Espionage Cosmetics Nexus – February and March 2017

I’m lumping these two months together since they arrived together.  Espionage Cosmetics had received a damaged shipment that included the nail wraps for these two months, so unfortunately the Nexus shipments were delayed, but we were given notice by email at every turn.  More unfortunately, the entire shipment for both months couldn’t completely be delivered to every customer, so some of us (including myself) received one of the official wraps for the month, a bonus wrap that fit the theme, and a $10 credit for each month to make up for the missing wrap.  Some people were lucky enough to get their full shipment of both wraps and a bonus wrap (and I have to assume, no credit), so I’m a little bummed that I missed making the cut in the lottery.  It looks like there won’t be any voting on these, and customer service told me that the missing wraps won’t be available for purchase as they’ve done in previous months, nor will they be replaced at a later date.  I know making tough decisions like this as a small business is really difficult – someone is always going to be unhappy – and it’s probably even tougher given that the damage on the shipment of products to EC was completely out of their control and not any fault of their own.  So, given all that, while I’m still bummed that I’m teased with wraps on the product card that I love (DUDE, CONNECT FOUR!) but will never actually have, I feel like they managed things as best they could, kept us in the loop about the delay, and provided appropriate compensation to those of us that didn’t receive the full shipment.

Sorry, that was long!  But I wanted to be clear about why this post is different from the previous ones and why there’s been Nexus radio silence around here.  And now, on to the wraps!

February’s theme was, “Tainted Love,” and featured two designs that fit in with the big February holiday, Valentine’s Day.

  • Queen of Hearts – These are SO SO pretty.  They’re gloss with the red bits being a foil finish and they’re just perfect.  Definitely something I could see the queen herself wearing.
  • Crazy In Love – (not included)  I love the subtlety on these, but it’s easy to tell they’re inspired by Harley Quinn.  It looks like the diamonds were probably filled in with glitter, so I bet these are awesome.
  • Harlequin – (bonus wrap)  It’s one I already have, but it’s a favorite, so adding an extra to my stash is totally fine!

March’s theme was, “Game On!”  Two genius nail wraps were included in this one, and it looks like we got a peek at some new packaging!

  • World 1-1 – THIS IS AWESOME.  Inspired by Super Mario Bros., this wrap features a genius glow in the dark accent.  These are absolutely spectacular, and timely since we just put together our RetroPie system and have been playing the game constantly.
  • Go For One More! – (not included)  CONNECT FOUR!  I’m just sayin, if anyone who got this one wants to trade for some discontinued wrap I have, I’m down.
  • Dice – (bonus wrap)  Shockingly, somehow a wrap that I didn’t already own!  It does fit in with the gaming theme, so this works.

April’s theme has been released already and is, “Birds of a Feather.”  The one spoiler image looks to be Edgar Allan Poe inspired (ravens, maybe?), so I’m going to keep up with my subscription!  I think these two months were just a blip, and I hope that going forward, they’ll continue with stellar deliveries!

Sephora Play! March 2017

Another Sephora Play! is here.  The theme this month is, “The Gleam Team,” and for those of you playing along at home, I got box variant #451.  The bag this month is back to the old usual white cotton, but it does have a pale green ribbon and reads, “Glow Your Own Way,” (thanks for the earworm).

