The Netherlands (part 1)

{The Peace Palace with my cousin, Elisa, & Aunt Kathy}

It's about time I get back on the blog train, dontcha think? I have a ton of pictures from my summer adventures that I've been meaning to post, but just haven't had the time to sit down and edit them until now.

We just finished finals and are off until JANUARY. What?! DU is on the weird quarter/trimester system, but hey, I'm not complaining. So what that means is that I have eight weeks to get three months of photos out to all of you who want to see them! 

To get back to the timeline of where I was this summer, after stopping in London for the day for a connecting flight, I hopped over to The Netherlands for a few days to see family I haven't seen in what feels like forever.

I saw my Aunt Kathy last Thanksgiving and she opened the invitation (basically a dare) to come out to the Netherlands where she lives and see what it's all about. I made my venture to Ghana an excuse to go see her and my long lost cousins. It was one of my favorite places/trips I've ever been on. I'm so grateful to have such wonderful family all over the world.

{The gate of the Peace Palace where the International Court of Justice resides -- the principal judicial body of the UN}

{We made our way to The Hague, where the Dutch government, parliament, and Supreme Court is situated. It's also home to the International Crime Court & the International Court of Justice, as mentioned above. My professors love talking about these places in class, so it made it all the more thrilling to see in person.}

{I'm pretty obsessed with the cobblestoned open spaces that are scattered all throughout the Dutch cities we explored}

{My cousin, Elisa, an architecture major at the University of Illinois, grew up in the Netherlands, which made her the perfect person to walk around with and hear all the secrets of her European backyard. Love her.}

{This was my first time to mainland Europe, so I was mesmerized by the beautiful buildings everywhere. I get it now, people. I know why you're obsessed.}

{The courtyard of Binnenhof and the Knight's Hall, the political center of The Netherlands}

{Of course there's an adorable ice cream man in the courtyard}

{Yes, I'd love to grow old here if that's what you're thinking. People are so happy and I can totally see why.}

{That's the Ridderzaal in the background. It's home to a lot of cool events like the state opening of Parliament, royal receptions, and speeches from the throne done by the Dutch monarch. I did a little research cause it was such a gorgeous square and couldn't help but want to learn more. #dork}

{Isn't that just incredible!?}

{Oh, I forgot to mention that I "found" my pal, Liyam, in the airport and she came along for the adventure on our way to Africa. We've now been to seven countries together. Go girl.}

{I would seriously give an arm or leg to go back in time and see these places in action during their prime}

{We went into the Gevangenpoort museum which is a former prison in a 15th century gatehouse. It has medieval dungeons and torture chambers. Seeing as we may work with torture survivors, it was certainly interesting to see some of the history behind medieval torture.}

{One of the itty bitty dungeons}

{A view from a Gevangenpoort museum window}

{The sole reason I want to move to The Netherlands: Sidewalk Cafes}

{Hey, future husband, wanna walk down this perfect line of trees with me one day? I've seen too many sappy movies.}

{Seeing all of the flags and soccer balls brought me back to the spirit of the World Cup in heartwarming.}

{Perfect little lunch with a Heine on the side}

{Everyone rode their bikes everywhere. I know that's not a new fact about The Netherlands, but it was so adorable, it made me smile every time I'd see people riding by.}

{My awesome Aunt Kathy! Can't wait till we're neighbors one day. She definitely got me hooked on the idea of living in The Netherlands.}

{Tell me you wouldn't want to live somewhere like this}

{After The Hague, we made our way over to Delft where the artist Johannes Vermeer lived and painted "The Girl with the Pearl Earring." Delft is also known for it's Delft Blue Pottery (Delftware). Bet you've seen it before.}

{This is Delftware -- so intricate and beautifully made}

{Even though Liyam is a bit clumsy, she didn't break a thing! I was too nervous to even touch anything, but I wanted everything.}

{Love the front baskets}

{Future life: 1. own that moped 2. eat lunch at that outdoor restaurant 3. learn to speak Dutch 4. die happy. It's pretty simple.}

{Even their bike bells are freakin' adorable}

{A Delftware clock I really wanted to buy}

{There were children hiding in this clog while we took the picture. They started giggling when we told them to stay still and smile even though no one could see them.}

{The reason The Netherlands is covered/synonymous with orange is because of William V, Prince of Orange -- Captain General of the Dutch States Army -- who did some important things. I have some more history to read up on. Haha}

{Just some Dutch people being cute}

Plenty more photos to come!