Moving to Holland is not easy, but it's worth the effort. This blog tells the story of shifting from American life in Pittsburgh to Expat life in the Netherlands,
and all of our European adventures that follow.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Taylors and the Tour (de France)

This really was our lucky day. The Grand Depart of the Tour de France is in Rotterdam this year, and July 4th of all weekends. And fortunately, Chris and Brandy were able to plan a trip to visit us on that weekend. They are moving to Dresden, Germany (Yay!) and are going house hunting the following week. So they swung by Holland for a few days beforehand.

Can it get any better? Of course (didn’t someone once say we live a ‘charmed’ life)! Holland also made it to the quarter finals of the 2010 World Cup this year, and their game happened to be on the Friday when the Taylors where here. What a weekend!

Amsterdam and the World Cup Quarterfinals

We spent that Friday with the Taylors in Amsterdam. Brandi was first introduced to the best pancakes in the world; the ones in that cafĂ©, by the canal, in the red light district… you know the place, right? Then we headed over to Rembrandtplein to our old faithful sports outback, Coco’s, scene of the crime for the viewing of the Steelers 2009 Super Bowl victory.

One hour before game time the terrace outside, where they added 4 flat screen TV’s, was already overflowing. So we found a spot inside by the fans (remember this is Holland, no A/C), and plopped down in front of one of the 20 HD TVs. Festivities ensued as the Dutch proceeded to beat Brazil, the #1 team in the world, and advance to the semi-finals. It was really fun to be in a crowd that was singing, cheering, and jumping up and down. Donning our orange shirts, we enjoyed celebrating with the natives who poured out onto the plaza after the game.

So, what’s the best thing to do after an exhilarating sports victory? Visit a depressing museum, right? Haha, well, sort of. Brandi has always wanted to visit the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam, so she and I went over to see that while the guys got acquainted with the varieties at international beer bar. We rounded off the day with a late train ride home, and showers at 2 AM to clean off the day’s sweat.

Tour de France Prologue

As hot as it was on Friday, in typical Dutch fashion, the weather took a 180 on Saturday and brought in the rain. The time trials of the Tour de France took place over several hours, as each racer completed the course one at a time. They started in Zuidplein, rode across the Erasmusbrug, along the river down Boompjes (the street with the flags), then back across the river on the Willemsbrug, and back to Zuidplein. We braved the rain for all of those hours, as Lance Armstrong didn’t go until 2nd to last.

Eventually the rain did clear. It was really exciting to be so close to the riders. Jake and Erin brought a Texas flag, which they waved wildly as Lance rode by (b/c he’s from Austin). We got some great pics of the riders, too.
That night we went to the pub to watch the Spain/Portugal game, & then to the Argentinean restaurant to get steaks. To top things off, everyone came over to our place so that Brandi could promptly kick our butts in Apples To Apples. She has some sort of manipulative powers that drive people to pick her cards. I must study her and learn her ways.

Sadly, the Taylors had to leave for Germany on Sunday morning. It’s always nice to have visitors, especially when they are good friends. That afternoon we watched the prologue of the tour right from our apartment balcony, as the riders rode down the street in front of our place! It was cool to see the pack riding through our neighborhood. Then off they went on their looong race.

That afternoon, the gang went to the park for a 4th of July picnic, complete with burgers, beer, and tossing the (American) football. No fireworks, of course, but J&E did make a flag cake out of cinnamon rolls, whipped cream, blueberries & strawberries.

Happy Birthday America! Here’s to the next 234 years!

- S

- More pics of watching the World Cup in Amsterdam:

- More pics of the Taylors' visit:

- More pics of the Tour de France Prologue:

1 comment:

Brandi said...

We had THE BEST FREAKING TIME EVER visiting you two. You were such amazing hosts, and your knowledge of the Red Light District and it's eateries is quite impressive indeed. Can't wait to have you in our neck of the woods!