One of my favorite Chicago friends is visiting for the week -- posts will be light, as I'll be distracted by coffee by canals and drinking in caf├ęs from centuries past and wearing orange eyelashes for Queen's Day.


We took a trip to the newly renovated Maritime Museum this weekend. The building was filled with wonderful bits of history and art; I couldn't help thinking of my Dutch grandfather, who was a sea captain himself. So many weird and wonderful rooms, filled with tiny ships, old figureheads, even older globes:

There were also nautilus chalices, starry rooms hosting ancient navigational equipment... and a walk-through whale? I stepped on his tongue. It squooshed.
But the ship museum itself was beside the point. The POINT, my friends, is that we got to wander around on an ACTUAL ship belonging to the Dutch East India Company. And fine, yes, it was a replica -- the actual vessel sank in 1749 -- but the excitement remained undiminished.

BOO GRUEL. Don't worry, I found cheese wheels elsewhere! And rats. But mostly cheese!

I'm on a boat!
By this point, we were clearly EXPERTS.
Grandfather would have been proud. Or very embarrassed. 
I sail now!

Bright spot.

To combat a grey day and a grey mood,  I...
wore this...
played with those...
stopped at a shop to sample this cheese...
drank coffee out of this...
and filled the flat with these.

I have lots of silly pictures and stories to post, but I spent this afternoon at the Resistance Museum, a place beautifully documenting Holland during WWII and the terrible and sometimes very brave things that happened then. I can't help wondering where I would fall in times like those, although I am in no hurry to find out. Neutral, outspoken, quietly brave, completely cowardly, ignorant, kind? I wonder. The place was a strange mixture of despair and hope; it's incredible that some people can be faced with fear and death and charge at it full force with underground newspapers, safe houses, massive spying efforts, and even small kindnesses like milk and bread. Still, it's hard to read the simple list of statistics about those dead, gassed, executed, disappeared and walk out of there feeling particularly good about the human race.
I paused just now, unsure of where to go, and I took a moment to throw open the window looking out onto a gorgeous spring afternoon. Two ladies are in the garden down below, giggling and chatting, a mother is holding her sleeping child and carefully watering a window box, and someone in an apartment across the courtyard is practicing the most beautiful opera. Music and laughter and love; if those things can't justify the human race's continued existence, I'm not sure anything can.


YESSSS, the magic of Madurodam, the miniature replica of Holland, where dreams come true! I'd dreamed about seeing it for ages, growing up looking at pictures of it in my [Dutch] mother's photo albums. The time had finally arrived!
First glimpse!

I have rarely been this excited EVER, and if you know me, you know that I am excited about EVERYTHING.
Finally, FINALLY, the height that I wish to be.
I could have SAT on this BREWERY [thought i would have gotten in trouble].

Have i EVER been so HAPPY in MY WHOLE LIFE??
Oh, just a tiny market in a tiny town, whatevs.
It's like JURASSIC PARK, with more feathers!
Shew. And then we had fresh apple pie and hot chocolate with whipped cream. IT WAS THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE. 
The end.
The next post will contain significantly less caps, I PROMISE.

The Hague

Day-trip to The Hague on Sunday! I'd never made it there before, so we hopped on a train and headed out. Our first stop was Madurodam, a replica of Holland in miniature, but I'm saving those pictures for another post, I still need to sort them out. They are mostly me with a giant dorky grin on my face.

We ended up at the beach after the Madurodam experience. It was windy. And cold. And beautiful. 


I don't know why I didn't take a photo looking the other direction; the beach just goes on and on, with a gigantic boardwalk to boot. It's a terrible tourist trap, but I've never seen anything like it. Next time! By that point, it was time to move on to the city center, as my fingers were numb with cold.

Trying to figure out which historical location we had wandered into THIS time [Binnenhof!]

Wander wander wander.

We ended up at Vredespaleis, the Peace Palace, built by Andrew Carnegie to house the Permanent Court of Arbitration and the International Court of Justice. 
Fun fact: one year after the opening of the Peace Palace, World War One broke out. WHOOPS.

Nice try, anyway, guys.

Lovely nearby tram stop, though!

One last stop at De Passage, a roofed shopping arcade built in 1882. It charmed me with a store dedicated exclusively to ballpoint pens of all shapes and sizes.
 Magical miniatures tomorrow!

To market.

Quick trip to the organic market a few blocks over, for bread and cheese [as if I eat anything else here].

A Vida Portuguesa

I wanted one new blog post in 2017, with the promise to myself to document my travels in the new year, before I completely forget the a...