Amsterdam holds a very special place in my heart, for two very specific reasons. Firstly, I did my MA in Amsterdam for a glorious year. Although we didn't really integrate into the Dutch society (although I have Dutch acquaintances, Holland is notoriously difficult to integrate into as an expat, so foreigners often stick together), I made some amazing friends from right next door (literally, two girls from my hometown who I had never met previously) to friends from the UK, Canada, Germany and Austria, to name a few. Most of my friends who lived with me in Amsterdam have now left (save one who moved to The Hague and one who has a Dutch mother and still lives in Amsterdam), but I was able to see two of my girls from that year.
The second big reason I love Amsterdam (despite the fact that it is GORGEOUS) is that I study Anne Frank. My PhD thesis/dissertation (depending on what country you're from) is on Anne and I teach a course on Anne Frank. Her diary has always been special to me since I was a little girl, so it's a wonderful honor to be able to not just study her but to be able to go into the archives at the Anne Frank Huis.
My visit to Amsterdam was short and sweet (and my boyfriend got to join me for the last two days), but I am itching to go back.
|A bicycle built for four on Herengracht|
|Our hotel for the last night. We had to go into the kitchen to get to our room!|
|Delftware on display in The Hague|
|Amsterdam....I LOVE YOU|
YorkYorkshire is one of my favorite places, mostly for literary reasons. The Secret Garden and Jane Eyre were two of my favorites growing up and just being in Yorkshire makes me feel a little more like I've stepped into a Victorian gothic novel.
During my time in York, Luke and I stayed in the city centre near the edge of one of the city walls. We were able to bring Eugene (my shih tzu) with us, which was a huge treat. He stayed in our hotel room and slept on the bed. Luke went home, I went to explore Darlington and Richmond in Yorkshire and then I stayed with a good friend of mine, Hannah, who goes to school in York.
|View from the top of the Keep in the Richmond Castle|
|View from inside the Richmond Castle|
|Luke on the York city walls|
|Me looking positively evil at the York Castle Museum|
|Hannah in the York Castle Museum|
|York Castle Museum's Victorian street|
|Royal Georgian Theatre in Richmond|
|Richmond Castle ruins|
|Richmond Castle gardens|
|Keep of the old York Castle where 150 Jews died in 1190|
|Euge and Luke pulling away from London King's Cross|
Beauty Finds in Amsterdam and YorkFor some reason, I've always been able to get almost all of my beauty products from Bath and Body Works, despite the fact that I live 3,000 miles from the closet outlet. However, as I've now entered into the world of sugar scrub and am venturing out in lotions, I've made some awesome discoveries.
I was never a huge fan of the Body Shop, but I went in there to get a sugar scrub I could take on the road. Instead, I fell in love with one of their signature scents, and it is available in the UK, US, Holland...pretty much everywhere. As the British would say: RESULT. I bought a €15 tub of lotion (I KNOW) after they gave me a sample of it in store, and I'm in love with the Cocoa Butter.
|Perfect scent for those who like a touch of sweetness without overpowering|
I had gotten things there before as gifts, but never for myself. So, this time I decided to throw some caution to the wind and buy something for myself.
|What did I get?|
LondonEugene and I passed through London back on our way home from York. I was dead tired, but a friend from college and fellow sorority sister was in town, so we had a salad from Chop'd and a brief catch up. I couldn't stay too long because I was about to fall over, but it was surely nice to see a familiar face after all of these years.
To be honest, it was a bit jarring how American her accent seemed to me, when before it had always just been the way everyone from home talked. I'm assimilating....this is scary!