  • GlamGlow Glowstarter – 1.7 oz / $49 – (Product is .24 oz, value of $6.92 by volume)  I received the, “Nude Glow,” color.  I’m.. not impressed.  It’s way too glittery for an all-over moisturizer like it’s supposed to be, and it makes my skin look sparkly, and I’m not down with the whole wanna-be-Twilight-vampire look.  The product is also pretty heavily scented with a fruity vanilla scent which seems nice, until you realize that it’s all over your face, right by your nose, and ends up being way overpowering.  I know everyone talks big about how awesome GlamGlow is, but I’m finding the samples I’ve gotten are pretty unimpressive, especially considering the price.  Oh, and GlamGlow is owned by Estée Lauder, so they’re not cruelty free.
  • Urban Decay Vice Lipstick – .11 oz / $17 – (Product is .03 oz, value of $4.64 by volume)  In the photo, that sample is twisted up the whole way, and you can see the tube is just about the size of the perfume sample, so it’s pretty tiny and most of it is packaging.  Anyway, I received the color, “Big Bang,” which is described as a metallized bright pink sparkle.  By itself, it is a crazy glittery bright pink – something you’d expect to see on Jem and the Holograms, but not something you could actually wear to an office job unless you’re Jem’s concert promoter.  I saw someone say that is better used over another shade as a little shine booster, and I could see that being a far better use for it, so I’ll have to play around with using it over other lipsticks.  Urban Decay is cruelty free, however they’re owned by L’Oreal which isn’t cruelty free.
  • Verb Ghost Oil – 2 oz / $14 – (Product is .57 oz, value of $3.99 by volume)  HAIR OIL!  Except it’s not really oil.  The first 5 ingredients are silicones, a fragrance, then another silicone, and finally three oils and bamboo extract.  Moringa oil is ingredient number 9 out of 15.  So, sadly, WAY too many silicones for me since I don’t use silicones on my hair.  I’m going to stick with using actual oils instead – this is going straight to the trade/give-away pile.  As an up side, Verb is completely cruelty free.
  • Becca Shimmering Skin Protector – 1.7 oz / $41 – (Product is .34 oz, value of $8.20 by volume)  The color I received is, “Opal.”  I tried this out, and I swear to you it’s a direct copy of the GlamGlow product.  It looks nearly exactly the same on a quick swatch with the GlamGlow maybe being just a wee bit less sparkly.  The product has no scent though, so that’s nice, but I basically just got two highlighter cremes and I’m not a fan.  Guys, I really just don’t like highlighters and I don’t like my skin to be sparkly.  Sparkly eyeshadow?  HELL YEAH.  Sparkly, shiny cheekbones?  HARD PASS.  I guess I can keep these around and use them as eyeshadow primers maybe?  Becca was recently acquired by Estée Lauder, so we have two of basically the same sort of product from the same parent company.  Becca had been cruelty free, but their new parent company is definitely not, and it’s unclear yet if Becca will remain cruelty free or not.
  • Atelier Cologne Clémentine California Cologne – 3.3 oz / $130 – (Product is .05 oz, value of $1.97 by volume)  I thought with a name like Clémentine, it would be fruity and sweet, but instead I found the scent has a really unpleasant sharpness to it that drowns out the citrus.  I’m wondering if maybe scents that include pepper just don’t jive with my skin chemistry because every scent with pepper that I’ve tried out has just been atrocious on me.  I did get a little hint of citrus at the beginning, but that faded out pretty quickly and left behind something I had to scrub off because it was bothering me that much.  Oh well, it is still nice to try these on the off-chance that something hits big.  Oh, and Atelier Cologne is not cruelty free.
  • Josie Maran Surreal Skin Argan Finishing Balm – .5 oz / $36 – (Product is .1 oz, value of $7.20)  So, another illuminating moisturizer, but this one has a very, VERY subtle pearlescence that I actually really like.  It’s meant to be used as a moisturizer and makeup primer, so it’s not surprising that it’s primarily silicone based, but it does contain Argan oil and Shea butter.  I feel like this is something my dry skin will love, and it’ll give my skin a boost without the sparkle.  Bonus, Josie Maran is completely cruelty free.

So, overall, the value of the box comes to $32.92 which is pretty much on par with the usual box value.  The box only costs me $10.60 including tax, so the value is about three times the cost which is great.  Unfortunately, this month’s box came with three products that are essentially the same – highlighting products.  Fortunately, I really do love the Josie Maran Finishing Balm, and the brand is a big favorite of mine already since they’re cruelty free, so that’s awesome.  Other than the Josie Maran product though, the rest were a big miss.  I guess I really don’t get the whole craze with highlighters – I do really minimal makeup in terms of foundation/blush (read: generally never) so it’s just not something that’s on my radar really, plus I don’t like that shiny/shimmery/metallic look on my face.  Oh well, hopefully next month will be better!

