Jill Of Some Trades

And Master Of At Least One

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A Day In Amsterdam and Embracing Jet Lag

Amsterdam 1

Did I ever mention that I love to travel?  Europe – all of it, is my particular favourite.  Sure I’ve been to a lot of other places, but there is something about this little continent that keeps bringing me back for more.  Travel for me is pretty stress free (except flying) and lengthy airport stays – a very good thing according to Dr. Oz.  Jet lag, on the other hand, can be really unbearable.  Part of the issue was that they 6 of us took a 5:30PM flight, not a true overnight flight, and we got into this beautiful city at 6am Dutch time – a recipe for my worst jet lag nightmare otherwise known as #firstworldproblems.  There wasn’t much that I could do other than stumble through the day, but me and my 5 other travel companions still managed to squeeze in a lot!

Before I get into all of the great things there are to do, I have to confess, I’ve been to Amsterdam before, in my 20’s.  I saw a lot then and that meant I could skip the Red Light District (I didn’t find staring a poor prostitutes fun, even then), the “Cafe’s”, the Rijks Museum and a few other highlights and concentrate on what I wanted to do.  Here is a list of what I did if you only have a full day and a half like I did:

  • Take a Hop on Hop Off Bus Tour to orient yourself, and to be able to take a nap if you’ve just gotten off of a plane.  I totally fell asleep every 3 minutes, but still managed to see quite a bit and get a better idea of where I wanted to go back to
  • Take a nap in a well located hotel (we stayed at the Marriot Stadhouderskade – try saying that 5 times 5) and then go for crepes!
  • Enjoy a canal cruise – it was a great way to see the City since it has over 100 kilometres of the watery little bodies and it’s a good way of killing 90 minutes
  • Go to Vondelpark – very quaint, but don’t spend too much time there – especially when you only have a day!
  • Head Museum Quarter – come on, you know you want to take a cheesy picture with the Amsterdam sign!  It’s really beautiful – take your time and walk around, we found these weird, yet cute “Hello Bunny” type of statues.  It’s a really nice part of the city and great for people watching.
  • Check out the Van Gogh Museum, but just don’t be disappointed, a lot of his more famous works are in the Musee D’Orsay in Paris and MOMA in NYC.  We went at night and there was a huge line up, but it was still better than going during the day and it takes about 45 minutes to do the whole thing if you aren’t loitering.  Not the most exciting thing that I did, but I always wanted to see it….and I did.
  • Last, but not least, it’s important to visit Anne Frank House.  If you don’t book a tour, you’ll find yourself waiting in at least a two hour line and that’s at 9:30.  You don’t want to waste time in line ups, so if you are planning on visiting, PRE-BOOK THIS!!!   Different people have different opinions about the museum.  Be prepared for two things – there is absolutely no furniture – this was at the request of Anne Frank’s father Otto and you have to be able to go up some very steep staircases that get even steeper the farther up you walk.  If you aren’t able to climb, don’t do this tour. The steepest staircase is basically almost a ladder.  I still found it moving even though this was my second time.  The rooms are big, but they could never open the blinds, so it was always dark – they still have the blackout blinds up.  Seeing the diary is also pretty special.  Several people though, found the lack of furniture a little jarring, although it didn’t bother me and this was my second time.

I hope you like my day and a half guide to Amsterdam – and I’m not boring, really – I did all of the fun stuff before…in my twenties when it was appropriate!  Check out some photos below for your viewing pleasure.


What would The Netherlands be without a Windmill?

Amsterdam 3

The Bunny Statues in Museum Quarter

Jill Amsterdam

Wishing that I wasn’t jet-lagged, and that there was a J in the Amsterdam sign.


Canal Cruise

Canal Cruise

Canal Cruise

Statue of Anne Frank

Statue of Anne Frank

You can't take pictures inside, so get a picture of the sign!

You can’t take pictures inside, so get a picture of the sign!

The line up at Anne Frank House at 9:30 in the morning!

The line up at Anne Frank House at 9:30 in the morning!

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“B” Revitalized and Cruising the High Seas



Image courtesy of me!

Travel is my greatest passion.  Check out the picture that I took in Norway to see why.  Even though I don’t consider myself nature girl, I was in awe of the scenery on my recent cruise to Iceland, the Faroe Islands and Norway.  Like most travelers, I do suffer from jet lag.  It’s usually only really bad the first day or two when I get to my destination, and for a day or two when I get back.  I’ve been back for 3 days and I’m starting to get back to normal. I checked the Dr. Oz website for some ideas (I should have done this before leaving for my trip D’OH).  Here are some suggestions:

  • “Some research has shown that taking a good amount of stress-busting vitamins like B complex a couple days before the trip, during, and a few days afterwards can help your body cope with the stress of long-distance travel. Consider taking supplements or eat foods that are high in B-vitamins, like broccoli, beets, bananas, strawberries, eggs, brewer’s yeast, and mung beans. Also choose nuts, fish, and other foods that are high in tryptophan, an essential amino acid that helps relax the nervous system.”  I’ve been taking Vitamin B pretty regularly – other than broccoli, some fish and nuts, I wasn’t able to eat (or wouldn’t eat some of the foods listed.  Mung beans sound like a weird type of beetle to me, and they didn’t really have a ton of bananas, strawberries, etc. available.  I did bounce back pretty quickly though so maybe the B supplement helped
  • “Make sure that you are exposed to plenty of natural light.”  Covered through the almost 24 hours of daylight in the North Atlantic countries that I visited.
  • “Maintain physical activity before, during, and following your trip.” I could have done more, but we did a couple of long walks and a 2 hour hike on the trip.  I walk a lot on a regular basis and I’m heading back to my trainer tomorrow!

My best tip?  Try to tough it out when you get to your destination and stay up as late as you can. I did fall asleep during the entertainment on night one on the boat, and typical for me, a stand up comedian was the featured act.  Guess who caught me catching so shut eye during his monologue.  If you guessed me, you are a smarty-pants.  Thank goodness, like any good Leo, I love being the center of attention.

Now that I am back, I have the chance to say that I am grateful for the wonderful trip that I got to go on with great company including my sister, my  cousins and my frousins (yes that means you AK and your sister GK).  You’ll be hearing a bit more about my trip until August since this month’s theme is vacations.

Until next time, I am still…

Gratefully yours,