01 May 2017

The Netherlands

The whole reason I went to The Netherlands was for a friend's wedding (perks of having friends whose lives are as international as my own!). Actually, Ashley and I met at BYU about 9-10 years ago. We both studied archaeology and did field school together (i.e. that one time we lived in Petra, Jordan). We got to know each other a bit during that time and as weird as it sounds, we bonded over both having recently lost a parent. But we didn't really become close. I think our grief was still a bit too fresh for both of us that it was easier to ignore it for the duration of our field school adventures  than it was to truly befriend and sit with one another in each other's grief. Or maybe I'm just projecting. 

Regardless, it wasn't until I moved to the UK for grad school that we reconnected, because Ashley was also living in the UK attending grad school. And it turns out that we had several friends in common, so we'd see each other occasionally. During this time we realized how we'd more or less been living parallel lives over the last decade. From there we started interacting more via social media, and I think that's when we became real friends. As in the kind of friends that goes to the other's wedding. In The Netherlands. 

It was such a privilege to be there with Ashley and Diederik on their special day. They are a beautiful couple inside and out, and the love they have for each other was literally radiating off of them the entire day. And did I mention, they got married in a Castle? 
Photo Credit: Ashley Wilkinson Linders, @lifeviaashley

Left: Slot Zeist, where they were civilly married (til death)
Right: The Hague, Netherlands temple, where they were sealed (married for eternity)

But obviously, when in The Netherlands...

Zaanse Schans


It was VERY windy that day...




And two of my personal Bucketlist Items... Visiting the Peace Palace in The Hague and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam: ✅ ✅

Photos weren't allowed in the museum, so I have no photographic evidence. But I will say that the museum was everything I had hoped it would be, minus pining for the special Sunflowers exhibit to go on all the time, since I was a few years too late. At least they had one of his Sunflowers paintings on display. #illtakewhaticanget

Peace Palace, The Hague

We didn't actually spend much time in Amsterdam, but that was by design. I love exploring smaller towns, villages, and the countryside much more. And Amsterdam is flippin expensive. But I did take one picture while we were there... 

We stayed in AirBnBs in both Utrecht and Den Hoorn. We had a Beautiful view over the city in Utrecht, as we were on the 12th or 13th floor. But to me, nothing beats the tranquility of staying along a canal in the countryside. Especially when you get to go on magical evening walks. ✨🌅🙋
Den Hoorn

Why yes, that IS a goat on a surfboard.
Post-church picnic along a reservoir: Sabbath Selfie. Still SO Windy. 
During Ashley's wedding at Slot Zeist, it was pretty hot, and my mom was melting trying to wait for us to finish with pictures. So she went over to the castle's outdoor café and ordered some water so she could sit in the shade. Shortly after she got her drink, a couple came to the café with the same idea, only there were no more tables left in the shade. So my mom invited them to sit with her in the shade. (Anyone who knows my mom will no this is not in the least bit out of character for her.) The couple thanked her and took her up on the offer. They visited for at least 30-40 minutes and talked about all sorts of topics. They exchanged information and told us to contact them if we decided to visit Delft where they live. Perhaps the odd part is that we actually DID contact them once we arrived in Den Hoorn, which is near Delft. So they ended up meeting us in the town square and became our tour guides for the day. They showed us all over Delft, treated us to an entry into a historical church, and then to lunch. 

They had an appointment to go to afterwards, but a couple hours later we met them back at their house where we visited a bit more. Then we all headed out Scheveningen Beach, just north of The Hague. They showed us around the area and then treated us to drinks. (I promise we tried hard to let them pay, but they insisted and became quite sneaky about it! haha) Then we decided to go to dinner at one of the restaurants on the beach. I ordered a deluxe Dutch version of fish and chips, which was one of the best I've ever had. This time around, we were determined to be just as sneaky in paying the bill. So I pretended I was going to use the restroom and went and paid the entire bill before we were even finished with our meal. 😁
Scheveningen Beach
Seagull Selfie

Saying goodbye to our new Dutch friends, Gerald and Sylvia 
Needless to say, they were my favourite, and certainly the most memorable part of our time in The Netherlands. I love how good, kind, and generous people are everywhere you go. You just have to open yourself up to meeting them. And I'm grateful for a mother that is constantly extending invitations of kindness herself, no matter where she is! 💕💞💗


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