Monday, September 2, 2013

Goodbye Beaches - Hello Barges

On Wednesday the 28th we left Paris and struck out on the first 'unassisted' leg of our journey. The seven weeks in France were made easier and more enjoyable with friends and family to help us get acclimated. The time spent in Quiberon with the grand kids was especially precious.

One last walk on the beach in Quiberon

But onward and upward we go! Our goal for this adventure is to stay in each city for two weeks in an apartment we've found on - and then 'live' there in the spirit of the local culture. We have a modest daily budget and will cook most meals at home. I have been having a great time poking around in local markets, grocery stores and specialty shops.

The ledger! A daily tally of spending and activities

Tourist attractions will be a special treat but museums for me, and soccer games as we find them for Michael are definitely in the budget.

We left for Amsterdam on the 2:30 train in the afternoon with a picnic, USA Today, The International Herald Tribune and Kindles in hand. After a three hour journey we arrived at the bustling train station in the center of the city. And with our 'live like the locals' goals in mind, we figured out how to purchase Dutch sim cards for our phones and then loaded our bags on a local bus and headed to our first apartment.

Such a wonderful city. Great for walking and gulp, biking.

If you haven't heard of you should take a tour of the site. It's fun to just fantisize about where you could stay anywhere in the world. We had the following criteria as we searched; stand alone home or apartment (no shared space or common areas), access to fresh air (deck, yard, balcony), wi-fi, a 'real' bed (no futons or pull-outs please), close to the city or within easy access to pubic transportation, and of course price. Here is the link to where we are staying. scroll through the images and picture us playing scrabble at the picnic table.

Our front door

Speaking of Scrabble ... I'd love to see the tiles in the Dutch version. There would need to be at least ten Ks and a dozen Js and a few extra Zs because most every Dutch word worth its ZOUT has a few Js and Ks and often a Z in it for good measure.

90% of the population speaks English so we are fine on the communication front. Dutch is a tough language to learn so we are forgiven for not trying beyond the niceties.

We rode the bikes that came with our apartment
today. It was a bit harrowing to jump into the bike lanes and mix with the cycling throng (there are 700,000 people in Amsterdam and 850,000 bikes!) I am sure I was wreaking havoc behind me - but I didn't dare look back. Vespas can also use the bike lanes so you can be buzzed by flying commuters on either side for added excitement.

Our first outing on the bikes

Yesterday was the big Organic Farmer's Market - I bought some lovely Dutch cheeses, fresh vegetables, freshly made jam, and a few cookies for Mr. Campbell.

Cheese, cheese and more cheese.

We found a church nearby that is similar to our home church, Bethany Community Church in Greenlake. Same great music and an interesting service with the added bonus of cookies and coffee at your seat. A great start to the day.

Michael headed off to a soccer match out of town and I finally started a little sightseeing. We are here until the 11th and then off to Copenhagen. If you have any suggestions for things to see and eat here or there - send a reply.

PS - Butterscotch has new owners! We are so thankful that she sold before the weather changed. And thankful she has gone to a good home. The new owners will be keeping her at Elliott Bay Marina - so you will see her again. Not sure if they will keep the name, or have the courage to fly a spinnaker with an 18' tall Tip Top Girl on it. Let us know if you see her fly by!


  1. Debbie and Michael, bravo to you both for not only embarking on this wonderful adventure, but sharing with all of us the keys to living life fully! (I loved the daily ledger.) Tama

  2. We have used Air B&B often, but like to stay with our hosts. However, our stays have been much shorter. That gives a unique perspective on living like the locals.

  3. Love!!!! Butterscotch is too cute with the Tip Top Girl on top! I tried to double tap your pictures lol! The daily ledger will definitely be a tool that I will implement.