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We woke up on day 4 in Delft. With a few hours before museums opened, we explored more on foot.

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Then we took a short train ride to the Hague to visit the Mauritshuis Gallery. Beautiful building.

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Ceiling art:

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We saw more beautiful Flemish paintings:

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And this one is from an unknown Dutch artist, possibly Jan Mostaert. Joseph explaining the dreams of the baker and the cupbearer:

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This one is a Rembrandt portrait! Anatomy lesson of Dr Nicholas Tulp:

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Besides Rembrandt, we saw some works of other Dutch masters, like Jan Steen.

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And, of course, Vermeer. Here is his View of Delft:

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Do you see any similarities to my views of Delft from this morning?

This is one of his earliest paintings:

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And his most famous!

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Vermeer was the best part of the Mauritshuis, but I also liked these paintings of Brazil in the 17th century:

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And this really big painting of a cow:

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After all the beautiful paintings, it was back to Delft for a quick visit to the Prinsenhof.

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At the Prinsenhof we learned all about William of Orange, who was responsible for the Protestant revolution in the Netherlands, leading the crusade against Catholic Spain. He was assassinated in the Prinsenhof. You can still see the bullet holes.

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Then we picked up our luggage and boarded a train to our next hotel. It was in Haarlem, near the train station. Haarlem is super-close to Amsterdam, but accommodations are way cheaper there.

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With nothing planned in Haarlem, and favorable weather, we headed to the beach! Welcome to Zandvoort.

In 1910:

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In 2017:

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Relaxed for a while, then had dinner with really slow service, and returned to the hotel just as the sun was setting. Beautiful day!

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On the third day we left Belgium and headed to the Netherlands. Our first stop was Delft. After checking into the hotel, we took a fairly long walk.

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The destination was the Royal Delft factory. We took a tour to learn all about how the famous pottery is made.

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The tour was part factory, part museum.

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And of course, the shop!

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After looking at plates we couldn’t afford, we did more exploring.

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^That’s where the first Dutch bible was printed in 1477. I don’t think they served sandwiches back then.

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We went into the Vermeer house and learned all about the artist. They had copies of all of his paintings, and exhibits on lighting techniques and historical pigments. It provided great context for paintings we would see later in the trip.

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Ended the day with dinner; a very large pancake with cheese and bacon!

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Our first full day in Europe was dedicated to exploring Bruges. In the morning we followed the walk described in the Rick Steves guidebook.

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Chocolate!

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And that’s the last we’ll see of Grace’s right shoe. I actually thought they were a bit loose when we left home, but I only had time to find one rubber band. So her left shoe was rubber banded on, and stayed on for the whole trip, while her right shoe was lost on the second day, somewhere in Bruges!

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The highlight of the morning was the Groeninge Museum, where we learned about the Flemish Primitives. Not what you’d expect from the word primitive; these paintings were amazingly detailed. The word primitive refers to times before the renaissance.

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We took a break in the afternoon, stopping on the way to the hotel to buy gelato (banana and speculoos!) and chocolates to take home.

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Dinner was a street waffle!

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After dinner we took a free guided walking tour. A beautiful way to end a beautiful day in Bruges.

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Hello everyone! I’m back from a really great vacation, and I brought mini Grace. June 9-19, Grace and I went to Belgium and the Netherlands.

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We left early on a Friday morning. Ferry, then bus to the airport.

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Telling our facebook friends:

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We flew British Airways to Brussels via London.

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Then we took an unnecessarily long (track construction) train ride to Bruges.

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Feeling pretty worn out, after arriving at my hotel in Bruges, I went out for dinner (Flemish stew!) and a short walk.

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And that’s it for day 1! There’s a lot more to share, Grace and I hope you’ll enjoy it!

Back in May Charlsea and I took a little trip to Salt Spring Island! Do you know where Salt Spring Island is? It’s in Canada, well below the 49th parallel, just a little north and west from where I live.

Our journey started with a ferry off our island and onto San Juan Island.

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We hung out in Friday Harbor for a little bit, enough time for breakfast and some quick exploring.

