It’s so great to be back in Europe for the second time this year. Johan and I are going back and forth regularly now and having all kinds of adventures.
I flew to Amsterdam and arrived Friday 19 May. Spent a very quiet day at home while Johan went to the office. I did what everyone says not to do…..sleep! Life in Chicago has been so busy with work, my boys, sports, school, you name it, that I have been a bit run down. After I had lunch after my arrival, my body said SLEEP! I had the most fabulous nap with our furry cat Memphis for almost three hours. After that I felt human and the jet lag was much less than it would have been. Listening to your body is so important regardless of what anyone else says.
Saturday was a quiet day and I did a bit of shopping and had lunch in an outdoor café. I love the cafés here because so many have outdoor seating, often with a great view. In most, you can sit for hours, which we often do. Saturday evening we had dinner with a couple of friends, one of whom is the historian for the 94th Infantry Division Historical Society. We shared a lot of soldier stories over the course of the evening. It was fantastic.
Sunday we went to Amsterdam for a bit of shopping, lunch, and wandering. I wanted to stop in the P.W. Akkerman Fountain Pen shop in Amsterdam since we were unable to go to the P.W. Akkerman we prefer in The Hague. Our routine is to go to The Hague the day after I fly in and I always buy a new fountain pen and inks. Patricia is one woman who works at the store in The Hague and knows our love story. She is always so happy, friendly, and helpful in picking out pens, helping fix older pens, choosing inks, and catching up on life. We really enjoy visiting the store (which is old and has a fantastic atmosphere,) and speaking with her. Sadly, our experience at the Amsterdam store was nothing like The Hague. The staff seemed uninterested in helping us, was unfriendly, and rude. I will not return to the Amsterdam store and instead, wait until I can visit Patricia in The Hague store.
We did have a lovely walk around some of the centre and had a nice lunch in a shop across from a church that is now part of the University of Amsterdam. From our table we watched a group of people dance, chant, bow, and sing, in a circle outside the church. They were doing a peace ceremony with flags from countries around the world. It was cool to watch.
Before we drove home we stopped at the Begijnhof to take a short walk. It was very crowded and noisy there as lots of tour groups had come out since it was a beautiful day. Johan took me there last year over the winter when it was very quiet. Usually it is a place of peace and quiet and you don’t hear the city noise once you are in the courtyard.
To leave the noise, we entered the chapel, which I had not yet been in. I love churches and cathedrals in Europe and visit as many as possible. I prefer Catholic Churches because they are often more lavish, contain more stained glass windows which play with the light that shines through, Mother Mary is there and I always light and candle and have a talk with her. They are also places to just stop, BE, release things that don’t serve me, and receive healing and awareness.
After our visit to the chapel we headed home. It was a great start to my time in Europe. I wonder what else will show up that I am not expecting!
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