Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Volendam and Marken Island - Girls' Overnight!

Way back when the weather was warmer Dallas and I decided we would plan a Girls' Overnight Getaway to the Zuider Zee area in Holland. We stole Kirk's car and left our husbands for a night during the work week, escaping to Volendam, Marken Island and the Alkmaar Cheese Market.
We stayed at the historic Hotel Spaander located right on the water in the old fishing village of Volendam.Our room was nautically-themed.
With fun windows and doors overlooking the water. The ocean breeze was divine!
Connor even had her own little window above her crib!
We settled in and immediately took the ferry from Volendam to Marken Island. It was a windy ride.
Connor did a good job keeping hold of her beloved watermelon hat.
Marken Island felt like a trip backwards in time. To a time when prairie life ruled and simplicity abounded.
We walked along this long strait of land dividing farmland and the sea.
Connor found some special shoes just her size!
And the biggest hit of all were these tiny chickadee birds. They fascinated Connor. She thought they were great! She would run into them and they would flee away. And then they would come right back for more.
Marken Island was the definition of serene, calm and beautiful - even with boatloads (literally) of tourists.
We saw women like the one in this postcard dressed in native costume going about life. But their dress was for doing routine chores - like hanging the laundry. I thought it would be disrespectful to snap photos in real life like paparazzi, so the postcard will have to do.
Back in Volendam we popped in and out of tourist shops along the waterfront. Connor got this colorful windmill for being such a good girl all day.
After a dinner of fried fish we went down to the ocean with ice cream cones. Volendam (and Marken Island) are absolutely laden with swells of tourists during the day. The streets are jammed and the energy is all about tourism. But by staying there we were able to appreciate the empty town in the evening. The buses pulled out and it was as if someone had flipped a switch, leaving the place for Dallas and me to call our own.

We tucked ourselves in to our cute hotel and watched The Sound of Music. It was Dallas' first time ever seeing it. I know, don't gasp too loud! I couldn't believe it either. Glad we could help indoctrinate her to this classic on our Girls' Night. We even let Connor stay up and watch with us.
Unfortunately our great day didn't yield a great night. Connor must have had something that didn't settle well with her tummy. She was sick most of the night. Dallas was the sweetest friend ever, reassuring me that it would be alright and enduring the agony of baby illness with patience and concern. It takes a very special friend to survive a night like this. Thankfully Connor was back to her lively self the next day and we didn't miss a beat...even if we did miss several hours of sleep!

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