May 3, 2012
To Amsterdam and Beyond: The Lambert’s Europeanwinterness Trip
Last winter, two lucky winners won an unforgettable trip to Amsterdam as part of our Europeanwinterness Contest! With bags packed and all-inclusive round-trip nonstop Delta tickets on us, Mary and Dick Lambert set out on a European whirlwind trip to explore Amsterdam’s unique history, stunning architecture and delicious food. Continuing their trip on to London, Paris, Gent and a few other wonderful places, the couple discovered rooted family ties, iconic destinations and shared sweet memories together.
Read more about their trip…
“We arrived in Amsterdam about 8:30 a.m. on March 10 and took the train from the airport to the central train station, just across the square from our lodging, the Victoria Hotel. After an almost two hour nap, we unpacked and went looking for a place to eat. We found a little five star restaurant, Habsburg, with good fish stew and very nice people.
On our first full day, we took off to Volendam fishing village and a windmill village. Here we got to go inside a windmill and learn the history of making wooden shoes. Most of the houses in Volendam are all the same, except the doors and window drapes are all different! That evening we went on a candlelight canal cruise, where we saw lights on the buildings and bridges and learned more about the canal area.
The next day, we enjoyed taking the Hop-On, Hop-Off bus tour. Along the ride we stopped at the Gassan Diamonds, where we saw several different cuts of diamonds including one valued at 80,000 Euros – too bad we can’t afford that! The next stop was at the Heineken Experience. The tour included how they make beer along with great history and free beer.
After a few more days exploring Amsterdam, we took a quick trip to London and enjoyed another Hop-on, Hop-off bus. Along the route, we stopped at Piccadilly Square, Trafalgar Square, National Gallery, Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, and Buckingham Palace. We also took a boat cruise on the Thames from the Tower Bridge to Big Ben and the House of Parliament and London Eye. What a busy day!
From London, we traveled on the Euro Star under the English Channel to Paris and enjoyed a nice ride through the countryside.
On our second day in Paris, we decided not to take the bus and instead opted for a taxi ride to the Eiffel Tower. From the top you could see forever – we stole a kiss then headed back down.
The next day we went to the Catacombs. Following over 150 steps down (but who is counting) and then through the catacombs with skulls and bones…more skulls and bones… then up 83 more steps (that’s right – oh boy!). Afterward, we walked through the garden of Luxemburg and the Palace du Luxemburg before stopping for dinner at Le Trait D’Union.
From here, we took the train from Paris to Gent to meet up with some family, and then we were on to Bruges!
In Bruges, we walked and walked. Dick’s cousin showed us where her father guarded the area during WWII and we had a real Belgium lunch (so Mimi said) outside at Marieke Van Brugghe. Then walked through the Church of Our Lady and took a ride on the canal.
We caught the train to Aalter to meet the rest of Dick’s relatives. Filip, Mimi’s brother-in-law picked us up and drove us to Poeke to see the castle where Dick’s grandfather was the game warden – we even took Dick’s picture in front of the castle just like a picture of his grandfather. In the evening we had dinner with more family and shared family photos and stories before catching the train back to Gent.
On Sunday before we left, we discovered very few stores were open – so we just took it easy and slept in a little. We walked around the canals, through several church squares and saw a 100 year old castle. In the afternoon we sat in a church square and ate Italian ice cream in the sun while we people-watched.
Finally we took the train back to Amsterdam – sadly lost our camera on the way – and then flew back to Portland. We were a little tired for a couple days but overall we had a wonderful trip!”
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