Yesterday was Aimee’s 41st birthday, so we celebrated with multiple parties over the weekend.

We started by letting her open presents in bed:

The kids gave her this “happy” bracelet, which she loved:

Then we left for a birthday brunch at JoJo’s. After quiche and French toast casserole, we had Christmas pie (her request, and which I made):

Today was also the big Bay Area Buddy walk for Chris, Micha, and the Hoho boys, so we all wore our #ACEface shirts in solidarity.

That night we went out to Tokyo’s Japanese Steakhouse for Aimee’s chosen family meal location:

The next night was dinner at Grammie and Granddad’s. Aimee ordered her own chocolate cake:

Memaw gave Aimee one of her jade necklaces Granddaddy had once given her. (Aimee LOVED it.)

Grammy & Granddad got the Storseth’s old 70s milkshake maker fixed (by Chuck) as a birthday gift:

It was a good birthday, spread over multiple parties. Just like she always wants.


While planing our garden this spring, Ellie asked if we could plant some carrots. So I dug a little trough and poured in a whole seed packet of carrots.

We dug them up today.

They were probably planted too close together, but they grew anyway. In spectacular shapes. Sometimes they even hugged each other.

And look how much green grows up over the orange root!

We took the bikes out again for the day, determined to explore all the best parts of Amsterdam. First stop, the central municipal library, which has a terrace up at the top:

Cool library layout:

I love houseboats:

We found the Blumenmarket, a world-famous floating flower market:

We stopped for a sunny, chilly lunch at Vondelpark:

This is our attempt to see the Seven Bridges. At one point along a certain canal, you can get a photo of seven bridges lined up in a row along the Reguliersgracht. Unfortunately, this only works from a boat going under the first bridge. But it’s still cool.

Many of the cars you do see in Amsterdam are tiny little things. We thought one of these would be great for Ellie:

From the bikes to the boats to the abundant sunshine, we had such a great time in Amsterdam.

Headed back to the States tomorrow morning—a 10-hour plane ride from Amsterdam to Houston to Amarillo.

We started the morning with a chilly breakfast on the deck of the boat:

Our B&B came with use of two bikes for getting around. So we intended to make full use of them. We researched a path from Amsterdam to the little village of Broek en Waterland, about 8 kilometers northeast of Amsterdam, out in the country. Because the Netherlands is such a bike-focused country, we could get all the way there on bicycle paths.

Ferry ride to our starting point:

Oliebollen from a food truck near the ferry. These were amazing doughnut-like dumplings:

Bike paths:

Broek in Waterland is a really cute little country village that was once a vacation destination for sea captains:

After a picnic lunch and looking around a big thrift shop, we headed back. This was one of our favorite days of the trip.

Crepe dinner:



We got up for a quick breakfast in Colmar:

Then we drove 45 minutes southeast to Basel, Switzerland, where Aimee and I were catching a flight to Amsterdam. Trace and Becca were heading back to Frankfurt.


We really enjoyed checking out Basel Minster, a landmark red sandstone church built between 1019 and 1500:

Amazing carved pews:

The oldest part of the church is its crypt. This is one of the earliest tombs, for a bishop born in 917:

One of Basel’s town squares:

Basel’s amazing 500 year-old painted town hall at the Marktplatz:

After lunch, we split up.

Becca and Trace are flying out of Frankfurt tomorrow (she’s going back to Boulder, he’s going to Finland). We took a cheap Easyjet flight to Amsterdam:

Bike parking at the central train station in Amsterdam:

Our accommodations in Amsterdam are on a boat! We’re staying on the Westerdok Avontuur, a restored 100-year-old ship. It’s moored in the Westerdok, which is a half-mile from the city center in a quiet little neighborhood. The raised yellow area in the back is our room and deck.

Dinner that night at a tapas place:

Amsterdam is a beautiful city. The canals make it especially photogenic at night:

Today we had breakfast in France (Colmar), lunch in Switzerland (Basel), and dinner in the Netherlands (Amsterdam). Three meals in three countries. That’s a first for us.

Scenic drive south from the Rheingau to Colmar, France:

Colmar was the hometown of Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, who sculpted the Statue of Liberty. A replica as you enter:

Old Town Colmar is famous for being such a well-preserved French-German cityscape:

We stayed at the historic Hotel St. Martin, a mansion-house dating back to 1361:

View from our window:

We ate lunch in a creperie:


This area is known as “Little Venice”:

Such a cute little town:

We got up early to take a run along the Rhein.

After breakfast at Mannfred’s house (each couple stayed in a separate cottage down the street), we headed to the winemaking town and UNESCO World Heritage Site Rüdesheim-am-Rhein. There’s a gondola that travels over all the vineyards to the top of a mountain, then back down the other side.

This gave us the best views of the whole trip.

At the top:

There’s a famous German statue at the top of the mountain called the Niederwalddenkmal, which commemorates the unification of Germany in the 1800s.

We took a mile-long hike through the trees to reach the gondola that would take us down.

Headed down:

The village of Assmanshausen at the bottom (with a castle across the river):

We took a boat ride back to Rüdesheim for lunch. More castles:

Lunch in Rüdesheim:

In the evening, Aimee and Becca and I walked a few kilometers to the school, through vineyards, in order to get to the concert venue.


Another early-morning train ride! This time, we headed back through Brussels to the Rheingau area of Germany, a famous wine-growing region.

Castles from the train:

We met up with Mannfred, who was promoter for Trace’s concert the next night at a boarding school. We had a quick lunch and went to walk alongside the Rhein. It was a little drizzly.

We visited the Eberbach Abbey, a monastery founded in 1136 by Bernard of Clairvaux.

A beautiful place, especially in the rain.

The four of us standing in a giant hand sculpture, which does NOT date from 1136.

We ended the evening with a meal at a fancy inn, treated by Mannfred and Suzanna. It was delicious.

Early-morning train to Lille, France, about an hour south.

And a crowded taxi ride to our AirBNB apartment for the day.

It was a great little two-bedroom apartment with a loft:

Right next to it was a Tex-Mex place. We did not eat there.

Instead, we had lunch at a cute little French café. In France, these are just called cafés.

We had quiche and crepes and coffee and other delicious items.

We checked out the Basilica of Notre Dame de la Treille, the main cathedral in Lille and a national monument of France.

Gargoyle offerings:

We loved the narrow cobblestone streets and quaint old town of Lille:

Lille has all the feel of Paris but without the crowds:

Also: French bakeries. People from Lille call them “bakeries.”

We split from the Bundys and found a park that was a converted citadel built in the 1600s.

Paths and greenery ran all through its former walls.

Then we met back up with the Bundys for a rainy walk to the venue, Le Spotlight:

We ate Indian food before the show, then enjoyed the concert.

Then Aimee and I took a rainy walk home while the Bundys wrapped up the concert.


Aimee and Becca arrived in Brussels around 8ish, took the train into the city center, and then promptly ate a lot of waffles.

The world-famous Mannekin Pis, which dates back to 1619:

They went to the enormous Midi Market:

And drank coffee:

Trace and I had taken an early flight from Glasgow to London, finally arrived in Brussels mid-afternoon, and were very happy to see them.

I wasted no time in securing a waffle of my own.

And frites!

We went to a beer-tasting place near the main square and split a flight of Belgian beers with the Bundys. Delicious:


The square at night:

We finished up with a quick meal at a kebab place, which was very satisfying.

The life and times of Jason, Aimee, Ellie & Owen Boyett

...because we're always trying to remember what we did.

Past Stuff


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