stopped for ice cream and it was literally the best thing I ate on that island.

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It was pretty fun to sit and eat your homemade ice cream and look out the window right at the cow that produced the milk.

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On to our Brúarfoss adventure. This waterfall is not very public and you kind of have to hike a little ways to find it. We found it and the blue water was so amazing.

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Strokkur Geysir is the geysir for which all other geysirs are named after. It’s the original.

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The sheer size of Gullfoss is what is most impressive.

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Last stop of the day was at Secret Lagoon/Gamla Laugin.

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The next day was more driving to Snaefellsnes Peninsula. Some highlights included:

Gerðuberg Cliffs — The cliff is made of basalt columns that form geometric patterns.
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Gatklettur, Arnarstapi
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Hellnar
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Hvalfjarðargöng — A road tunnel under the Hvalfjörður fjord in Iceland and a part of Route 1. It is 6 kilometers long and reaches a depth of 541 feet below sea level
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On our last full day, instead of driving out to South Iceland, we stayed in Reykjavik. First we walked past the sculpture Sólfarið – Sun Voyager.

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Then to Harpa, concert hall, which was a beautiful modern and geometric building.

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And we wandered up to Hallgrimskirkja, a church, and one of the city’s best-known landmarks.

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It was Good Friday, so we weren’t allowed inside, but we came back Saturday morning before leaving town to head inside for a peek.

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On Saturday, our last day, we headed out of town. We took the long way to the airport and stopped at Krýsuvík Geothermal Area.

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After 10 days of celebrating 10 years, we were totally ready to get back to the boys (and girls) at home. We had a great time in Europe but really missed the family we created over the last 10+. Looking forward to the next 10!

Anniversary Trip – Amsterdam

Posted May 7th, 2017 in Trips by Janelle

After visiting Rotterdam, we headed back north to Amsterdam. Amsterdam is like the Venice of the North and a UNESCO world heritage site. The historic canal district of Amsterdam was a project for a new ‘port city’ built at the end of the 16th and beginning of the 17th centuries. It comprises a network of canals to the west and south of the historic old town and the medieval port that encircled the old town and was accompanied by the repositioning inland of the city’s fortified boundaries, the Singelgracht.

Our Airbnb here was on the Amstel River, Waterlooplein.

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The first afternoon, we grabbed some dinner, and headed down to the museum district to see the I amsterdam sign. Loads of people climbing all over the letters (I don’t know why everyone does that), so you can barely see the sign, but the architecture of the Rijksmuseum in the background was stunning.

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Day 2 is really the entire reason for the timing of the trip…TULIPS. Gobs and gobs of glorious tulips. It was Sunday, and the nicest, most sunny 70° day, so you know what that means? Flower traffic. We took the train to the airport and caught a bus from there, but the 30 minute bus ride to Keukenhof Gardens ended up taking 90 minutes.

Keukenhof Garden is one of the world’s largest flower gardens. The 80 acre park is open for 2 months and approximately 7 million flower bulbs are planted annually.

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Any bit of poor attitude I may or may not have had from the extremely long, hot bus ride, and the sheer amount of people at this place was completely zapped by all the bright and happy flowers.

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After our time in the park, we rented bicycles again and took a 6 mile ride out through the fields. Riding bike in the Dutch countryside is literally the best time I think I have ever had on vacation.

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Our last full day in Amsterdam we visited the Van Gogh museum, which was really lovely and interesting. For dinner we slpurged on the Rijsttafel. It was so delicious. It’s kind of like a little Indonesian buffet. There are small portions of many different dishes that you eat in a particular order from mild to spicy. The sixth and final dish was so spicy, we just tasted it and that left our mouths pretty hot for quite awhile! Then, after dark we strolled through the famous Red Light District (which was nothing to write home about), and took some night pictures along the Amstel River.

Rembrandtplein from Walter Süskindbrug:
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Waterlooplein from the west side of the Amstel:
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Anniversary Trip – Rotterdam

Posted May 5th, 2017 in Trips by Janelle

We made it to 10! Well almost. We are a couple months shy but I really wanted to see the tulips in spring. So April it was!

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Our accommodations in Rotterdam were actually a tourist attraction in themselves. The Cube Houses. From this plaza area, it was exactly 70 steps up to the main level of our cube. In the column that supports the Cube were 2 sets of tight spiral stairs. The first level had a kitchen, living room, and water closet. The second level was a bedroom and a bathroom. The top was a small room at the point of the cube with lots of windows and a sitting area.

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Across the plaza from the Cube Houses was the Markthal. A large indoor market with food stands and full restaurants. The item above is a stroopwafel. They are very thin fresh waffles, cut in half, and spread with a caramel-y syrup-y goo. SO delicious.

Some other delicious Dutch delights we devoured included:

Croquettes (from a hot vending machine)- Savory sausage-looking snacks are filled with a mixture of mashed potato, chopped beef, beef broth, flour, butter, herbs and spices and then battered in a crunchy breadcrumb coating.

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Oliebollen – A Dutch donut, deep fried balls of dough usually with raisins or currents, served hot with icing sugar.

Poffertjes – Small, light, fluffy pancakes made with yeast and buckwheat flour, served with powdered sugar and butter.

Hagelslag (Chocolate Sprinkles) – We actually brought these home with us. Dutch equivalent of Nutella. These are typically eaten on bread with butter.

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Indonesian Rijstaffel (Rice Table) – A medley of small dishes from all over the Spice Islands, developed in the times of Dutch colonization in order to allow colonials to sample dishes from around Indonesia.

On our first full day, we took the water bus out to Kinderdijk. Can we just talk about the water bus for a second? Rotterdam used to be the largest port city in the world before they were overtaken by the port in China. There are literally canals ALL OVER the Netherlands, and in Rotterdam, they have waterbusses and water taxis that utilize all the water.

Ok Kinderdijk. This place has a system of 19 windmills, all built around 1740. This group of mills is the largest concentration of old windmills in the Netherlands, and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997.

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Another couple clearly on their anniversary trip too.

We only spend 2 nights in Rotterdam. We also visited the Euromast, an observation tower.

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Hotel New York. We just walked through the restaurant to check out the architecture. The building was the original headquaters for the Holland Amerika Lijn, a Dutch shipping, passenger, and cargo line.

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Het Nieuwe Instituut and the Huis Sonneveld

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Arlo—Nineteen Months

Posted May 3rd, 2017 in Arlo by Janelle

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Happy Birthday Lucy!

Posted April 30th, 2017 in Events, Four Legs by Janelle

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Yesterday, our first-born fur-baby turned 11. We love this animal so much. To celebrate she spent some time on squirrel patrol in the backyard, had some canned “Sunday Dinner”, a poodle puff from the Lulu & Luigi dog bakery, and some quiet snuggle time. Happy birthday little girl!

Arlo — Eighteen Months

Posted April 3rd, 2017 in Arlo by Janelle

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Looking back:

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