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From Friday Harbor, we had to catch another ferry to Canada.

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Here’s our first photo in Canada, just off the dock in Sidney, BC:

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Our priority in Sidney was groceries! Specifically, my sister wanted quite a variety of Canadian candy bars. I also picked up Maple Bacon Potato Chips and Canadian Fanta.

Here are a few photos around Sidney:

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From Sidney we had to ride a bus for just 10 minutes to the ferry terminal at Swartz Bay.

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And we rode our third ferry of the day!

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It wasn’t long before we were all ashore on Salt Spring Island!

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We were able to catch a bus to our hotel.

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Check out the guy who sat next to us on the bus; he has the same shoes as Charlsea!

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We checked into the hotel, then headed out to explore town and find dinner. It was a lovely evening.

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The next morning we started with the Salt Spring Island Saturday market!

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The market was nice, and it sold all sorts of stuff. Didn’t buy anything (well, except for some poutine later from a food truck), but it was fun to look.

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After we had thoroughly explored the market, we went hiking. But first, this bit of Salt Spring uniqueness:

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We hiked around a park close to town. It had a few different trails, a Frisbee golf course, and carved up trees.

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After hiking, Charlsea suggested we go kayaking.

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But Charlsea wasn’t allowed to go because she left her PFD at home, and the store didn’t have any available in her size! So I went without her, and had a ton of fun, even if my arms were crazy sore later.

And the next morning we headed back home. Here are our last few photos of Canada:

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before we got back on a ferry to Sidney,

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then back to Washington. It was such a nice day for being out on the water!

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This is Charlsea reading the ferry schedule, trying to figure out when we’d get home.

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We had quite a lot of time to wait in Friday Harbor. We spent most of it eating Chinese food. But we finally made it home.

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Salt Spring Island is a beautiful, almost magical place, definitely worth three ferry rides to get to. Until the next adventure!

For the first time, I took a Wellie Wisher on vacation with me. And it was fantastic. Kendall went with me on an amazing journey in April and we had a wonderful time. Kendall was a great travel companion because I can carry her with one hand, and she fits inside my coat if the weather requires. Now, on to the photos!

As with all journeys lately, we started with a ferry ride…

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…and then a bus…

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…to the airport!

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Passport! Where could we be going? Well, first we flew to LA. Kendall more or less fits in the seatback pocket!

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Look at this super-cute mural in the tunnels at LAX!

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Girls have loved to travel with dolls for decades!

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Several hours and a couple of planes later, we landed…

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…in Cusco, Peru!

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Here’s Kendall having fun in the lobby of the hotel:

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And we had so much fun on our trip! Our first day (after a relaxed day trying to adjust to the altitude) started with a bus tour

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of the city of Cusco.

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We stopped at several archaeological sites, including Pukapukara,

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Q’enqo,

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and Saqsaywama.

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Our last stop on the bus tour was at this church, called the Qorikancha.

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The next day we took another bus through the Sacred Valley

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with a stop at the market in Pisaq. Kendall got a hat! She also got a few offers to be traded for goods or money. Peruvians love dolls!

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After the market was another Inca site, Ollentaytambo.

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In the village of Ollentaytambo, we caught a train…

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…to Machu Picchu!

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Machu Picchu is breathtaking. I have about 200 photos of rocks and llamas, and they’re all amazing. But I’ll share just a few with you.

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The rain came just as we were leaving Machu Picchu. Kendall borrowed my rain coat, because I was still quite warm. The sun is very close in Peru.

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And we flew home the following evening. Airport in Cusco:

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and a nighttime flight:

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It was nice to get back to America and drink soda with ice and dispose of toilet paper in the toilet. This photo is the airport in Seattle, but the rocks look a bit Peruvian!

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Check out Leonie modeling our only Peruvian souvenir!

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I want to tell you more about what Peru is like, but I am finding that it defies description. Unlike anything I’ve seen before, and probably unlike anything I’ll see again. I guess I will close by saying that I am so grateful for this vast and wonderful world I live in, and for the opportunity to explore it. Adios.

