Guten Tag. Hash Tag.

Our long bus ride this morning was rife with rainy skies and cars zooming past us on the Autobahn. #solongamsterdam #heytheregermany

We stopped for fuel at a gas station and rest area near Bremen, where some of our group enjoyed our first hamburger on the way to Hamburgat a Burger King. #classyamericantourists #holdthepickles #holdthelettuce

Little Town, It's a Quiet Village...

...every day...like the one before. Little town, full of little people, waking up to say... Hello! Hello! Hello, hello, hello!

<Blogger's Note: Yep, "hello" in Dutch is typically just "hello." Not quite the same punch as that Disney intro; apologies.>

A Day At the Museum

Though the weather is still cooperating for us (just a brief shower this afternoon), today was spent mostly inside for touring the best that Amsterdam has to offer.

Medieval-era traveler Ibn Battuta said, "Traveling—it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller." There are no truer words for today; the sights left us speechless, slack-jawed and more than a little reverent—but we'll be telling friends and family about all we did today for years to come. 

A Grand Dam Time

One would never guess, today, that Amsterdam was founded as a small fishing village in the 12th century.

Now the capital and most populated city of the Netherlands, Amsterdam is full of hustle and bustleand lots of dam bicycles! Truly, there are over 600,000 bicycles in the city. Where we have parking garages, they have bike decks. While we look both ways so as not to interfere with auto traffic, they risk life and limb at the turn of each street corner. Those dam cyclists take no prisoners!

Blondes Have More Fun

Many call Bruges the "Venice of the North." One walk through winding cobblestone streets, one glance up at the tower of city hall and especially one boatride on a canal later... and many in our group feel the same.

Known for lace, medieval architecture, chocolate (no, we still haven't had our fill) and Stella Artois (Blonde #1), Bruges has cast her spell. 

Waffles, and Chocolates, and Kriek! Oh, my!

Rudyard Kipling once said, "The first condition of understanding a foreign country is to smell it." If this is the case, this group of Notre Dame College globetrotters thinks that Belgium is pretty, well, sweet. 

We left frigid Cleveland, Ohio, on the morning of Thursday, February 26, and landed in Newark, New Jersey—basking in the balmy 21-degree weather. Our group of 16 settled into a layover lounge reserved for McLeod, enjoyed snacks and sat wondering what we'd forgotten to pack (an umbrella, in my case—well, NOT in my case!).

Despues de Todo Muendo Es Pequeno

It's a small, small world... 

Really, we'll need to come back to Portugal when the weather is better... Kidding, kidding ─ we couldn't script lovelier days! It's a whopping 20 degrees in Lisbon today ─ that's Celsius ─ so some of us are happily sunburned.

Bienvenido a Portugal!

Over the river and through the fog, to Lisboa we go!

No Way, Jose!

Hasta luego, Madrid! You'll always be in our fondest memories and we wish we could stay a little longer — especially since, after another week or so, we might have finally figured out how to adjust the lights in our hotel rooms (long story).

You say Toledo, and I say Toledo...

To-LEE-do! To-LAY-do! Let's call the whole thing off!