Honeymoon!

I finally uploaded a mini-album of our honeymoon to flickr. I’m almost at my capacity with photos here on the free account so I am switching to Flickr as my photo storage.

Our honeymoon was 9 days in Amsterdam with trips around the Netherlands and a day trip to Bruges, Belgium. We had an EURail pass, which was really great.

We went to the Netherlands specifically for the Tulip Festival. The tulips are in bloom all across Holland from mid-April to mid-May. There is also a parade where the floats are made with flowers and tulip bulbs on April 23rd that goes from Noordwijk to Haarlem. We flew into Amsterdam on April 23 on an overnight flight with plans to meet the parade at some point. We were exhausted, though, and crashed only to emerge from the hotel room around 7pm. Luckily, all the floats were on display in Haarlem on the 24th!

That first day we managed to get out to dinner at Wagamama and see the I am Amsterdam sign in Museum square.

I am Amsterdam

Andie is in Amsterdam!

Dale is in Amsterdam!

The next day we went to Haarlem and saw a bunch of flower floats and a Glockenspiel. I also found a sewing shop! It was closed. 😦

Glockenspiel

Flower floats in Haarlem

Haarlem sewing shop

That night we had a wicked dinner at Baut Zuidas.

Dinner at Baut in Amsterdam

We visited Rotterdam and saw the cube houses and giant babies everywhere. I got some glutenfree stroopwafels there!

Baby overlord in Haarlem

Cube houses in Roterdam

On King’s Day in Amsterdam, we walked around the city and got apple tart drinks and macarons. The entire city was filled with people selling things on the side of the street and, in Vondelpark, it was all children selling things.

Macarons in Amsterdam

Vondelpark Gate in Amsterdam

We went to Keukenhof Gardens, a massive tulip garden only open during the Tulip Festival. It had 32 hectares of flowers!

Keukenhof Gardens

Keukenhof Gardens

Unfortunately, we didn’t have the best weather while there. It was cold and raining almost every day. It prompted me to buy this hat!

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I look adorable in it, though.

We went to Utrecht for Lapjesmarkt. I wrote about that in this post.

We visited Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. My favourite exhibit was the Breitner exhibit for his Girl in a Kimono series. It was gorgeous and they even had two kimonos that Gessje Kwak, his model, wore for the paintings.

Breitner's Girl in a Kimono series

The kimono Gessje Kwak wore to model for Breitner

My favourite painting to see in person was Vermeer‘s The Milkmaid. I teared up seeing it. It’s a beautiful beautiful painting and positively glows in real life.

Vermeer's The Milkmaid

We took a day trip to Bruges, Belgium with our rail pass. The town has canals, like Amsterdam, but is completely different in look. It’s a UNESCO world heritage site and was really amazing to see.

Bruges, Belgium

Bruges, Belgium

And of course, there is Belgium chocolate and waffles there. 😉

Chocolate shop in Bruges, Belgium

Belgium Waffle in Belgium!

For lunch there, we went to De Wijngaert and had duck and kangaroo. It was incredibly tasty.

Lunch in Bruges

After 9 days in Netherlands, we got onto the Celebrity Silhouette for our Baltic Sea Cruise for the next 12 days. My husband’s wonderful family got us the cruise as a wedding gift. Dale’s cousin works aboard the ship and we got spoiled rotten.

Our stateroom aboard the Celebrity Silhouette

Celebrity Cruises treats their guests well

We went on a couple of tours of the ship, as well. My favourite part of the tour was the mooring room. It was neat to learn about how the ship is attached to the dock. It’s also one of the more, if not the most, dangerous jobs on the ship since those lines can snap and, if you are in the way, you get snapped in half, too.

A selfie in the mooring room aboard the Celebrity Silhouette

We lucked out with weather while on the cruise. It was 12 days straight of sunshine and warm temperatures! The sea was incredibly calm the entire time, except for the very last day, but even that wasn’t too bad.

A lovely sunset on the Baltic Sea

Our first stop was in Rostock, Germany. We took a tour to Schwerin, which is about an hour bus ride from Rostock. We visited the Duke’s Castle there.

Duke's Palace in Schwerin, Germany

Next up, after a day at sea, was Tallinn, Estonia. I was incredibly brave there. I am terrified of heights, but I climbed the old city wall and looked over the city. It was beautiful at first and then the adrenaline wore off and I was terrified. Look how high up it is.

The old wall around Tallinn, Estonia

To other people, that’s probably nothing, but I get scared standing on a chair.

Looking over the tops of the buildings from the wall:

Tallinn, Estonia

There was a gorgeous church in the centre of Tallinn.

Tallinn, Estonia

After Tallinn, we had two days in St. Petersburg, Russia. We took a 2-day tour and visited….

The Hermitage Museum, where I saw two paintings by Da Vinci:

Selfie at the Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia

St. Isaac’s Cathedral where the interior was covered in beautiful paintings and mosaics:

St. Isaac's Cathedral, St. Petersburg

The Church of the Spilled Blood where we saw tourists outside taking pictures with live owls and a person playing the cello:

Church of the Spilled Blood in St. Petersburg Russia

Catherine’s Palace where I decided I wanted to live and that I am in love with Catherine:

Catherine's Palace, Russia

Peterhof where we saw 100s of fountains and spied our cruise ship across the Baltic Sea in St. Petersburg:

Peterhof in St. Petersburg

After Russia, we visited Helsinki and took a boat tour of the islands and walked around the market and some of the city streets. I loved Helsinki and would absolutely go back.

