Saturday, August 8, 2009

Wandering Amsterdam, Netherlands

Delta Airines delivered us to Amsterdam without incident at 8:00am Friday morning. After a $100 cab ride from the airport (shared with the Daggetts) we dropped our luggage and began enjoying this exciting, flat and sunny old city. We wandered and wandered up and down the narrow streets and beside the many canals. While the streets seem to go everyway we never were lost for long and made it back to the hotel by noon to rest our sleep deprived bodies.

Refreshed we headed out again around 4:00pm and found a shopping street, more restaurants and canals.

Saturday morning we found a nearby hotel where the breakfast buffet was more reasonable ($21 vs $42 at our hotel) and enjoyed watching the early morning activity on the nearby street. We have run into street bazaars and other assorted big city activities. Haven't made many purchases yet so the Mastercard is still working.

This is truly a city of bicycles and canals. There are bikes everywhere enjoying the lanes and traffic signals set up just for them. There are few of the fancy bikes so common in Seattle. Rather the heavy duty, fender clad Dutch bike is most prevalent. Some have wheel barrow like carriers on the front for groceries or kids. Helmets are unheard of. Our taxi driver said that was because the drivers here are so careful!

Our gear is now on our boat for a 1:30 departure. The bike/barge vessels are all very similar since they need to fit under the many bridges and in the narrow canals. The rooms are on a lower level, near the waterline. The upper or main deck is for the lounge, dining and other daytime activities. There is an ample rear deck on our barge, the Lena Maria, where the bicycles and deck chairs are stored.

I am writing in a huge library here near our barge so I don't know how to upload photos. Maybe later or maybe I will not have internet access for the next two weeks. We shall see.

In the meantime, best to all. We must get back to the barge and "cast off soon."

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