Trip Start Mar 11, 2006
Trip End Mar 28, 2006

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Thursday, March 23, 2006

Aat and Sjoerd met us at the airport which was such a treat! No bus or train! We stayed with them for 3 nights in a separate suite in their building which was just renovated (a far cry from our Venice apartment which was tired and rundown). Every night we were treated to fine meals and wonderful conversation. It was a great visit and a real highlight of our trip. Sjored and Aat are both wonderful tour guides and took us around the neighbouring towns, past windmills, to fishing villages and into Amsterdam to see all the sights. We also took a boat cruise along the canals of Amsterdam and went past the Ann Frank house but the line was a bit to long for the time we had so we had to pass it by unfortunately. We even were treated(?) to pickled herring. I always say I'll try anything once and actually liked the taste of pickled herring (kind of like smoked salmon) but could not get past the texture - slimy. Glad I tried it though!!

Once on our own we went to Amsterdam for the day and found a street market where we had fresh Stroopwaffel - you have not lived until you have had fresh Stroopwaffel - heaven! Then on to the Van Gough Museum and the Rijksmuseum to see Rembrandt's famous Night Watch. It was a great time to be in Amsterdam as it's Rembrandt's 400th birthday celebration this year and some special events throughout the city are planned. One we particularly enjoyed was a life size recreation in bronze of the Nightwatch. Each character was a separate statue and you actually "walk into" the Nightwatch and see it from all sides in 3-D, very cool!!

We really enjoyed Amsterdam with all it's bicycles, bridges and ease of travel - everyone speaks English! We even (quite by accident) left our baggage in an unlocked luggage locker in the Amsterdam train station and could not believe our luck that everything was there when we got back and realized what we had done - we'll never know if it was just dumb luck or the honesty of the people that allowed our bags to be there when we got back, but what ever it was we were quite glad to not be shopping for new clothes!
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