So in addition to a dolly addiction, and a lego addiction, I have a Disney addiction. And in February, I took my 13th trip to Disney World. Jessie the yodeling cowgirl came along, and she’s going to share our trip with you.

Howdy y’all! My pal Marjorie and I are back from Disney World. It was amazing!

At first, Marjorie tried to pack me in her suitcase

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But I insisted on riding in her carry on. I didn’t wanna miss a minute of our adventure!

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We left Seattle on a rainy Wednesday morning…

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…and landed in Florida on a sunny Wednesday afternoon!

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We boarded Disney’s Magical Express and finally arrived at our resort, the Animal Kingdom Lodge!

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No time to rest, we were soon on a bus to Epcot!

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With some time before our fastpass, Marjorie wanted a photo with Baymax.

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We rode Soarin and Spaceship Earth and Test Track.

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And we had dinner at the Biergarten in Germany and watched the fireworks. That’s it for day 1!

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Day 2 began with breakfast at the Contemporary Resort.

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Marjorie’s eaten there a few times (probably 13 times!).

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Then we were off to Hollywood Studios!

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As soon as we arrived, we got annual passes!! (well, Marjorie bought one. They let me in the park for free. Maybe because I’m famous?)

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First ride? Toy Story Mania of course!

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Then Marjorie wanted to meet Moana.

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And we rode the Great Movie Ride

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And went to the Frozen Sing Along

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And Muppets, 3D

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Next was Beauty and the Beast Live, then we rode out to the Wilderness Lodge for lunch. Delicious.

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We rode a boat and then a bus back to the hotel for a nap.

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After napping we went back to the Studios, and we had some free time…

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…to dance with Woody and Buzz before we went to see Fantasmic!

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Here’s our last photo in Hollywood Studios, waiting for the sun to set and Fantasmic to start.

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After Fantasmic we had dinner at the 50’s prime time cafĂ©. A tasty ending to a fantastic day.

Day 2 was Animal Kingdom Day! And it was a day full of surprises. Starting with giraffes outside our room in the morning (and a few zebra too!)

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The Animal Kingdom was fun as always. We hit all the rides and shows in the morning, then went back to Epcot in the afternoon.

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Looking for animals:

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Riding Primeval Whirl:

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And before we left Animal Kingdom, we saw a cast member holding a Passholder sign. We had overheard a rumor, and it ended up being true! A week before it officially opened, they were previewing Rivers of Light (the new nighttime show at Animal Kingdom) to passholders! So we grabbed our wristband so we could go back to the show that evening. How exciting! Glad I decided to buy a pass the day before!

So we went back to Epcot to watch the films in Canada, France, and the American Adventure. Also to get a photo with the characters on Marjorie’s T-shirt.

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Then it was time to go back to the Animal Kingdom!

It was a long wait for the show to start.

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It was a great show, but not quite worth all the anticipation (the show was supposed to open last summer!)

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Dinner that night was in Disney Springs at a restaurant called Homecoming. Delicious. Then we stopped at the Lego store and World of Disney. Then waited forever for a bus back to the resort. Typical Disney Springs.

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Our last day was Magic Kingdom day, and it was magical.

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Mickey welcomed us to his park in a new welcome show. Not as good as the old welcome show.

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A fastpass glitch meant we had to wait in a long line for Seven Dwarfs mine train, so we made that our first stop.

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Marjorie had a craving for breakfast lasagna, so she made reservations at Crystal Palace. We ate a late breakfast with Winnie the Pooh and Friends.

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Pooh and I played a little!

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Magic Kingdom is always fun. This day was a little less fun because it was pretty crowded. Here are some of the highlights of our day.

New Muppets present Great Moments in American History:

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Street Party with Woody and the other Jessie:

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Mad Tea Party:

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Festival of Fantasy Parade:

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and Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire:

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We escaped for dinner at the Grand Floridian

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then returned for more rides and fireworks. We went home early Sunday morning, then back to work on Monday. Good trip.

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