Beautycon Spring 2017

Beautycon’s Spring box is here and right off the bat, I have to say this is a HUGE improvement over the last three boxes I got from them.  It’s much more up my alley, has some great cruelty free brands, and has a huge eyeshadow palette which is SO nice to see.  There’s even a special just-for-Beautycon item in this box, the brow powder set.  The theme for this quarter was, “Spring Essentials,” which, as usual is not so much of a theme.  Winter’s box was, “Winter Essentials,” so.. There are three curators this time – Sayria Jade, Dacey Cash, and La Demi – and just like all the other curators, I’ve never heard of them before.  They’re all relatively young, so again, this is probably just an age gap thing since Beautycon mostly targets an audience nearly half my age.

  • Cargo Around The World Eye Shadow Palette – 1 palette / $34 – (Product is full size)  Hey!  An eye shadow palette!  I think I was all but begging for something like this, so I’m pretty jazzed to see this in the box.  The palette is a neutral oriented set of colors in a range of mattes and shimmers which is nice since it will probably suit everyone.  There’s a small dual-end brush included (eye shadow end and an angled end), and the palette itself is cardboard with a magnetic closure and mirror.  Cargo might not be a super luxury brand, but it’s a nice, affordable, cruelty free brand that falls right in line with NYX and e.l.f.
  • OGX Orchid Oil – 4 oz / $7.99 – (Product is full size)  SIGH.  The first ingredient is cyclotetrasiloxane which is a silicone, an ingredient I don’t use on my curly hair.  The oil part of this product doesn’t even come in until ingredient number 5 out of 15, so it’s primarily a silicone based product.  It’s pretty heavily fruity scented too, so between the ingredients and the scent, this is a nope for me.
  • Luxie Powder Brush 516 – 1 brush / $22 – (Product is full size)  It’s a synthetic brush, so it’s cruelty free and vegan.  I don’t mind getting brushes in boxes and after getting a few of these, I have a really nice inventory of a number of different brushes I may not have bought otherwise!  Now only if it wasn’t pink…
  • The BrowGal Brow Brush – 1 brush / $14 – (Product is full size)  One end is a spoolie to brush your brows and the other is a firm, angled brush to fill in brows or apply eyeliner.  I really like the angled brush end since it’s a very thin brush and works perfectly on brows.
  • The BrowGal Convertible Brow – 1 set / $35 – (Product is full size)  This is an exclusive set of colors put together just for Beautycon.  The regular BrowGal eyebrow sets are sorted by hair color (dark, brown, and light), and this one looks like it combines one from each to give a good range to fit a wider range of hair colors.  Both the middle and the right one are pretty good matches, but the left is far too dark.  I get that putting these together on one brow palette makes it fit a wider range of people and so that you can custom blend a color, but now I have a pot of brow color that’s useless to me.  I do like the formula – it’s a thick powder that almost feels like a gel and goes on super smoothly.  From what I can find, the brand is cruelty free as well!
  • Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Or – 1.6 oz / $36 – (Product is .33 oz, value of $7.43 by volume)  I’ve gotten this before from Glossybox, and it’s a dry oil with a gold shimmer.  I still haven’t used up the one I already have since the oil is super glittery and it’s just not my thing.  I keep meaning to drag it back out to use on my hair, but then it gets gold glitter all over my hands too.  The oil blend is nice though and definitely not greasy at all.
  • IBY Beauty Mineral Blush – .12 oz / $16 – (Product is full size)  The color received is, “Peach Sheen,” which is almost a coral color with a gold shimmer.  I just don’t like shimmery blushes, and the color doesn’t at all work with my skin tone.  But, like all blushes, this can be used as an eye color too, and I think it’ll work out just fine as an eye shadow.  This arrived with the pot having come unglued from the compact, but that just saves me the time I would’ve spent depotting it anyway, so that’s okay for me!
  • Garnier SkinActive Micellar Makeup Removing Towelettes – 25 towelettes / $6.99 – (Product is full size)  We received the liquid version of this last cycle, so this is almost a repeat item, but in a different delivery method.  They’re okay – nothing spectacular and not cruelty free.  I prefer to use a natural oil based makeup remover so I don’t have to scrub away at eye makeup, but I guess it’s nice to have these for travel.
  • Dirty Little Secret Matte Lipstick – 3.2 g / $14 – (Product is full size)  The color received is, “Rust,” which I was a little worried would tip over into the warm/orange zone and look terrible on me.  Surprisingly, it’s almost like a deep raspberry/strawberry color – really hard to describe, but I LOVE the color!  This dries nice and matte and has great staying power too.  What a nice surprise.  The company is cruelty free as well, so this is an extra big winner in my book.
  • NYX Bright Idea Illuminating Stick – .21 oz / $7.99 – (Product is full size)  The color received is, “Rose Petal Pop,” which is a bright pink color.  I’ll admit that I’m not big into highlighter and illuminator type products since I just feel like they don’t look right on me.  This is SUCH a bright pink that I can really only see it working as a blush, and it would be a nice color for that if it weren’t for the gold shimmer.  I really do like matte blushes only, but I like the color on this so much that I may have to give it a go.  NYX is cruelty free, but their parent company is L’Oréal who does sell in China and tests on animals.  While NYX is still committed to cruelty free beauty, the parent company is not, so it’s kind of a grey area.

