Dan’s Adventure with Scott [written by Dan]
Living abroad often means less time with family, so when I learned that my brother Scott was coming to Turin for a medical conference, I could not pass up the opportunity for a brothers weekend! I took Friday off from work and arrived in Turin late Friday morning. Scott had arrived two hours earlier and was waiting out front with our rental car.
The weather on Friday was great, so we spent the afternoon exploring the city and of course having some gelato! The architecture in Turin is very beautiful, with white stone buildings and the traditional orange clay roofs. There are also miles of arcaded sidewalks with beautiful archways, pillars and marble floors.
Saturday morning we woke up early and headed north toward the Alps! After a beautiful 1.5 hour drive through the mountains, winding valleys and many tunnels, we arrived at the foot of Matterhorn mountain in the little ski village of Cervino. Unfortunately the clouds were clinging to the peak, blocking the view. We still had a great time exploring the village, and to our surprise the slopes were still open. Scott and I both love to ski, so had we known, we would come prepared for some skiing (maybe next time!)
We had lunch in the nearby village of Courmayeur which sits at the foot of Mont Blanc, the tallest mountain in the Alps. Again the clouds kept the view of the peak hidden, but there was still plenty surrounding mountains in full view. After wandering the village, and some delicious pizza for lunch, we decided to pop over to France for a couple hours. Mont Blanc is on the French-Italian border and an 11 km tunnel under the mountain connects the two countries. Just across the border is Chamonix. It’s another beautiful ski village, and was by far my favorite from those we visited. The village is surrounded by snowcapped mountains on all sides and is full of restaurants, shops, and charming alpine architecture.
On Sunday, Scott and I wandered over to Juventus Stadium (Italian league soccer).
Tickets had sold out online, so our plan was to try and buy tickets from someone near the stadium. When we arrived, Scott surprised me with tickets that he had purchased weeks before. What an awesome surprise! We got to see a great game and had an awesome experience.
Scott spent time at his conference in the afternoon, but later that evening we went out for some Italian pizza, which is one of my absolute favorite foods. The place we picked did not disappoint, and was probably the best pizza I’ve ever had!
Monday morning I went for a run along the Po River which runs through Turin. The weather Monday was warm and sunny and it was a perfect morning for a run. Afterwards, Scott and I did some sightseeing and in the afternoon Scott gave a presentation on his cancer research at the conference. I wasn’t able to attend, but I was happy to hear that his speech went really well. I’m very proud of all that he has accomplished!
Later in the afternoon we wanted to take advantage of the good weather, so we headed south toward the coast. After about an hour drive we reached the Italian Riveria, just in time to enjoy the last few hours of sunlight and explore the small coastal town of Alassio. We capped the night off with an awesome seafood dinner at a restaurant right along the water.
Tuesday morning we were up bright and early to catch our flights home. It was sad to say goodbye, but I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend or a better brother to spend it with!
Kirsten’s Adventure in Amsterdam [written by Kirsten]
How lucky am I? I have my best friend [since we were like 8 years old] living over in London now! This means there will be many blog posts to come with the Glaser/Ives clan [#glaserivesadventures]. As Dan was off with Scott for the long bank holiday, I was fortunate enough to be able to join Kent and Erin in Amsterdam. Kent was a total trooper as he was totally the 3rd wheel on this trip 😉 😉 We took the Eurostar – which again is my favourite way to travel through Europe. It’s so much more efficient than flying!
We totally hit the jackpot with weather – it was really sunny and warm [-er than London] all weekend. On Saturday, we headed out to Keukenhof for their world famous, once-a-year, Tulip festival. This was pretty exciting for me, as Dan went to Hope College in Holland, Michigan, I was used to “Tulip Time” there – and was pretty pumped to see the real thing! And this blew Michigan’s Tulip Time out of the water! The tulips were breathtaking – and it was done in such an artistic way. The whole place smelled so fresh and lovely. It was great to be able to experience this and see God’s beauty in this form.
After Keukenhof, we started wandering the city. We made pit stops for some yummy treats and went souvenir shopping through the Floating Flower Market [Bloemenmarkt]. We loaded up on tulip bulbs and wooden shoe knick-nacks. It was a really cool market – however, I’m not sure if it was really floating. And it was SO busy, it was hard to really enjoy it.
That evening, we had a booking at a restaurant called Moeder’s. Moeder = Mother in Dutch!
This ended up being our favourite meal of the trip. Here is my Yelp! review:
This place is such a gem. The concept behind a mother’s kitchen is just beautiful. The minute you walk in and see the walls covered with photos of mothers – you feel like you’re at home. The service was spectacular- all of the staff was incredibly kind and was accommodating to our English. The group of 3 of us did our ordering family style, and shared a variety of dishes on the menu. Everything was incredible. And the Dutch Apple Pie for dessert is not to miss!!!
That evening after dinner, we were able to meet up with some friends from London who were also visiting Amsterdam. It was fun to see everyone in a different city!
Sunday was another beautiful day in Amsterdam. And we needed it – as we were going on a 4.5 hour bike ride through the countryside! This was by far my favourite thing we did on the trip. I love riding bikes already – and add the beautiful Dutch countryside to the mix – and I’m happy! And it was pretty awesome that the three of us got the prettiest bikes of the group 🙂 The tour took us through some amazing neighbourhoods of Amsterdam, beautiful parks and all along the Amstel, to a beautiful windmill and then out through the countryside. The turn around point was a cheese farm and clog factory out in Amstelveen. It was fun to see the process of how Dutch Gouda Cheese was made and the process for how they make their famous clogs [Klomp]. The farmer was, as the tour guide called it, “eccentric” – and it was a lot of fun.
After a long day of bike riding, we met up with our friend Scott and took a relaxing boat ride through the canals.
The weather was absolutely perfect for this! It was nice to lay out on a boat and enjoy the city views!
We had another lovely Dutch dinner that evening, and went to bed relatively early that night, as we were exhausted from our long bike ride.
Monday was our last day in Amsterdam before we took the train back to London in the early afternoon. Amsterdam was fun for a few days – but I was more then ready to get back to London. Amsterdam’s lack of morals and rules was too overwhelming for me. I quickly learned how much I like rules and order 😉 We had a great time in Amsterdam and on our first trip together. Next weekend we’re going to Prague together – with Dan this time :)!