Love in Helsinki

Helsinki, Finland

Dale bought me gorgeous pendant for my necklace there.

Showing off the necklace I got in Helsinki

And you can see how sunny it was, because I was burnt after several days of sightseeing. I bought sunscreen in Helsinki!

The next day we were in Stockholm and it was probably my favourite stop on the cruise!

Stockholm, Sweden

The cruise into Stockholm was gorgeous and filled with beautiful pictures like this one above.

There was someone important visiting Stockholm and the palace had the guard out for a demonstration. We naturally assumed it was just for us. 😉

The Palace in Stockholm, Sweden

We took a boat tour in Stockholm. It’s just such a gorgeous city. We’re planning our trip back there already.

Stockholm, Sweden

After Stockholm, we had a much-needed day at sea and a day to rest up after four cities in five days! Next stop was Copenhagen, Denmark. We took a tour that included Christianborg Slot and Rosenborg Slot, but we also got to see the Little Mermaid statue.

Christianborg Slot where Dale found a velvet room he wants to take home:

Christianborg Slot, Copenhagen

The throne room at Christianborg Slot in Copenhagen

Rosenborg Slot, where we found our crowns:

Rosenborg Slot, Copenhagen

My crown and Dale's crown in Rosenborg slot, Copenhagen

And some jewels for me:

My jewels in Rosenborg Slot, Copenhagen

The interesting thing about the crowns and jewels is that they are all property of Denmark and have to be loaned out to the Queen of Denmark and she isn’t allowed to take them out of the country.

The Little Mermaid statue:

The Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen

Denmark was our last stop on the cruise. Then we had one more day at sea and one more day in the Netherlands and flew back on May 15th. Our last day was spent in Utrecht. I already told you about the first visit to Utrecht for the Lapjesmarkt, but we weren’t able to look around anymore since I threw my shoulder out. I am still having trouble with it and am working with my chiropractor. Basically, I rotated it too far (thanks super bendy limbs!) and pulled ligaments…ouch.

I was glad to get a chance to see Utrecht two weeks after the first visit! We visited an old water tower, took a stroll by Oudegracht, an old curved canal, and stood under the Dom Tower, the tallest belfry in the Netherlands.

An old water tower in Utrecht, Netherlands

Utrecht, Netherlands

Utrecht, Netherlands

It was an amazing three weeks. I stood in places that were created hundreds of years ago and was surrounded by incredible riches and amazing history. I saw such beautiful things.

It does feel good to be back in Canada, though, but I am already thinking of another trip to Europe and our next cruise… 😉

You check out even more pictures in the flickr album.

Fabric Market in Utrecht, Netherlands

The one sewing-related thing I needed to do while in the Netherlands was visit the Saturday fabric market in Utrecht. The market runs every Saturday and takes up a road in the town. It’s called the Lapjesmarkt in dutch. I also wanted to get to Kantjes Boord, a lingerie fabric store in Amsterdam, but decided that my suitcase was full of enough fabric and I should save my money for the Baltic sea cruise. I also came across fabric stores in Estonia of locally made linen, but couldn’t see a print that grabbed me. There was wool yarn in Estonia and in Finland as well that was incredibly tempting and I am kicking myself for not grabbing a skein. It was so soft.

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Utrecht is a gorgeous city with canals and a university. Bikes are everywhere in the Europe so you’ll see a ton in my pictures.

Lapjesmarkt was amazing and I brought home just over 25 metres of fabric. It was enough for me.

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The street is lined with covered stalls that sell any type of fabric you can imagine. Cotton lycra was in abundance, as well as quilting cotton, but there was also a bunch of home textiles, leather and suede, silk, denim, etc. There were also vendors that sold zippers, thread, buttons, and other things. Everything I bought was quilting cotton, cotton lycra, or stretch denim. The prices are really decent even with the exchange rate in comparison to what is available for me here in Canada. We do pay a bit of a premium in Canada, but I also haven’t seen a lot of the prints available online in the USA or in store for less.

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Here’s the fabric I bought!

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1.5 metres each of quilting cotton (6 metres total). I got the quilting cotton to make a commemorative quilt for the trip. I plan on making a rag quilt and just need to get some solid colours and the quilt batting.

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2 metres of stretch denim. It is lightweight and will make a perfect shirt dress. It has little deer on it and stars.

I went nuts with the cotton lycra. Here in Canada, we seem to have a lack of good quality cotton lycra. I went nuts with all the choices. Originally, I set myself a budget of 100 euros and, in my excitement, I exceeded that by 80 euros. Ooops!

Here is all the cotton lycra:

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2 metres each of the glasses/bow ties and the fox/squirrels, 1.5 metres each of the feathers, bunnies, and giraffes, 1.4 metres (end of the roll) of the digital cats in crowns, 1 metre each of the pinapples and cherries, 3 metres of the flamingos, 2.3 metres of the jellyfish (end of the roll).

I have plans for Concord t-shirts, a Colette Myrtle maxi dress, Barrie Briefs, and much more. I can’t wait to start sewing.

After fabric shopping, we had breakfast at Cafe de Journal.

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Then unfortunately we had to return to the hotel because I messed up my shoulder carting around the heavy fabric. On the last day of our trip, though, we came back to Utretcht and saw more of the sights. It was a great last day. More on that later and the highlights of the trip. I thought I would post about the wonderful fabric market first since you will be seeing a bunch of this fabric very soon!