Oh my gosh, we had a blast. It was our first time in Europe; we took a river cruise from Amsterdam, The Netherlands to Basel, Switzerland. The draw of the cruise was to visit the Christmas Markets" which are a standard in every village and town in Europe, I swear!
LOVED the architecture and the canals of Amsterdam!
EVERYONE rides a bike! The road in front of the "bike lot?" THEY ARE BIKE LANES! The city is totally and completely designed for bike traffic.
This is a rotten picture, but it is of the beginning of the "red light" district. Prostitution has been legal in Amsterdam since 1500. The Dutch decided to regulate and control it rather than fight it. Whenever you see a red light, there's a woman in the window in various stages of undress. When the curtain is closed she is with a "customer." We walked through the city during the day and at night. You aren't allowed to take pictures of the girls but you KNOW TC had to document that we were there.
Then it was off to Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
Loved this statue in memory of the Jews who had been rounded up and exterminated in WWII.
Of course, marijuana is legal in the Netherlands. It is sold in "coffeeshops". Our guide took us into one but NO, I didn't inhale!! (Or buy, either. But a huge joint, about 5" long sells for about $7.50. Again, the practical Netherlanders don't want to bother legislating morality. They'd rather legalize and tax it!)
How cool is this? a "gutter" going up the stairs to help people walk their bikes up!
The Cathedral in Cologne, Germany was amazing! It was started in 1248 and finished around 1880. Can you imagine?? over 600 years to build! It's Germany's largest cathedral.
Brass commemoration plates outside of a house indicating that these three Jews were taken forcibly from their homes on the date indicated. They are all over Europe. I've always been very interested in WWII so seeing this in person was very moving.
The Christmas market outside the cathedral in Mainz, Germany.
typical architecture, with the cobblestone streets we saw EVERYWHERE!
Windows of the Cathedral were destroyed in WWII so they had new ones designed by Marc Chagall. Aren't they beautiful?
We visited Heidelberg, home of one of Europe's grandest castles (started in 1155) and oldest universities (where Martin Luther defended his 95 Theses in 1518)
I could continue on, but I bet you are as tired reading as I am of uploading these pictures! Suffice it to say it was a great trip, full of amazingly ancient history (compared with the U.S.), incredible architecture, and wonderful people. All I can really say about the trip is that it makes me want to go back and do it all again, at a slower pace in greater detail!
Tomorrow starts my new 10-week BTS challenge, so back to the business of weight loss.