Friday, June 24, 2016

Norway & Netherlands 2016: Days 8-10

All week I've been recapping our family's summer vacation to the Netherlands and Norway...and today is my last post on days 8 through 10 (whew!).  

It's always sad to say goodbye to trips but always good to be home.

See the other posts here:

 We wrapped up our ports in Norway with a final stop in Oslo.

It was a beautiful day for visiting Oslo.  We were so excited!

After a quick morning stroll, we made our way to the Viking Museum.  This was something the kids were so excited to see!  We saw it featured in a Rick Steves video before we left and they were dying to check it out themselves.

Pretty much my worst nightmare would be to sail across the sea in one of these ships.  Those brave Vikings!  These boats were so old and it's so hard to believe that they were able to sail as far as they did in them.

Just two people checking out some boats.

Looking down on a vessel.

Listening about how these boats were uncovered and preserved.  My kids love a good museum tour ;).

Hey up there!  We thoroughly enjoyed this museum!

Oh the love!  We headed from the Viking Museum towards where Parliament and the Royal Palace are in Oslo.

So much love with these two.

Ashby takes any opportunity she can to photo bomb ;).

We had lunch at an outside pub like place right next to Parliament.  We walked up, sat down, enjoyed our lunch and then I proceeded to head inside to take Ashby potty when...

...I discovered this entire Norwegian pub was dedicated to Boston sports.  Oh blessed!  I knew this was the best restaurant in Europe when I sat down ;).  The entire place was covered in Boston!

So, the kids were required to wear wristbands the entire seven night cruise with Holland America life boat info on there...and pretty much the moment they put it on Ashby, she started pretending it was an Apple Watch ;).  She answered calls, talked to Bowen, told us we were running late, called Lovie, texted me...she was very busy with her watch.  Here she is "talking" to Bowen.

Enjoying Oslo with this boy :).

 We even caught a parade while we were there!  They marched all the way up to the Royal Palace playing music. It was very festive!

 And speaking of the Royal Palace...we walked there too!

Kensington's proper palace pose makes me laugh!

We stumbled on an old book store...we love collecting books from all over the world.  Old books in foreign languages are our favorite :).

Whew!  I feel like I missed a bunch of pictures (too busy taking it in and not busy enough snapping pics!).  That night, we were back on board.  Just two people from Xi'an here!

Lots of card games between these two!

 Ashby loves her daddy.

 There was a mirror above our table...and we took advantage.

 So...the night before, Kensington had wanted girl time with me, so on this night, Smith wanted boy time.  And for him, that included all of us going to the late night pizza feed on the Lido Deck.  So, first, just Smith and me watched a movie together and then...

 ...we all got pizza in our pjs together.  Please note the look of pain in Smith's face.  While we were getting his pizza, his drinking glass broke in his hands and cut him.  Smith doesn't do blood well.  At all.  It was quite traumatic for him.  But not traumatic enough to forgo pizza at 10:30 at night.

 Our ship had one last day at sea before arriving back in Rotterdam.  We enjoyed it!

Just a bunch of wild kids on a boat!

Ashby insists on doing everything herself.  Like getting herself dressed.

 We walked the ship's deck...with blankets because it was so cold!

And then we all swam!

And ate ice cream!

Ashby has a really long tongue...and she was making it touch her nose. #partytrick

 We cleaned ourselves up for our last dinner on the ship!

 We woke up early on Saturday, ate breakfast and hopped off the ship!

In the middle of the night, Ashby rolled over and accidentally hit my face with her head.  I woke up with a little swollen eye ;).

By 8:45 AM, we had disembarked the ship, taken a car back to Amsterdam, checked back into our hotel there, put our stuff down and were heading out to explore our last day in that great city!  Here we are on our way out to explore!

It rained on and off all day, but we didn't care.  We loved our time in Amsterdam!

We bought a bunch of tulip bulbs (TSA approved so we could get them home!) for our yard!

We explored this lovely Dutch Saturday.

We went to the antique market and found a few treasures.

We bought an embarrassing amount of cheese to bring home.  It was wrapped so that it would last on the flight home.  I mean...we adore our cheese.

We had lunch at the Pancake Bakery!  Remember when we ate here way back when...


Back for more of the world's best pancakes!

 We had a great table in the back so we could check out the action and stay cozy.

I had a Caprese Pancake with salami.  Oh my world.  It was insane!

After pancakes, we had tickets to visit the Anne Frank House.  This was probably the highlight of Kensington's trip and something the whole family enjoyed.  The last two times we went, you had to wait in line, but now, you can buy tickets in advance for specific time slots.  We had tickets for 1:15.  This was so much better than waiting in line for upwards of two hours!  We bought them online about a month before we left for our trip.

We talked a lot about Anne Frank before we left the States.  We watched the movie based on her story and talked in great depth about her family and the Holocaust.  This is something I know my kids will never forget.

You can't take pictures this is us outside after our tour.  That right there is the building where she hid for over two years.  

Ashby decided to nap.

See my big kids?  They're in the I AMSTERDAM letters :).

We were heading to the children's museum and stopped in a store for a second...when this happened. 

Our last dinner on vacation.

After dinner, we headed over to have Dutch pancakes one last time...with Nutella, of course!

And here we are in the elevator going back up to our room.  That's a wrap on our family summer vacation 2016!  The next day, we flew home.

Every time I see the world, I take a little bit back home with me...and this time, I feel positive my big kids did too.  We've continued to have some excellent conversations about the things they saw/did/experienced while we traveled, and we're already looking forward to our next adventure later this year.  Best part of our trip?  The focused time alone.  Love this little family of mine more than I could ever say.

On my foodie blog today...

See it all here.

And come back Monday...things are going to get C-R-A-Z-Y around here.  I'm bracing myself now ;).


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