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Belgium and Netherlands

Took a night train to Bruges, Belgium. Have you been there, know anything about it? Oh, you saw a movie with Collin Farrel? Ahh, yes, that movie is the reason we traveled to Bruges. Meghan fell in love with the movie and FORCED us to go there. She tied us up, put bandanas in our mouths, and refused to let us say any differently. Okay, not really.

The entire time we are walking around the town, Meghs is asking herself, 'oh! is this where....happened. I think it is" and "oh! this must be where they ran through the....take a picture of me please!" haha. Good times.

We climbed up the Bellfry (that was in the movie, yes), except there were barricades on the windows and plexiglass around the bells. Hmm, i wonder if the window barricades were there BEFORE the movie?

Ate our first REAL, delicious dinner. Oh my. The hostel we stayed in had a restaurant, bar AND club (three different areas). AND if you ate in the restaurant, you received a free sampler of beer (wheat, cherry, and something else i cannot remember), PLUS 10% off your meal. Of course we went there. Free beer? It was good food, too. I ordered meatloaf. My body started shaking from the yummy nutritious value of the entire meal and actually being FULL. Meghs and i walked around the city at night for a few hours. We just went down whatever alleys appealed to us and somehow after an hour of random walking we ended up on our hostel street. Hilarious times.

NETHERLANDS:

I knew there was a reason I joined ships and the Netherlands told me why.

Rotterdam: Met up with a ship friend who coincidentally was having his birthday party. Opps...birthday crashers. It was good fun, though. and he DID invite us. Once the dutch were drunk, the dancing began and...yeah. Fabulous view into Dutch Life. And yes, its true, all parties take place in the Kitchen. *shrugs* Interesting fact learned about those die-hard soccer fans in Rotterdam. They will not say 'Amsterdam'. Its either the other team or 020 (area code).

Huizen: JOSSSSSSSSSIE POOOOO! Fabulous friend. Two ship contracts - Westie1 and Ryndam2. Kendra left us on the 30th, so it was just Meghs, Joss and me. We essentially spent our time watching movies (two dutch ones! had to get my glasses out to read the subtitles!), driving around and getting lost, eating WAY too much food (our stomachs had shrunk!), going ice skating (hilariuos good fun), taking Traditional Dutch Photos, eating waaaay too many ginger cookies, getting locked out of the house at 7am, in the COLD, and just enjoying being with ship people on LaNd.

Amsterdam: did a three hour walking tour of the city. Interesting place: weed comes in illegally through the back door (cops look the other way), and leaves legally through the front; Legalized prostitution (10am - they are already in their boxes - hmm, 50 EURO for 15 minutes, minimum? *ponders*) - the city will most likely do away with the Red District in the next few years, though; beautiful canals, lovely windmills, oh, Tulips! all typically dutch. Thought about buying some space cakes but decided against it.

After the tour we visited the Anne Frank House. It was must bigger than I imagined when I read her diary. Still, going through the house made me want to read the diary again.

What I've noticed during my journey through Europe: the effects of WWII and Hitlers Domination are still prevalent. The tales, the grief, the shame, its everywhere, in all the cities, in the stories people tell, in the way the Dutch hate the Germans, in the way the Germans never wave their flags with pride. Here in the US, it wasn't fighting ground, you dont see where city blocks were destroyed and rebuilt, or the bullet holes that are still in City Buildings. It was interesting; I enjoyed the visuals to the stories I've only read.

Flushing: I dont know what went on for these four days. Oh...right, yes I do. Meghan and I drank cases of Grolsch, danced on bar platforms (and with Saint Nikklas! I have pictures), made out with 19 yr old cadets (did i just say 19?? Sigh...they ARE graduating college right now), sang too much youtube karaoke (with plenty of Abba, Christmas songs, and Michael Jackson), ate WAAAAAY too much greasy food, slept in cold rooms, on comfortable couches, went walking on the beach at sunrise, played drinking games, a few rounds of poker, ate BITERBALLEN! Mmmm; and generally had a fabulous, excellent, beautiful time. :-)




Almost missed my flight to Houston from London, the tube starts running at 530am, i didnt think it would take me an hour and 1/2 to get to the airport! My flight was at 740. Luggage and persons need to be checked in 60 minutes prior to flight. By the time I made my way to the counter, it was 710ish. Oih Vey! BUT Bernard, that lovely United Airlines fellow, worked his magic and luggage and person made it safely to Dulles Airport (6 hour layover and Subway sandwiches) and eventually to Houston where Diana and Jenn Currie picked me up!

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