Arriving in Amsterdam…

After a rather tense two weeks, we left home for a long-planned (and paid for!) 45th anniversary trip to Europe. (Well, it’s a year early – but we were never very good at counting. :>) We rented an apartment, sight unseen, alongside the lovely canal above, planning to stay 4 nights and then board a Viking river cruise ship on Sunday afternoon for a 2 week voyage up the rivers of Central Europe to Budapest. Why the tension? Dick’s mom took a very bad fall on the 26th of August, hitting her head hard and suffering lingering after effects, including inter-cranial bleeding, dizziness, confusion, volatile blood pressure and an erratic heartbeat. She now seems relatively stable, so we kept our original plans in play and flew out of LAX on Tuesday evening, the 8th of September.

We got bumped to business class by our booking company due to some badly managed seating arrangements – much to our delight and refreshment. This is the first time I have ever actually slept more than about 20 minutes on any flight of any kind, ever. The seat reclined almost fully and the food was almost too good. We arrived in Amsterdam at about 1:00 p.m. the next day and were met by a driver we had arranged for with the limo service we used at home – which was a great idea. Even though public transport in this city is excellent, trying to maneuver streets and canals and side streets and side canals when you don’t speak the language is a major challenge, especially when faced with jetlag and general exhaustion from just trying to get outta town!
The apartment? Well…we’ve had better luck with other internet finds. It’s on the dingy side, smells of the damp and is very long, narrow and dark. BUT it’s got a small kitchen, a bed that’s moderately comfy and it sure feels good to come back to after a long day hiking around a new city.
We’ve had 2 full days here now – been to Anne Frank’s home, Westerkirk, the Dam Square, took a one hour canal boat tour, rode the tram home (think trolley car, very modern – only we missed our stop and had to walk about as far as we might have if we’d skipped the dang thing entirely). Today we took the train to Haarlem, toured the Church of St. Bevo on the lovely city square and went through Corrie ten Boom’s home. Each day we’ve enjoyed lunch at an outdoor cafe and dinner at a different neighborhood restaurant near our apt. in the Jordaan neighborhood. Tomorrow, we head to the the Rijksmuseum, then Sunday we board our boat and the next morning, they take us on another canal tour and a trip to the Van Gogh museum. That night, we sail to Cologne and begin our river adventures! Looking forward to it all!

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  1. Don’t you LOVE those business class seats that recline. And the food!! I had one to Chicago once after being bumped and arrived ENERGIZED of all things. I really slept too.

    How smart you are…limo to apt. Sorry it’s dark and dank. And great visits to home, museum, etc. Sounds like a wonderful visit. And then the cruise…you won’t have to pack etc. Enjoy Van Gogh!! Sounds wonderful.

  2. Thanks for your good words, Sherry. We are slowly unwinding, are slightly less anxious about being in a strange place with a strange language and feeling generally lost a lot of the time. By the time we get on that boat tomorrow, we’ll feel like old hands, I’m sure. Hope you’re doing okay and finding space for rest and beauty.