Rotterdam Girls Trip

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Flora and I had an amazing girls trip weekend to Rotterdam last week! What a modern and trendy place. I couldn’t believe how much there was to see and do. We had one night away from the boys (and Grandma) and two full days of good times!

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Flora posing at a Rotterdam icon

In no particular order, here are our highlights and memories.

Flora’s Faves:

The water taxi! By far the greatest part of this weekend was shooting around Rotterdam by water taxi. I will never forget the “taxi” driver and passenger laughing at how loud Flora and I were laughing. We were completely surprised by how fast the boat broke away from the harbor after crossing under the Erasmus bridge. It was hilarious.

 

Euromast. Checking out the views of the city on top of the Euromast and getting a better idea of how massive this port really is.

Sushi & dinner at Markhal with chopsticks for kids!

Lunch at the iconic Hotel New York another Rotterdam hot spot easily reached by water taxi, so we shot over there after our morning activity.

Maritime museum I must say. This place would have been heaven for Thibault. The top floor was all hands on for kids. Flora moved bags of rice with the crane for about 20 minutes. I saw other short toddlers moving “cargo boxes” the entire time. Thibault would have loved it and Flora did too.

Contemporary art on Witte de Withstraat I’m pretty sure Flora enjoyed this place more than I did. I was in love with her commentary and attention to detail while we walked through all of the exhibits.

Overall an incredible trip with my little lady. I love her curious mind, healthy appetite for Asian food :), and her traveling spirit. I can already see that she will be a traveler when she grows up. Walking through life now holding her hand as long as I can. XOXO.

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Mindful in Sloten

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Sloten

After Christmas, we traveled up north to visit my good friend Erika. We spent two nights in Friesland and a bit of quality time with an old friend. It was fantastic and just what I needed. More about that in my next post.

Our first night in the Airbnb started off perfectly and ended up with Flora starting her day at 3:30 a.m. Why does this happen? She is such a light sleeper and the slightest sound of me walking downstairs in the middle of the night woke her up. It was ridiculous and in retrospect quite funny, but we were totally dead. Despite this, we were able to have a fun family day with friends. I’m shocked we didn’t drop dead from exhaustion.

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We had a chilly morning stroll in Woudsend admiring the windmills and canals. Of course Flora fell asleep in the stroller by 10:00 a.m. img_1731We drove to Sloten, a tiny village Erika took me to when Flora was just a baby. By that time they were both asleep and Jaap and I had some peace. We took turns walking through Sloten and I enjoyed a 25 minute mindful walk through this old place by myself. The thrill of Europe will never fade for me because I still get goose bumps exploring places like this. I’m sure the inner city looks mostly the same as it did 250 years ago. It was a beautiful pocket of alone time all to myself to enjoy a little walk, breath in the cold fresh air, and experience complete stillness. Peace on Earth. Amen!

 

Acadia, Maine— Snapshots

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Dinner at Stewman’s 

Just a few snapshots of our stay in Maine.

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Camp life at Blackwoods

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Roasting marshmallows— Flora’s greatest memory of the trip

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Local playground in Bar Harbor

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Two girls admiring the beauty of nature.

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Jordan Pond

Acadia, Maine– Hunters Beach

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Hunters Beach

This was part of our first day exploring Acadia with the extended family. We went for a picnic lunch on one of the rockiest beaches in the park. Of course, this was my father’s idea. It was quite hilarious actually. The little cousins loved it though.

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My favorite part was catching Flora on top of this rock. I’m not sure how long she was sitting there alone before we noticed her. She was sitting there pretending to be Ariel from The Little Mermaid. hahahaha. Another beautiful moment in Acadia…

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Acadia, Maine– Hiking to Bubble Rock

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Flora loved our hike up to Bubble Rock. Listed as “strenuous” by the park map, we knew she could do the thirty minute uphill climb. The views at the top made it all worth while!

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This hike was invigorating. I felt alive, fresh, and appreciative of America’s natural beauty. I felt so far from home in this moment, but at the same time, I felt like I arrived. It was an incredible feeling. This trip reminded me of so many childhood memories camping with my family and also of exploring Maine as a chid and pre-teen. It feels like I’ve come full circle being their with my own husband and kids. It was so excited to show Jaap this beautiful place and it filled my heart to see Flora and Thibault appreciating the great outdoors.

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Acadia, Maine— Echo Lake

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I think my favorite day of the entire trip was our time spent at Echo Lake. It was a warm, sunny day, the sun was shining and we had the most beautiful setting for our swimming day at the lake. A huge lake surrounds by rocky mountains, soaring birds, nesting loons, and peace. Surprisingly it was not very busy and the swimming conditions were just right for our little ones. Flora had the greatest time hanging out with her cousin (and idol) Elin. They splashed around in the water together all afternoon. My cousin Tish came were her two year old son and it was the perfect time for us to catch up.

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All the little cousins got to play together. Thibault loved playing in the sand, but also exploring the water with us. There was a raft of nesting loons roped off near the swimming area. I couldn’t believe. It was like seeing a rare species up close! The Mama and Papa protecting the little raft and nest the National Park created for them. It was truly an amazing thing to see.

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The day ended with dinner at Jordan Pond. Popovers were a must, of course. And for the grand finale— wild blueberry crisp with Jordan Pond vanilla ice cream. Definitely the best tasting thing I ate on this entire vacation! Maine blueberries have such a unique taste. I savored every second of that dessert. Delicious!

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Acadia, Maine– Sand Beach

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I want to write a series of short posts about our trip to Maine, New England, and N.Y. We did a lot in 3 week, perhaps too much. At some point Jaap said, “Maybe this trip was a bit too ambitious.” I agree and I blame myself completely. But, it’s done, we survived, and we have some great memories to think back upon.

One thing we learned on this trip, our kids love the beach. There was a lot of swimming these past three weeks. Flora is motivated now! I have to thank Grandma for this. Flora listens to her in the water and takes risks. On our last day in Acadia we went to Sand Beach. I thought we would do a quick stop and stay for 30 minutes, but we spent a good chuck of time there. The kids were having so much fun and the setting is incredible.

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They loved running in and out of the water with the tide and also just sitting and playing in the sand. The water is absolutely freezing and with the exception of a few, the only people in the water are kids and teenagers running in and out screaming. It’s a hilarious sight and such a joy to see all of these families having an exhilarating time.

This water was cold enough for even Thibault to take pause. But, given the chance— he would have run in by himself. It was the perfect way to end our stay in Acadia.