29 June 2014

#SundayTraveler: Scenic Prince Edward Island - Our First Trip

Mark and I celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary tomorrow, and since I'm feeling all sentimental, I'm taking a look back at our honeymoon - and first trip together - on Prince Edward Island in 2007. (Go ahead and insert your "awww" here.)

Our honeymoon was the first trip that we planned by ourselves. I'll admit that I only had a vague sense of how to find a hotel and surrounding activities, but looking back as a more seasoned traveler, I think we did pretty well for the first time. We picked Price Edward Island because it was within reasonable driving distance from Massachusetts (where we got married) and because I had dreamed of visiting ever since reading the Anne of Green Gables series as a girl and falling in love with the descriptions of the landscape. Mark thought the idea sounded good, too, so off we set.

After arriving on Prince Edward Island (PEI), we had to check out some of the Anne of Green Gables-related locations in Cavendish. To start, we checked out the location of the home that Lucy Maud Montgomery lived in while a resident on PEI. Only a foundation of the house remained, but being a history nerd, I always appreciate just having a moment in a space where others have been.

From Montgomery's home, you can walk along a wooded path, the setting of the "Haunted Wood" in Anne of Green Gables, to the Green Gables house. The house and gardens were beautifully kept and rooms in the house were set up to reflect the descriptions in the books.

While the Anne-fans will enjoy the trips around the island to identify the places described in the novels, you really need to take in the breath-taking natural surroundings on the island. PEI is famous for it's brilliant, red soil caused by a high iron-oxide content. Driving around the island, it's hard to miss the bright contrast of the red and green of the crops growing on the farms or the island's amazing red cliffs.

And when traveling in the summer, the wild Lupines are in bloom all over the island. They are gorgeous and come in a stunning range of pinks, blues, purples, and white. As evidenced here, I really liked the Lupines...

We also took advantage of the free national parks on the island and spent a day exploring the woods and the beach. The island is small and easy to drive across, so you have your choice of beach to explore, and marked paths run through all the national parks. With a little bit of exploring, you can find some great lighthouses, docks, and nature. We were even lucky enough to come across a Lady Slipper growing along a path in the woods.

Now having blogged about this blast-from-the-past-trip, I should probably finish up the scrapbook I started for this trip six and a half years ago...

Have you been to Prince Edward Island? What were your favorite places/activities?

Today's post is part of the #SundayTraveler linkup hosted by Chasing the Donkey and friends. Please be sure to check out the other great posts!

24 June 2014

The Orange Explosion

Yes, Little Man and I DID make it back to the Netherlands! We had an interesting return and battle with jet lag for a few days after (that may have involved our being up entirely too long), but we're home and about as normal as we could hope to be.

But the surprising part about our return was the difference in level of care about the World Cup. When we left America, the pre-games had started, and notice barely registered as a blip on the American radar. We landed in the Netherlands, and it was like a giant canister of Tang had exploded over the whole country. There is a level of national pride that I've never seen here before - even with the excitement of a new king taking the throne last year - and it seems to be growing as the Dutch team has been winning.

It started with general decorating. For Koningsdag, you will see orange banners and assorted apparel for sale and up on certain houses, but for the World Cup, there are more people than you would expect participating. The house down the street that decorates seasonally is all oranged-out, but so is the house of the single guy that doesn't do anything at any time of the year. On game day, it's hard not to find someone wearing orange and clearing out of the work place or the grocery store to be in front of a screen in time for the start.

Football-shaped breads

Just two of many Hup Holland Hamsters, free at the grocery store
with your purchase of 15 euro or more.

And in between, there's been hardly a lull in the enthusiasm as the grocery stores advertise some other new and exciting addition to your game-day celebration. To be sure, coming from a country where football involves a funny-shaped ball, oversized pads, and crash helmets, the whole thing is a bit fascinating to watch.

So far, I feel like you can't help but be in a good mood with all the jolly orange decorations and happy fans. We'll see how long those feelings last as the games progress, but in the meantime, we're enjoying getting to be part of the action.

Are you watching the World Cup? Is it a big deal to anyone around you?

06 June 2014

A Quick Update From the US

Little Man and I have been back in the States now for 5 days. My first trans-Atlantic flight solo with Little Man went well enough, and he was a trooper keeping up as we ran through the Dublin airport to make an extra-tight connection after a delay of our first flight. We're mostly over the jet lag - though we're still waking up much earlier than I would care for...

Mostly, we've been enjoying the time with family, but we're also enjoying some of our favorite American goodies - mostly lots of Annie's Cheddar Bunnies and Goldfish crackers - with plans to bring some back in our suitcases.

My younger brother is also getting ready to graduate from high school, so we're also prepared to part and cheer him on at the ceremony. We've got a busy few days ahead, and we're looking forward to it. Perhaps we'll even get some pictures in.

Have you ever returned home for a major event? How did it go?
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