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The last 10 days have gone by in a hurry and I’m really hoping the next 10 take their time. After all, that’s exactly what a vacation is for – slowing down, relaxing, letting the minutes and hours tick by at a leisurely pace. Here’s a quick recap on what’s kept me busy of late and where I’m headed.

Last week Friday a couple of friends from the US arrived just in time for Queen’s Day (koninginnedag). Wanting to take advantage of having a free place to stay and resident tour guide, we started talking last year about a potential visit. When they said they’d like to come in April or May, I immediately recommended they come for one of the best weekends this country has to offer. One can’t describe Queen’s Day, it’s just something you have to experience. In a few words: orange, boats, people, rammed, fun.

I had assumed they would want to relax or nap to recover from the jet lag their first day here. Boy was I wrong! Instead they wanted to immediately get on Europe time so we spent the day walking with a few breaks at Dutch cafes finishing the evening with a canal cruise. Saturday and Sunday were equally as much walking and sightseeing covering most of the city center and a trip to the windmills in Zaanse Schans. That brings us to Monday, Queen’s Day. I didn’t have a connection this year with a boat and wanted to get a feel for the whole city so we walked from the center down to Rembrandtplein, Museumplein, Vondelpark, then back up through the canals. As great as it was to walk around and see the markets and events around the city, the canals are still my favorite place to take in this holiday. There’s just nothing like it.

My visitors left early Tuesday morning and I had the day off work to recover. Thank goodness! It was great to have them here, to show them around, and to give them a taste of life here. But after four days of walking an average of 8 miles a day I was wiped out. I spent most of Tuesday in bed recovering. Wednesday was back to work and on Thursday my mom arrived for her visit. Yesterday was relaxing and in the evening I introduced her to my closest friends in Amsterdam over an Indonesian rijsttafel dinner.

Today, Friday, we’re off on our 10 day vacation! We fly to Venice this afternoon and tomorrow board our cruise. Venice, Italy to Dubrovnik, Croatia to Athens, Greece to Izmir, Turkey to Split, Croatia and back to Venice. If you asked me my ideal vacation I probably wouldn’t respond with “a cruise” but for the two of us I think this is going to be perfect. Out in the middle of the sea with no telephones and no internet, intentionally disconnecting from the world for a week. Relaxing on the ship, lazily touring the ports, enjoying spa treatments while at sea, spending time winding down. Once again, I feel like this vacation is perfectly timed and that it is exactly what I need to refresh and recharge.

So, goodbye for 10 days. I plan to be back with stories, adventures and photos to share with you.