Also included in this box was a little rose sticker that matched the product card and outer packaging.  Overall, the box value comes out to $165.40 which is really pretty amazing when you consider that the box cost me a total of $31.74 including shipping.  This one in particular was a big hit with me since they included a number of cruelty free brands and I feel like they listened to some of the feedback about the last batch of boxes.  Not only do we have a nice eyeshadow palette, but there’s also an exclusive-to-Beautycon item and fewer drugstore brands.  The value for the cost is pretty incredible and it’s nice to see this box deliver something so nice, finally!  I think I have one more quarter left on my subscription, so we’ll have to see how that one goes before I make a decision on renewing for another year.  I’m kind of on the fence about it since I’d like to swap this sub for the Vegan Cuts quarterly box, so we’ll have to see!

Kloverbox March 2017

The March boxes are starting to roll in and Kloverbox is the first!  They’re a great mix of both beauty and lifestyle products, so this box can go so many ways and it’s always neat to see what they put together.  The packaging was green and brown crinkle paper and included a few little green clovers which fits in with the theme on the product card, “Stop and smell the Klovers.”  Cute!

  • Love Myself Organics Natural Deodorant – 2.9 oz / $11.95 – (Product is full size)  The scent is, “Forever,” which is a lavender blend and smells like a warm, herbal lavender – not soapy at all.  It comes in a solid stick form (YAY!  No making a mess digging the product out of a pot and applying with your fingers!) and goes on nicely though it does take a bit of swiping the stick on your underarm to warm it up so it applies.  The formula is pretty much the same basic formula as all the other natural deodorants I’ve tried that haven’t worked, so even though this says it actually works (just like all the others), it’s probably not going to work for me.  Natural deodorants just don’t work 8+ hours unless you’re sitting still, and being stinky while working as a photographer at a wedding is a huge no-no.  I do like the scent, and while I’d love to make the switch to natural deodorants, they just never work long enough (nor do I have the luxury of being able to not worry about BO and go through the “transition period” of “detoxing” off aluminum-based deodorants).  So, unfortunately, this is kind of a miss for me, just like every natural deodorant ever.  I’ll probably still save it to use for the days I’m doing editing work at the computer, but it’s not going to replace my regular deodorant.
  • Cuccio Somatology Elixir Calming Spray – 2 oz / $8.95 – (Product is full size)  The scent is Lavender and Cardamom which combine to make a lovely, light but warm scent.  The product website suggests that this can be used as a room spray or on towels, and I can definitely see that being a perfect application.  I’d probably even give my pillow a mist with this before bed.  The scent is not overpowering at all, my nose can definitely pick out both the lavender and cardamom, and it’s just plain delightful.
