Beautiful Amsterdam

Trip Start Apr 02, 2013
Trip End Apr 28, 2013

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, North Holland,
Thursday, April 4, 2013

After an 11 hour flight from Los Angeles, I arrived in Amsterdam. Actually, I actually REALLY enjoyed every minute of the flight because I was able to upgrade to Business class for only a few hundred dollars. Apparently Business was almost totally empty so they asked me if I wanted to upgrade for a few hundred dollars. HELLO!!!!! Amazing, champagne, delicious gourmet food, huge comfortable recliner chair, etc. The attendants are always coming by and call you by name. The problem is that now I am spoiled. Oh well, back to reality.

I arrived at my Amsterdam hotel about noon totally exhausted so I slept until about 8 pm, then went out and walked around. I am very close to the central train station and about 8 minutes from Dam square, the main square.

It is so beautiful here. It is rather cool, low 40s in the day and down to 30s at night but I am enjoying it and actually get too warm when walking around a lot. My hotel is a 17th century building that used to be a shipping storehouse and has been converted to a 5 star luxury hotel (thank you Priceline for half price deals!).

Went for an evening canal cruise and then walked around until about 1 am. Very safe. Lots of people walking around. At night you can see inside all of the houses lining the canals - beaautiful - and noone has curtains. A lot of the canals have houseboats lining them which were fascinating to look into, again all lights were on and no curtains. Beautifully rennovated and obscenely expensive I am sure.

Today is actually the second day, Wed. Slept until about 11 am - great room with lots of fun toys (remote control curtains, lights, 25 foot ceilings and one perk I have never heard of. Each room has a fully and I mean FULLY stocked TOTALLY FREE min-bar which is restocked every day!!!!! I am doing my best to drink my money's worth of waters, wines, fruit juices, chocolates, nuts, soft drinks - they even have 6 small bottles of hard liquor which I am bringing with me to pass out to new friends on the river boat - everything from scotch, brandy, vodka, rum and something else I do not know. I put all the extra bottles in my suitcase yesterday and they were all replaced this afternoon. Bob, they even have several bottles of Heinekens but I am not saving those - too big. I could almost open up my own liquor store out on the street.

I signed up for an afternoon tour to several small fishing villages outside of Amsterdam. First, we went to Marken which I sort of remembered from our trip there about 35 years ago. Very small village.. No one was around. Almost all residential, only a few shops. The original houses were built on stilts because of constant flooding but since the huge northern 33 mile long dike was built in the north to keep out the North Sea, the occupants have bricked in and made a first story but the real entrance is still on the second story with stairs leading up to it.Hopefully I will be able to download pictures.

We went into a wooden shoe making store and had the usual demonstration of how they are made, very interesting. The residents, especially farmers and people who garden, still use them on a daily basis because apparently they are much better than rubber in working in wet muddy soil,. See my pictures hopefullly.

We then took a small boat across the bay to another town, Volendam, which is famous for its cheese making. Again, we had the cheese making demo - but nothing like in Italy, Bob. Only 5 minutes but at least in their store, they had lots and lots of dozens of different kinds of cheeses so I had my free lunch that way. Afterwards, a British couple I had met and I went to a nearby cafe and had capuccino and apple strudel. They were from Manchester so we had fun comparing stories about England. They have relatives in Sacramento of all places so they have been there several times and also to Lake Tahoe which they loved. They actually gave me a discount card to an argentinian restaurant where I had dinner later that evening. They had been there several times and said it was very good - it was okay but cheap and close by.

Memory reminder to Bob, Chris and Jeff - I remembered that on our family trip to Amsterdam 35 years ago we stayed at an old hotel just across from the train station. It is the Victoria Hotel which still looks the same, see picture hopefully. I also have several times have had french fries or pomme frites with MAYONAISSE - remember that - you guys were just 8 years old could not believe eating french fried wsith mayonaisse and they did not have ketchup. One of your first culinary adventures!!!

I board my river ship tomorrow after 12 noon sometime. This brand new ship has wifi in all of the rooms so hopefully I will have a chance to blog more.

I LOVE my new keyboard. It was so worth the extra money. Also, I have to applaud travelpod for upgrading their ipad app. I have tried in the past year several times and it simply did not work like the full program on the web but now they just upgraded so hopefully it will work as well.

Will now try to download pictures. wish me luck. Am having a lot of fun playing with my electronic toys - ipad, bluetooth keyboard, etc. Remember Jeff when you were travelling on the tennis tour and you had to FAX us, heaven forbid!

Bye and love to all,

Amsterdam Shirley
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Joyce on

Got both your text and photos beautiful. Am envious. But what about the red light district

Jeffrey on

Great update wish we were there!

Lisa on

Love the new upgraded blogs with more pics! Have fun! I didn't know you were in Amsterdam.

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