Thursday, June 23, 2011

Full Circle

Life has a way of moving along so peacefully. A quiet stroll along the railroad tracks of life can bring a family closer together--just watch the progression.
It starts off so beautifully...

but wait...this interesting developement has disaster written all over it. OK--maybe it's not sooo bad--at least if we have the proper amount of support.

Ooooh! What have we here? An added element of danger is creeping in to menace the unsuspecting innocents.

hmmm, they don't seem to mind
...or do they? This doesn't seem quite as fun as I thought it was going to be. What happened to all of that peace, love and happiness and why the freak does she keep dunking freezing, cold water all over me? What the...????
Ahhhh! Balance RESTORED! All is once again good in the world.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Amsterdam-City of Contrasts

Oh Amsterdam,what an amazing city you are--in so many different ways.So quaint and perty with the canals crisscrossing the city and the row houses lined up on either side showing off all of that gorgeous art deco stylings. Your beautiful flowers and yummy open air markets. Your friendly people and incredible art. Your Anne Franks and Ahhh yes, and then of course you have all that good pot and infamous red-light district. There is just something so amusing to have so much history and culture mixed in with so much...what do I call it?

A trip to the market was a must. Just look at all of those different shrooms. Elsewhere I'm pretty sure there would be nothing but food on the mind but I learned that in Amsterdam--nothing is as innocent as it seems.

Mmmm, the bread was heavenly!

So are the Cannabis lolly's---or so I'm told.

We tried to get some bulbs to bring home but they have to be very particular to make it through customs on the way home. Aren't they gorgeous?

Oooh! The Cheese is to die for! I'd love to take a hunk just about this size home with me. Instead all we could manage was a piddly pounder of pesto cheese--but oh man was it ever yummy!

It is true about the bikes in Amsterdam--crazy and all over the place. This was one of my particular favorites.

We stopped for a bit to people watch in the large, central square. We got to see birds crap on people's hands that were crazy-ie. dumb-enough to feed them from their hands.

We even got to see Spiderman get busted by the cops! Usually in the main town squares all over Europe you'll have one or two funny "statue" people waiting for a handout. Here, in this square, there were probably 20 of them all over the place with all kinds of costumes on. Waiting for all of those sucker tourists to get a picture or something.

Sad! Italians get to be known for gelato (ice cream) and the Americans get to be known for what? Hot dogs--from a can no less!

If I happened to be a drinker, I might have brought this idea home to Moscow. I'm pretty sure that we could make a fortune here in this bike happy, college town. If you look close up on the bridge (click on the pict. to make it bigger) you'll notice a big long bar with stools along both sides. Every seat just happens to have pedals to go along with it. They call it a "Beerbike". Whenever you want a drink you just hop on and everyone starts pedaling. It's a mobile bar on wheels. Talk about drinking and driving!

Took a boat ride along the canals. Loved all of the bridges and funky architecture there. A lot of modern mixed in with very 17th century.

Dinner was "typical Dutch". and we loved it. Very delish!

Then came all of the "after-dinner" entertainment. I'm pretty sure that we should have probably gotten back to the hotel before the sun went down.----Cause truth be known, it's not just the red-light district that you have to worry about. Just about any street in town can have a little surprise waiting for your unsuspecting eyes behind street-level glass doors. Let's just say that they DO NOT leave much to your imagination.

Anyone need to do a little "family planning"? I have to admit, We laughed for quite a while about these babies. SERIOUSLY??? We thought about getting the Eiffel tower one--just for a souvineer. Rats, too bad they were already closed.

This is definitely as close to the red-light district as my camera was going to get. But let me tell you----They call it a red light--for a reason. When I picked my jaw up off the floor I couldn't help but be so incredibly sad by this whole scene. They say that it is all in the name of "freedom". Freedom/liberty, has never been for those who take it as a license to do anything that they want to. Sadly, someday, these snares that people deliberately walk into--just because they can--will spring shut, and they will have a heck of a time getting out again--to enjoy real freedom.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Final Tidbits of London

I loved the British Museum! You could get lost in there for days and still not be able to see everything. The mummies and coffins were fascinating. This mummy was from about 700 BC. It was preserved so well. They took great pains to insure that the facial features remained intact. They would even wind thread around the finger nails and small bones to keep them intact. Even the hair was preserved. Amazing!

I thought these were so neat. The detail work on both these wooden pieces and the abalone jewelry was phenomenal. You can click on them to enlarge them and you will see what I'm talking about.

OK! Seriously, How cool are these fun "suitcase" bags made out of recycled mens suits? We were strolling through some fun shops near Drury lane and these caught my eye. They were selling for about 38 pounds (apx. $75) I wonder if something like that would sell at the farmers market?

I always get a chuckle out of the statue men. It seems they are in all of the main tourist squares all around the world. (except for maybe Tiannenmen Square)

It was kind of interesting to see this big ol' battleship just hangin' out in the Thames. I'm honestly not sure if its some sort of naval museum now or if it is a real, working battleship. I guess that gives you a little perspective as to how big the Thames is.

It seems that EVERYONE smokes in Europe these days. Maybe that's why we got a kick out of the huge anti-smoking messages on the back of all the cartons of cigarrettes. We were strolling along the Thames and found this under the famous London Bridge that you can see in the background. We couldn't resist the photo-op.

The round building with the thatched roof is the globe theater that Shakespeare had all of his plays performed in. We didn't have time to visit but it was kind of fun to see it anyway.

Finally, you have London by night. I didn't have a tripod for this shot but it's still kind of fun. That is the London Eye on the left with the houses of Parliament and Big Ben across the river on the right.