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Haarlem

I took a 15 minute train ride to Haarlem to do some sightseeing today and was not disappointed. It’s Amsterdam without all of the drunk, high, and tripped out tourists. And it has a windmill (there’s one in Amsterdam but it’s at a brewery and I’m trying to avoid the drunks as much as I can).

The food is great and the architecture is just as lovely:

Tomorrow I’m taking the train to London, with a short stop in Brussels: home of beer, waffles, chocolate, and comic books. I love it there 🙂

Lunch

I ate a raw herring sandwich with pickles and onions. Not as gross as it sounds, but not great.

Amsterdam

My flight left Seattle on Sunday at 6pm, and I arrived in Amsterdam yesterday around 2pm local time. That made for a very long day.

The view from my hotel room:

Today, I walked all over the city and saw quite a bit of stuff:


The entrance to the Albert Cuyp market:

Graffiti at its best:


I stopped in at the KattenKabinet (cat museum):

Lavender & elk snot

Marc, Deb, and I hit the road early to go to the annual lavender festival in Sequim. None of us had been before, so it was a great trip. The drive up from Tacoma is nice, particularly once you get past the Hood Canal Bridge. There was a street festival in downtown Sequim where you could buy the usual sort of stuff, but it was largely purple and/or lavender scented. The real reason to go was to see the lavender farms. The first stop was Kitty B’s Lavender Farm. They did a great job of planning it out and it made for a nice visit. Much bees. Very buzz.

 

Next stop was Olympic Game Farm. It’s a drive-through animal park like Wildlife Safari in Winston, Oregon (if you’re familiar with that). They have yaks, llamas, bears, deer, goats, big cats, bison, and yes, elk. The first few sections of the park was pretty mellow. You buy loaves of bread and feed the animals, it’s cool. Until you get to the elk and bison. They were cuckoo for cocoa puffs. You’d think that the bread was crack they way they were acting. 1,000lb bison ran up to your car to get a slice of bread from you and acted like it was the first thing they had to eat in days.

The elk were just as bad, if not worse. Being the athletic creatures they are, they would run along side the car trying to get more bread from you. One elk had his head fully within my car and sneezed. Venison, anyone?

We concluded the trip by visiting the goats in the petting zoo. They gave no shits about humans and ignored us. I’m ok with this because I didn’t get sneezed on.

The last stop was at another lavender farm. Not quite as nicely laid out as Kitty B’s, but it was still nice to see so much purple.


Mt. St. Helens


Somehow, I had never been to Mt. St. Helens before. I kinda/sorta remember when it blew up. 200ish miles south, we got a nice dose of ash. I can only imagine how a volcanic eruption would freak out people hundreds of years ago: was it a dragon or were the gods angry? It’s definitely worthy of a few more visits. 

Saturday in the Park

Knowing that it was going to be sunny today, I got up early so I could walk around Stanley Park before it got too hot or crowded.


With that completed, I’m in a bar in Gas Town watching the Thunderbirds play the Erie Otters in the CHL playoffs to an 80’s soundtrack. Not too shabby.

Drag queens and poutine

I took the day off work to come up to Vancouver to see Bianca del Rio with Jodi. Before the show, we hit Dunn’s Famous for dinner. Somehow, this is the first time I’ve had poutine. 

Bianca was, as expected, hilarious. I saw her show in Seattle last September and it was nice to see that she updated the material to incorporate current events and to tear apart the idiot running our country.

Homeward bound

Before the flight home, we went to the Atomic Testing History Museum. If you haven’t been, it’s absolutely worth the time. They also have a section dedicated to Area 51. Sadly, it was closed but I’d go back for it.

Atomic Testing History Museum

All over the world 

Today was a busy day. We started in Zion, then drove to Valley of Fire State Park, which is amazing. From there, we went to Hoover Dam, which is amazing in a totally different way. After that, Vegas. At the end of this very long day, we visited half of the locations in Fallout New Vegas.  Geeky but cool.

Valley of Fire State ParkHoover Dam
Hoover DamCaesar's Palace Las Vegas

No clever title today

We started our trip through Zion early today and there wasn’t a lot of light in the canyon yet. I managed to get these, though.

Weeping Rock,  Zion National ParkWalking to The Narrows, Zion National ParkZion National ParkZion National Park

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