Saturday, July 4, 2015

Amsterdam: 3 steps in the "correct" way to drink beer!

After a really fun (and fattening) flight to Europe, I was so excited to make it to Amsterdam! It was my first time to visit the famous destination. I was struck by the beauty of the Netherlands' capital city, and it felt amazing to view in person the historic buildings that I have only seen before in movies.

Amsterdam from the air

My sister, Alicia, and her daughter, Elizabeth, drove in from Germany to meet my husband, Nathan, and me. We spent the first day being complete tourists!

We did stroll through the "red light district," but we didn't make too big of a deal about it since Elizabeth is only seven years old. I did spy three young ladies with rollers in their hair, and assumed they were, *ahem*, ladies of the district.  ;)  

The first stop for us after a long, HOT walk through town, was the Van Gogh Museum. I enjoyed learning about the master painter's life and struggles, and it was wonderful to see so many of his pieces in one place.

One of Van Gogh's many self-portraits... ears still intact

Next stop was the Heineken Experience, and it was SO interactive! I don't have enough to describe it, but it was educational and entertaining. You walk through the historic brewery, and learn about the beer brewing process plus the history of the brand. 

I was so impressed by how much there was to do, and how fun they made it. There was even a room that was almost a "ride," but not really. You are supposedly beer that is going through the process of being brewed. It was like one of those 4D cinemas that move and spray water and air at you, kind of like the Soarin' ride at Disney's Epcot. That was my favorite part!

This lady talked us through each ingredient that makes Heineken unique-- she said it's all about the "A" strand of yeast, which is still only used today by the company

Then they teach you the "proper" way to drink beer in order to get the best taste. Here it is in 3 steps:

1. Swirl and smell your beer-- just like with wine, it helps you better appreciate it. Then go in for the drink...
2. Tip your glass (or stein) far back with a firm hand.
3. Take a big swig! If you take sips, you are drinking the bitter foam at the top.

Nathan's happy face after finishing his beer samples-- I don't even like beer, but I confess that I drank some just to say I did. The Experience is REALLY GOOD MARKETING!

Elizabeth and her traditional Dutch pancake, served with syrup and powdered sugar

After the Experience, we wandered around the city a little bit more before heading back to the hotel. Nathan had to head back in to work, so my sister, niece and I explored Amsterdam on our own the second day.

Westerkerk Church

 Lovely canals wind throughout the city

 Obsessed with the Anne Frank House, but the line was more than 3 hours long and we didn't have time for it-- my sister went before, and said it is worth the visit

So pretty!

We stepped into the Amsterdam Tulip Museum, but it was burning up hot inside, so we immediately left. This part of Europe is experiencing a "heat wave," although I'm from Louisiana and Florida so this is nothing to me. However, I am indeed saddened that most places don't have air conditioning! 

We loved the Amsterdam Cheese Museum, which helps you "relive the experience of cheese-making" and allows you to taste the "unique flavor of the best cheese in Holland." It was so much fun to read about making cheese!

Say "cheese," please! #CheeseSelfie

I was all excited to taste the raw milk flavors-- I ended up purchasing the Truffle style

My sister likes the iconic Delftware, so we peeked into one of those stores

After a wonderful two days, my sister, niece and I left and made our way five hours south to her home in Germany. I'm throwing in a couple of village photos, because these are ALL over the country! My sister says they're called "bergs"... she lives in Weselberg, one of these tiny villages (population: 1,340). The view is AMAZING. Country living!

Have you ever been to Europe? What parts did you visit? Comment below, and let me know! Thanks for reading, as always.  :)

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