Archive for July, 2011

Cho-Grander Adventure: Part 2 Amsterdam

Posted in Travel with tags on July 18, 2011 by grandersons

I must admit that I was a bit skeptical of Amsterdam when our friends, Ian and Tiffany Courtnage, posed the idea of meeting in this city known for it’s pot-smoking hippies and red light district, but I must admit that we saw the beautiful side of Amsterdam and fell in love with it’s tree lined streets, meandering canals, and bike lanes.  Amsterdam, you had me at bicycle.

Nadia, Lalit, Kyle and I rolled into Amsterdam late in the day to find our charming apartment (which Nadia found through, an amazing site to help you find the perfect place to stay on your next trip) just outside the heart of Amsterdam – a nice 15 minute bike ride from the center.

We started our trip with Thai food at a nearby restaurant recommended by the owner of the apartment and after living in Madrid for eight months, let’s just say we were thrilled to discover something delicious and SPICY!

The next day we went in search of BIKES!!!  And we were grateful to have a recommendation for Mike’s Bikes – a totally affordable rental shop where your bike doesn’t scream “tourist.”  We hopped on and off we went through the streets of Amsterdam!

We also met our Seattle friends, Ian and Tiffany – so fun!  We’re so happy they invited us to meet them in Amsterdam and can’t wait to see them again when we go home to Seattle!

And as always, we had a fabulous time with the Chopra’s.

Enjoyed a picnic in Vondel Park.

Took a canal tour, rode bikes and more.

I was also happy to be with Tiffany as my best friend Gioia went into labor and her beautiful baby girl, Estela, was born.  As you can see, we were wishing we could have been there to welcome her into the world, but were so excited when we caught our first glimpse of baby Estela and knew that Gioia was safe and sound.

We said our goodbye’s to Ian and Tiffany and went in search of the infamous tulip fields of the Netherlands.  Of course we had to stop for a photo shoot…


Cho-Grander Adventure: Part 1 Dusseldorf

Posted in Travel with tags , on July 17, 2011 by grandersons

After what seemed like a never-ending term, Kyle’s spring break gave us a much needed chance to travel and take a break from the stresses of school and work.  Our plans were inspired by our Seattle friends, Ian and Tiffany Courtnage, who happened to have picked Kyle’s spring break to spend in Amsterdam.  Our Madrid friends, Nadia and Lalit Chopra, were also up for a spring break adventure and we were thrilled to head off on a Cho-Grander Adventure through Dusseldorf, Amsterdam and Brussels.  We’ll begin with part one in Dusseldorf.

Dusseldorf.  Where?  Ohhh…Dusseldorf, Germany.  Why are you going there?  Oh, because it was the cheapest flight on RyanAir that got us somewhat close to Amsterdam.  Ah, that makes sense.  Funny thing is, it turns out that Dusseldorf is actually a lovely place that I’d consider visiting again!

We checked into our hotel and were greeted by containers full of gummy candies – not a bad welcome – and ducky key chains, of course…

After a low key night at the hotel we set out the next morning expecting to grab a coffee and hit the road in our rental car for Amsterdam.  Little did we know that we’d end up spending most of the day in the charming town of Dusseldorf, complete with a stroll along the Rhine River, discovery of an amazing open-air market, German beers on the promenade, and of course…bratwurst for the carnivores!

We were all impressed by the unique architecture in the more modern part of Dusseldorf.

We were also fortunate to visit during the week before Easter when the market was overflowing with gorgeous flowers (the ranunculas are my favorite) and beautifully dyed Easter eggs.

Our trip to Germany wouldn’t have been complete without stopping for a German beer overlooking the Rhine River and bratwurst and fries as a last hurrah.

Next stop…Amsterdam!!!





Kickin’ it in Gear

Posted in Life in Madrid with tags , , on July 17, 2011 by grandersons

Back in May, after 7 months without seeing the inside of a gym, Kyle and I finally decided it was time to join 02 Wellness and get our lazy Spanish behinds in shape!  I also wrote about this experience on the Guiri Guide.

I had sworn by my pedometer and walking 10,000 steps a day for almost a year (thanks to our friends Dave and Greer!) and truly believe it’s one of the best ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle that exists.  I was vigilant about getting my steps before we moved, even going so far as running in place to hit the 10,000 step mark before going to bed.  I even set a rule that if I missed a day that I had to walk 20,000 steps the next day to make up for it!  I’ve never been so committed to something in my life and I loved it!

Kyle ran a 1/2 Marathon in April (more on that here) so when we joined the gym in May I decided I wanted to set a goal that I could work for too.  My dear friend, Nadia, and I  decided to train and compete in a sprint triathlon in Valencia this September and haven’t looked back since!  It has been incredible to have a training buddy and I’ve been so impressed by how hard we’re working while still having fun!  Now we dream of choosing a yearly triathlon to train for and meet for in some new city around the world – one, to keep in shape, and two, so we can guarantee to see each other at least once a year!

Another 7 weeks of training and we’ll be off to Valencia…pictures and stories of our race to come!