Tulip Trip to the Netherlands: Leiden (April 28, 2017)

Back in November of 2016, I was notified that I'd earned my way to the Beachbody Success Club Trip in Punta Cana.  It was largely paid for.  I was elated.  Shelby was going to join me.  Sadly, when we went to book, only the most expensive rooms were left, and we couldn't justify the increase in price.  We promised each other we'd figure out another trip.  So when Shelby told Kristy that there was a flight sale to the Netherlands, we both proclaimed we'd love to see the tulips, and plans were born.

Day 0 - Friday, April 28, 2017
DFW to ATL to AMS
While I absolutely love having the Priority Pass that gives you lounge access, the DFW lounge has to be one of the weakest we’ve been to. Regardless, free beverages even if the staff is slow to restock and a touch rude.

When we found out the flight to Atlanta was going to be delayed, I went to ask the desk if there was anything we could do to help expedite ourselves or the chances the next plane would be held. We only had a 40 minute connection, and I was nervous. Turns out I was speaking to the pilot. He was incredibly kind. He told us about the layout of Atlanta's airport and told us he'd speed. He really did put the pedal to the metal. We wound up somehow landing on time and getting to our gate during the boarding process. He even mentioned me on the intercom!

Doggie rest area in ATL
Day 1 - Saturday, April 29, 2017
We arrived in Schipol around 1pm.

AMS is a really nice airport.
We found the train station (so easy), and, while it wouldn’t take our credit cards (heads up…Visa is not well accepted in the Netherlands) and we had to use my Schwab debit card, we did luck out and each got a free sample of First Choice cola (original American taste) from the company who had a booth in the train station.

Shelby samples First Choice cola with Original American taste

We’d already received train information from our AirBnB host in Leiden, and we took the train to Leiden Central where Dennis, our nice AirBnB host, was waiting to take us to the apartment.

Our AirBnB was large and had character.

We loved the dishes in our AirBnB.

I thought these tulips were fake at first.  So pretty.

After getting our bearings, we spent the rest of the day exploring the markets in Leiden.















We enjoyed eating hot stroopwafels, buying fruit, bread, and apple pie, and seeing a little of Leiden and the awesome poetry they have in the sides of buildings throughout​ the city.




The flowers are so inexpensive







Dinner was chicken from the market for Shelby and grocery store chicken from quick shopping at Dirk's grocery for Kristy.





We called it an early night. 12 hours of sleep later, we were ready to go.

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Booking.com Referral Coupon Code

I'll admit.  I have a problem.  I'm addicted to finding deals.  I'm addicted to getting coupon codes or promo codes for travel.  I want to know that I'm leveraging my money in the best way possible.

Today I booked a stay on Booking.com, and it appeared to be the magic number.  I finally got my invite to the Booking.com referral program.


If you would like to save $25 on your next stay on Booking.com, please use my link.  https://www.booking.com/s/junk0s00

You save $25 on your stay.  I save $25 on my next stay after your stay is complete.

Promo codes and coupon codes for the win!

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Tents Stats and Books of Summer 2015

Nobody cares about this but me, but I kept track of the 17 books I read over the Summer of 2015 and our tent set-up times.

Summer Reading & ranking (My ranking system...nah, liked, loved, whoa)
Don’t Expect Magic by Kathy McCullough (liked)
The Diviners by Libba Bray (nah)
Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool (loved)
The Pilot’s Wife by Anita Shreve (whoa)
Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick (liked)
Courage for Beginners by Karen Harrington (loved)
This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer Smith (loved)
Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo (liked)
Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger (first in series – awesome series, loved book)
Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger (second in series – awesome series, loved book)
Waistcoats & Weaponry by Gail Carriger (last in series – awesome series, liked book)
A Memory of Violets by Hazel Gaynor (whoa)
The Silent Boy by Lois Lowry (liked)
Proxy by Alex London (liked)
Forget Me by Karen Harrington (loved)
Invaded by Melissa Landers (first in series – awesome series, loved book)
Alienated by Melissa Landers (last in series – awesome series, loved book)

Tent Times
Legend:  Tent (T), Rainfly (RF), Garage (G)
6/15:  31 min TRF
6/16:  22 min 35 sec TRF
6/17:  20 min 15 sec T
6/19:  19 T
6/21:  45 min TRFG (bear country)
6/26:  26 min 20 sec TG
6/29:  42 min TRFG & camping chairs
7/04:  21 min T
7/13:  30 min 2 sec TRFG & camping chairs
7/17:  13 min 2 sec T



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Kriserisms of Summer 2015

Spending a summer in a car with Kris provided many opportunities for laughter.  The truth is, he’s a funny guy.  The unique part of this trip was that I decided to spend time scribing turns of phrase that I would later dub “Kriserisms”.  (I derive this from the word mannerisms.  I know there are a lot of "isms" out there and this could easily be called Krisisms, but I don't feel like it's as easy to read.)
Truth is…I might be the only person to find these funny.

Without further ado, here are some Kriserisms from the summer of 2015.

