Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Dreams of Far-Away Places

It's almost May but there have been very few warm, spring days so far.  The last two weeks have been foggy and misty, and I'm still wearing my winter coat more often than not.  Days like this make me think of all of the other places I would love to be (at the top of my list right now is San Diego) but after reading 36 Hours in Amsterdam, which appeared in the New York Times a couple of weeks ago, I was reminded of how wonderful Holland is and how magnificient it would be to see the tulip fields in bloom. 

About seven years ago, I was in Amsterdam for less than two days, on the last leg of a 10-day European tour that I booked the winter after I graduated from college.  Even though I went with a group, I was essentially alone among kind strangers.  In Paris, I roamed the Louvre for hours by myself; in London, I walked through parks and neighborhoods away from the Buckingham Palace crowds.  It was February, and England and France had been quite cold but once in Amsterdam, a winter storm hit. The trains were delayed, there were no brave souls riding bicycles on the streets, and no one in my tour group wanted to leave the hotel because it was too cold.  I ventured out myself and waited for over an hour for the train, then trekked to the Anne Frank House, where there was still a line around the block for admission (so worth the wait, obviously).  Afterward, I bought some souvenirs for my family at a shopping complex and just happened to walk into a winter festival of some sort.  There were food vendors and merry-go-rounds, and with everything covered in snow, it was absolutely beautiful. 

There is so much more I wanted to see in this city, like blooming flowers and museums, and after reading this, I just added more to my to-see list.  Maybe a spring trip to Europe for Anthony and I will be possible in a few years. Have you ever been to a place and felt like you missed some major attractions? Where would you love to revisit?

Photo of Van Gogh Museum courtesy of Iamsterdam, official tourism site

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