  • Harvey Price Eau de Parfum – 8.8 mL / $28 – (Product is full size)  Oh Harvey, how I haven’t missed you.  Harvey Prince products are kind of an unfortunate thing in the beauty box world.  They’re everywhere, they’re not that great, and people seem to groan whenever one shows up.  Anyway!  This scent is supposed to have notes of Indonesian Clove Bud, Australian Sandalwood, Moroccan Rose, French Bergamot, Indian Tuberose, Japanese Orange Flower, Lebanese Cedarwood, Turkish Cyclamen, and South African Freesia.  Instead, it smells more like laundry detergent or dryer sheets at first.  The freesia then takes over and steals the show, and maybe it’s just me and the fact that I don’t like stinky florals like freesia, but I can’t pick out anything else over the freesia.  So, this goes on to the trade/give-away box because I loathe floral perfumes.
  • VagMagic – 7 count / $7.99 – (Product is full size)  No, that’s really the name.  VagMagic.  I mean, I had to laugh because it’s a hilarious name, but it claims to be just that exactly, so, VagMagic it is.  It’s essentially Boric Acid and L. Acidophilus in a capsule form which is a pretty well-known homeopathic cure for yeast infections and BV.  Fortunately, I’ve never had a reason to use a product like this, and I don’t see the need to introduce this magic to something that’s already working properly, so.. this one is a loss for me too.  I appreciate the natural approach to health, but personal care products like this are just.. ugh.  I don’t like seeing them in subscription boxes.

The total value comes to $56.89 which is over double the cost of $25 for a month-to-month subscription.  Personally, the only thing I’ll keep and use is the Cuccio Calming Spray, so the value on this one personally doesn’t come out above the cost this month.  Bummer!  Not every box is going to be a winner, and I get that – it’s all part of the subscription box idea that you get to try new things without shelling out for a full size.  So, even if this box didn’t work out for me in terms of cost to value ratio, I did get to try (or see) three products that I wouldn’t have tried otherwise, even if they didn’t wow me.  Looking forward to next month!

Big Dutch Vacation – Part 1

As another update to this long-delayed post, now that it’s been well over a year since the vacation, it’s right damn time I post this thing.  So, here goes.

These are some terribly late entries for a vacation we took from the 3rd to the 16th of October in 2015.  Yep, I’m a delayed gratification blogger.  Oops.  Well, as the saying goes, better late than never!  I’m going to split this into three parts since there’s A LOT to go over and it’s just incredibly too long for one single post.  This is another one of those drive-your-own-boat holidays with a few days on each end to give us breathing space.  It was really an incredible vacation, and I can’t wait to get back to Holland.

Saturday, 3 October 2015:  Our flight was in the evening, so we had time to burn and visit with family while we dropped off the dogs with my husband’s parents.  Everything went as planned with the flight, but neither of us got much sleep since we had a fidgeter sitting between us.  Husband likes the aisle seat for his long legs, I prefer the comfort of the window, and while the flight had an empty space between us that morning, the gamble didn’t pay off and we ended up with this guy who would move/wiggle/fidget in his seat every 20 seconds for the whole flight.  *sigh*


