There’s so much more to Amsterdam than bicycles, museums and pot. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Amsterdam on several occasions and recently, visited the Maritime Museum. If you’d like to see something different and unique, visit the Maritime Museum to learn more about the naval history of the Netherlands. Naturally, the museum sits on the water and a large replica of one of the vessels is sure to capture both your attention and imagination. Walking through the various decks, you can get a true sense of the conditions in which sailors of this era traveled. Replicas of goods that were exported are on display, highlighting the importance of these vessels and the mission at hand.
On display are also maps, books and pottery and any historian at heart will lose hours wandering the halls and imagining these vessels during their heyday. An interactive video exhibit takes you through the entire journey from boarding the ship to feeling lost at sea. At the end of the virtual voyage, you are left with real life impressions of what it meant to travel on one of these ships.
Like most museums, the tour ends with a visit to the museum gift shop and cafe. If you have the time, I would encourage you to stop and order something off the menu. Soup, sandwiches and desserts are all equally heavenly and sure to round out this amazing experience. The other museums Amsterdam is known for (Anne Frank house, the Van Gogh, etc.) should also be visited but if you want a more complete image Dutch history, the Maritime Museum should not be missed.
Before our visit, we’d never heard of Jura, Jura wines or Chateau-Chalon. Pictures of the village were featured in a German motorcycle magazine so we decided since it wasn’t too far away, we’d take a trip out there to see if the area lived up to the hype. Voted one of the 100 most beautiful villages in France by the Ministry of Culture, the rustic medieval town of Chateau-Chalon sits nestled atop a hill, surrounded by vineyards below and farmlands, mountain lakes and breathtaking waterfalls only a few kilometers away.
Within the Franche-Comte region of France, is the Jura district. Located across the border from Switzerland and about a 2 hour drive south of Strasbourg, Jura is home to a lesser known wine region. It is lesser known, because the wine is not exported internationally in great numbers. The Jura mountains are not only ideal for producing wine, they also features several grottos, lakes and waterfalls. It is a wonderful area to enjoy nature trails on foot or by bicycle and every season offers its own variety of activities. The regional cuisine includes local terrines, wines, fish, and the Bresse Chicken which is a chicken breast stuffed with mushrooms and served with a white sauce made using Vin Jaune (and is delicious).
Tradition rules in this area. Wine festivals can be found throughout the year, celebrating the harvest and the vintage. To the villages of Jura, wine is a part of life – as directed by the Bible – and must not be abused. The rules for producing wines are taken very seriously. In fact, it was in this region, that the first wine cooperative was born. The popular bank, Credit Agricole was born from the movement to create wine cooperatives.
Located about an hour and a half drive south of Naples, lies the famous Amalfi Coast of Southern Italy. The coast officially stretches from the northern end of Sorrento to the southernmost end of Salerno. Along the windy stretch of coastline lie several villages varying in size, each boasting its own unique character and charm.
From the local citrus groves, come the lemons that have officially been sanctioned for the production of Limoncello, an after dinner liqueur. The Mediterranean Sea offers a lovely array of fish and other seafood that is seamlessly incorporated into the dishes served at the many fine restaurants in the area.