Three Dutch Cities, Three Faces of the Netherlands

During our month in the Hague, we took a few side day trips to other Dutch cities: Groningen, Amsterdam and Rotterdam.

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The Netherlands is a small country. Slightly less than twice the size of New Jersey. So, to us, taking a day to visit each of these places was a no-brainer. Rotterdam is a 20 minute train ride from den Haag Centraal. Amsterdam, 45 minutes. Groningen, the farthest of the three, gave us three hours of quiet time on the train to get work done.

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People seemed a little shocked that we rode a train for the interminable length of three hours to visit a city for 24 hours, but I’ve driven 4 hours each way to and from Jacksonville in one day just to hang out with people. And there’s no wifi in a car. The train ride was lovely.

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Bruges in Pictures

(Fair warning: the videos in this post have a lot of cursing in them.)

Someone recently told us that they thought Bruges was beautiful but like a museum. We didn’t really know what they meant and had no preconceived notions about the town. (Well, not many, at least. All I ever think of when I hear “Bruges” is Colin Farrel’s thick Irish accent saying, “Bruges is a sh*thole” and Voldemort saying, “It’s a fairytale town, isn’t it? How’s a fairytale town not somebody’s f***ing thing?”

 (Sorry for the NSFW language but this movie is pretty funny and all the best quotes have many F-bombs.)

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Barcelona in Pictures

We had the opportunity to spend 8 wonderful days in this city. We’ve seen so much, met lots of friendly people, and have blisters on our feet from walking so much. I wish we could have visited during a less busy time of year (seriously, so many people, it became claustrophobic), but overall it was a positive experience. It’s hard to sum up our experience or even choose our favorite bits. So I thought I’d share some of the most memorable moments through photos.

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Six Reasons to Spend Six Weeks Abroad

In America, it’s uncommon to hear of people taking really long vacations or trips lasting more than two weeks because most companies in the US don’t offer much paid time off or allow people to work remotely. In Europe, things are a little different. Spain and Germany give their workers 34 days of paid vacation, Italy and France give 31, but in America only 25% of workers are guaranteed any paid time off. Add in the fact that many companies are still scared to let employees work remotely, and you probably don’t hear, “Guess what? We’ll be gone for six weeks!” very often or at all.

Justin and I feel so fortunate to be able to say those exact words. “We’ll be gone for six weeks!”

In less than a month, we will be embarking on our Euro Adventure 2016: six weeks, five (planned) countries, four booked AirBNBs, three train rides, two carry-on bags, and one month-long home exchange with a lovely Dutch couple. What the heck are we thinking?! Continue reading

Weird and Wonderful: The LA I Didn’t Know

Though I’ve been a few times, LA has never been high on my list of places to go. I don’t remember much from my first trip, when I was 11, or all that much from the trip I took at age 20. But I have only been back once in the last decade. Maybe the traffic deterred me. Or the timezone, so behind everyone else on a normal work day. Or my preconceptions about the plastic people. Perhaps it was the vague threat of earthquakes or the high cost of living. Or a combination of everything. Something has kept me from making the trip out there to visit friends for far too long.

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