Sunday, 4 October 2015: We landed in Amsterdam at 7:30am in super heavy fog, collected our bags and took a cab to our hotel instead of hopping the train with all of our bags.  Apparently there’s a huge fleet of Teslas in Amsterdam that do the runs from the airport, so it was pretty neat to get to sit inside one (well played, Tesla).  We were only able to drop our bags at the hotel (Fine Seasons Hotel), but we could return after about 10am to check into the room and get settled.  We went on a little walk around the corner to find a cafe for some coffee and hit upon almost the only thing open that early on a Sunday, ‘t Loosje.  Had a really nice breakfast and filled the caffeine requirement, and then took a slow meandering walk around the market that had set up while we were eating on the Nieuwmarkt square, then a slow walk back to the hotel to settle into the room by 11am.  The room was a basement room, pretty small, but enough to sleep in comfortably, so I really didn’t mind for the price.  We contemplated taking a nap, but decided to power through instead.  By then, the fog had started to lift and it was turning into a really nice day.  We set off for Het Scheepvaartmuseum which was just a short walk from the hotel.  Starting outdoors, we toured the Amsterdam, a replica ship from 1749 that served the Dutch East India Company.  Really beautiful, but rather small – husband couldn’t even stand up straight in the captain’s quarters!

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After taking a stroll around the indoor exhibits, we went off to an old favorite, the Brouwerij ‘t IJ, having passed a sheep tied up on the street nearby.  Odd, but hey, Amsterdam!  We sat outside, filling ourselves on delicious beer, cheese, and sausage and chatting with the folks at our table.  Since our last visit, the inside had seen quite an upgrade, so it’s great to see them doing so well!  We stayed right up to closing when the light was fading and took a slow walk back, stopping briefly at another bar near the hotel, Moes.  They were featuring a tap takeover of a local beer called the 7 Virtues (7 Deugden).  The bartender was super friendly and talked a bunch of geek talk about beer.  Went back to the hotel and fell right asleep.

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Monday, 5 October 2015: Got up and went to have breakfast (espresso and something to eat) and found a little place down the street open.  Nothing spectacular, but they had wake-up fuel (ESPRESSO) and this crazy thing that we’ve dubbed the pizza hot dog – it’s pizza toppings on top of a hot dog.  The place doesn’t even have a listing on Google Maps, it’s that small, but it served its purpose.  Gathered our bags and set off on a train to Almere Muziekwijk to meet Peter, a man I had been corresponding with via email about all sorts of genealogy and Dutch related stuff.  He offered to meet us at Almere and then drop us at Lelystad so that we could meet, and because the train was passing so close to his home anyway.  Peter collected us and took us to his home to meet his wife.  We chatted for a little while and had some tea and cookies before heading off across the Zuiderzee Works.  The highway serves as a dike that keeps the sea water out of the land below.  There’s a saying that gets tossed around a lot, “God created the earth, but the Dutch created the Netherlands.”  The engineering involved in keeping water out of lands well below sea level is really phenomenal – the pumps, dikes, and locks that all work together to keep the land below dry is truly amazing.  They use the land closest to the dike here as a natural preserve so that in case of flooding, there’s a natural place for the water to go before destroying the towns.  Smart, these people.  Peter dropped us at Lelystad (a city that didn’t exist until 1967 when the land was reclaimed from the Zuiderzee) at about 1:30 and we were off to Akkrum.  We arrived at Akkrum around 3, but ended up waiting about 40 minutes for a taxi since it’s not exactly a bustling hub of activity.  The taxi driver was nice though and took us straight to the marina for Yachtcharter Wetterwille, costing only €15.  We met Alex there who told us we could’ve just called them for a pickup at the train station.  Oops!  He went into the basics about the boat, the Mistral, rules, etc, and we were handed the keys, a set of maps, and sent on our way!  Fortunately, we’d had some experience with this sort of vacation and the husband is a sea captain, so this is all old hat for us.  The maps did take a little getting used to, but I’ll get into that later on.  Sailing ends for the day pretty much at dusk, so our first stop was at the Watersportbedrijf ANJA in Grou.  Each marina has its own fees that aren’t included in our boat rental fee, so the cost for the night was 9.45, paid to the harbor master who visited us once we were tied up, just as the sun was setting over the harbor.  The yachtcharter had done a shopping trip for us to get us prepared for the first day or so of food, but we found a grocery store (Poiesz) a short walk from the marina to fill in the gaps and keep us supplied for a few more days.  We made pasta for dinner and then the husband taught me how to play cribbage.  I didn’t win, but at least I didn’t get skunked!  We turned in earlyish, around 10:30pm.


