We arrived early morning in Amsterdam after a long red-eye flight. We jumped on the train straight from the airport into the center of town. We could have walked across the street to our hotel but instead, we had a taxi take us to the wrong hotel driving way past ours. We finally figured it out and got checked into the Marriott right across the street from the train station. We put our things in the room, freshened up and walked around chilly Amsterdam.
Amsterdam is such a cute historical city…and the canals make it so charming. It was clearly fall, the trees were bare and the air crisp. We walked around the canals looking for some food, and ran into a place called Harlem. It was an old-fashioned pub/restaurant. We sat down and ordered a couple of beers, soup and sandwich…the food was good and it was nice to get warmed up.
After lunch we meandered through the various canals…stopping to take pictures and shop in the little boutiques. We picked up some chocolate from the chocolate shop and stopped at another pub for a pint. We also stumbled into a Pandora store and found a lion charm to add to my “around the world” charm bracelet!
After shopping and walking around all day…we found our way over to the Grasshopper, a well-known restaurant/coffee shop. We relaxed there for a bit and then got lost trying to get back to our hotel…the streets looked different at night and we found ourselves walking in cold circles. Giff got pretty excited when he found a pink donut in the window of a bakery…last time we were in Amsterdam we also saw the pink donut, guess you had to be there. We finally figured out how the heck to get back, grabbed dinner at the hotel and then watched TV before bed. We were both pretty tired after not really getting much sleep on the plane.
Tomorrow we leave early for the airport…this Amsterdam stop was only a 24 hour layover but it was fun!
Published by Giff Kabat
I grew up in Ohio as a kid, so of course I went to college at “THE” Ohio State University. I graduated in 2001 with a major in business finance. A month after graduation, I moved out to California with my college girlfriend (whom I married in 2005)…and started my career in sales (industrial sales for 5 years…then moved into medical laser sales for 4 years).
In 2009 I was 31 years old. I had a great job, a new house, and a beautiful wife. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any better…my wife and I found out we were going to have a baby. Everything was going according to plan…and I couldn’t have scripted a better life for myself.
Then in the same year…everything changed. My wife, Brandey, called me when I was on my way to work and told me over the phone, something I never thought could be possible in a million years. My beautiful 30-year old pregnant wife was just told that she had breast cancer. At that moment, everything stopped all at once. I immediately went to her…and learned of our new plan…which began with her needing surgery immediately…and the rest we would find out later.
The day we returned from the hospital after Brandey’s surgery…my father died. He had been battling an aggressive cancer of his own…and although he was the one person I wanted to speak with about Brandey having cancer…I never told him. My sister, Brooke, had just gotten married a few months ago, and although he was weak, he was able to walk his little girl down the aisle of her wedding. On the night before my sister’s wedding, Brandey and I told him that we were pregnant and about to make him a grandfather. It made no sense to tell him that everything had changed for us…so he died in peace knowing everything was “the way it should be” for his only 2 children.
2010 was the worst year of my life. We had lost our baby…and for 12 months I watched my wife fight cancer with multiple surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation treatments, and drug therapy. It was a difficult year for us…but we made it. When you go through something like this in life, you learn a lot about yourself and the people around you. I was amazed at the strength and courage of my wife…and how many good people there are in this world. I will be forever grateful for the ones who never ceased to amaze me with their kindness during this hard time. Family, friends, and sometimes complete strangers…helped us make it through this. I am, and will always be especially grateful to my mother, who was with my dad at the very end, when I couldn’t be there, and when things were at their worst. She has been so supportive throughout all of this, and without her everything would have been so much harder for me.
It’s 2011 now…and the plan we have for our life this year…is to make it the best year of our lives. Brandey is officially in remission from breast cancer and she has a 95% chance the cancer will never come back. Besides the love that I have for my wife and family, the loves of my life are food, wine, and adventure travel. My wife and I love traveling to new places, seeing natural wonders, and meeting new people from different parts of the world. So for the next 400 days…we’ve decided to travel the world…and celebrate our lives. There are so many things I took for granted in life that I will never take for granted again. My father worked for over 30 years at the same job with the same company…rarely took time off…and died at 64 years old right after his retirement. For me, this trip is a combination of a tribute to him, along with wanting to spend the time of my life with the “love of my life.”
* The only thing I will miss while we are gone is our family and friends (who we hope will meet us somewhere throughout our trip) and especially our 3 little kitties we left with my mom in Ohio to catsit for the next 400 days. I will also miss watching “American Football” over the weekend…but I’ll do my best to check the scores in the middle of the night.
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One Reply to “Day 363 of 400: Amsterdam – Netherlands”
“…the Grasshopper”, “…restaurant/coffee shop”, “…got lost trying to get back to our hotel…the streets looked different at night…walking in…circles.”, “Giff got pretty excited when he found a pink donut…last time we were in Amsterdam we also saw the pink donut…”. The paragraph of this last post is hilarious. I love Amsterdam!