·       “Need a rest stop? <pause>  I hope not…because it’s closed.”
o   I (Kristy) might have the smallest bladder known to man, so Kris was often keeping his eyes peeled for a rest stop, especially if it had been a while since the last one.  This one teased us.
·       “I feel greasy and minty.”
o   Said after I put peppermint essential oil on his head since he had a headache.  I felt terrible after some of it dripped into his eye.
·       “I don’t have to be careful.”
o   This has been Kris’s favorite phrase, but I abhor it.  Any time I say “careful” about anything, this is Kris’s response.
·       “If a bear’s chewing on you, punch it in the face.”
o   We were going to bear country, and I was asking how we could protect ourselves.  This was Kris’s advice.
·       “This is exactly how I envisioned our vacation.”
o   I was part of a FitBit challenge during the vacation, and I had to get at least 10,000 steps a day.  This meant I was often taking steps in the tent before going to bed.  This was said during one of these moments.
·       “#1 Thing to do in Cheyenne (Wyoming):  rodeo.  #2 thing:  Welcome Center.  Hmmmm….”
·       “I like this road.  It’s very straight.”
·       “Should we tune to 100FM?  Just a repeating loop of ‘Good luck’.”
·       “Every day you have all you can eat trout.”
o   Said to me after passing up a restaurant with all you can eat trout.  Because I’m allergic, Kris pointed out that every day for me is all you can eat fish day.
·       “I can talk about physics, but I can’t put on a pull-over.”
o   Kris after he put on his pull-over backwards for the second or third time.
·       “If you ever see a sign that says, ‘Do not spread jam on bread while driving’ that was me.  Sorry.”
·       “If Facebook sees me in my doofy hat, it thinks I’m dad.”
o   Kris has a funny looking hikers hat.  If he’s wearing it in a photo, Facebook asks if he wants to tag his dad.
·       “I like pavement.”
·       “Do you have some oil you can rub on your face for that?”
o   Said any time anything went wrong or anything hurt after the peppermint oil debacle.
·       “I need a break from scenery so scenery becomes impressive again.”
o   We saw some amazing places. 
·       “I miss underwear.”
o   I wish I remembered why he said this.
·       “My plan for San Francisco is...I’m going to walk around for 3 days asking people where I can get some Rice-a-Roni.”
·       “No Welcome to California sign.  Just 60 signs telling you what’s not allowed and an inspection station doing profiling.”
·       “It’s still cheaper than going to a laundromat in Reno.  That’s a laundromat/whorehouse.”

So this is just an accounting of some of the funny things my husband said on vacation.

He tried to collect some Kristyisms, but the only funny thing I said all trip was during our second or third day of camping.  

It was raining every night on us in the tent, so I wasn’t able to go to the bathroom at leisure, plus making/taking down the tent was a pain.  I apparently woke up one morning, groaned, and immediately covered my head.  When Kris asked what was wrong, I replied, “Too much camping.”  Since it was only 2-3 days into what would be many more weeks of camping, Kris cracked up.  This phrase has become part of our vocabulary.  We use it whenever we’re generally just frustrated with no real reason why.

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Berlin Broke My Blog (July 3, 2014)

Today is April 2, 2017...it's been far too long since I've blogged.
I say that Berlin broke the blog...not because I didn't like Berlin...I did.  More because seeing the lines that represented the wall that divided the city really hit me deeply...especially since we were seeing this city on July 3rd & 4th (USA Independence Day) in 2014.
Walking the marker that represents the Berlin wall was a somber experience.
When you added up our trip to the Anne Frank House, the readings I'd been doing on the Holocaust, the trip to Dachau, the memorials in Budapest and the Terror Museum...Berlin just cemented it all in.

I haven't successfully written a blog post since.  But I will.  I'm going to finish Berlin (July 3rd and 4th of 2014) and then I'm going to start from my latest trip and work my way backward.  Because I miss the stories...

July 3, 2014
Truth is, we stayed in a lovely AirBnB Kris had found (save $40 using my AirBnB link).
The Berlin train station is quite lovely, and I enjoyed the cartoonish street crossing signs.
And our first day in Berlin was largely spent admiring the colorful, powerful, large murals around the city.



I highly recommend doing a street art tour, even if it's self-guided.



Parts of the Berlin wall still stand, and these parts are covered in graffiti.  I held most of it in reverence, but I had to laugh at this piece with David Hasselhoff.
What remains of the Berlin Wall is covered in street art.




It's hard to fathom that the Berlin wall stood in my lifetime.  I appreciate that Berlin has emerged so colorful.  

After the street art tour, Kris took us to Berlin's Computerspielemuseum.
Since it is several years later, I can't remember what many of the items in the photos below were, but I do remember having fun...especially playing with the life-sized Atari joystick.

And anywhere with Link and Zelda is naturally good with Kris.



We hit a grocery store on the way back to our apartment where Kris made us some Spaetzle mit gewurtz hackfleisch und tomatensauce (dinner for two for only 6 Euro), and we did laundry. 



In the words of Kris, "The wash cycle is very similar to how we do it in the states, but the dry cycle takes 2 days. As a bonus, all your clothes are crunchy!"

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