Tuesday, 6 October 2015: Got up, made breakfast on the boat, and got underway around 9:30am.  Took what the husband thought was the right way, but after navigating a bit, we found the next fixed, non-opening bridge was MUCH too low for us to go under and had to turn around, knocking us an hour back.  However, that small mistake gained us a bunch of map reading skills.  You see, the main canal map comes with an almanac.  Every bridge/lock/etc comes with a number that corresponds to a number in the almanac that’s only written in Dutch.  Neither of us are fluent in Dutch, but I spent some time with Duolingo before our vacation and had a decent enough comprehension of basic words, plus our cellphone plan includes international roaming for free, so we had Google Translate to help when there was an unknown word.  We had assumed the bridge heights on the map (major bridges have clearance heights listed next to the almanac reference number) were in meters, but they were in decimeters, so what we thought was a bridge with a 2.6 meter clearance was actually a bridge with a .26 meter clearance.  Our boat had a clearance of 2.4 meters, so that wasn’t going to work at all.  However, we were now getting the hang of going between the canal map and almanac and felt pretty secure in the route we planned from there on, carefully checking the bridges the whole way to our final destination that day of Leeuwarden.  We made it to Leeuwarden by 1:30pm and the weather was still drizzly, foggy, and a bit chilly as it had been all morning.  We’re not bothered much by rain, so it really wasn’t a problem since it wasn’t coming down in buckets.  To make it into Leeuwarden, there are a series of drawbridges that cost a total of €7, paid all together at one bridge.  The bridge tender hangs a wooden shoe attached to a fishing pole out of his office window and somehow manages to land the shoe right in your hands every time.  You stuff exact payment inside, wave a thank you, and the bridge tender pulls up the shoe.  We didn’t have to wait terribly long at any of the bridges, but we were also part of a line of a few boats advancing through each one.  After we tied up next to a pretty spot off the Prinsentuin (a lovely public park/garden), we paid €12.27 to moor for the night.  Our first stop in Leeuwarden was the Boomsma distillery and museum.  The popular drink is a bitter liquor called Beerenburg, and Boomsma has been in the Beerenburg business for 125 years.  They also make gin, aged gin, blackberry and elderberry liquor, and a few other spirits.  We watched a short video on the history and production of Beerenburg and got to have a few samples.  We walked around Leeuwarden a bit, making a stop at an amazing cheese shop, Zuivelhoeve, and eventually ending up at the Oldehove.


Oldehove is the tower of an unfinished church began in 1529.  Unfortunately the tower began to sag and construction was stopped, the church eventually demolished, but the tower remains, leaning at an odd angle at the end of the square.  Never put off by a couple of steps, we went in and grabbed tickets for our ascent to the top, a climb of only 183 steps.  At the top of the first floor of the tower, the steps flip to the other side of the tower (an attempt to help straighten the tower by adding weight to the other side) and climb up to the top in a narrow spiral staircase.  Much like the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa, the tower felt weird to climb – even though you know you’re going up the stairs, at times the angle is enough to feel as though you’re not going upwards at all.  At the very top of the tower there’s a glass platform that hangs over the outside wall of the tower letting you stare down past your feet to the ground a few stories below.

We made our way back down the tower finally and headed back to the boat for dinner at 5pm.  Part of the benefit of having the boat is that we try to make our own breakfast and dinner most days so that the vacation is a little more affordable (and healthy).  We went back out after dinner to have a few beers around town, but things were pretty quiet and closed up around town.  We turned in early, heading back to the boat and made it just as the skies opened up and it started raining buckets.

(Part 2 is on its way, standby!  I’ll add a link here to Part 2 once it’s published.)