Picture Perfect Amsterdam

Trip Start Aug 17, 2012
Trip End Sep 13, 2012

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Where I stayed

Flag of Netherlands  , Noord-Holland,
Monday, September 3, 2012

Amsterdam was truly a lovely town.  For some reason, though it was very cold and windy while we were there.  We were there just a few days, but it really did rain like 10 times.  Five times the first day, and about 5 times the second day.  Jonathan thought he would be just fine with his rain coat on, and a couple of tshirts that he had layered.  Me, on the other hand, after looking out of the window saw the "Netherland-ers" in scarves, jackets buttoned up to their heads, and leaning into the wind.  So, I layered and wore my scarf, and a rain coat on top of my jacket as well.  After talking Jonathan into wearing his coat too, after much convincing, he was VERY VERY glad he did!  So, although it was a very windy day, and cold, we had a great time walking around.  We were able to go to the Van Gogh museum.  I loved it.  I have really been a fan of his for some time now.  I find his life so sad though.  He was such a perfectionist and he never really could find what made him happy in life.  I could go on and on about Van Gogh, but I will stop there with him

For a brief time, we were able to meet up with friends in Amsterdam.  Ryan Bjorn and his wife Melissa, are expectating their first baby.  She is truly about to pop at any moment.  I am blown completely away at the fact that she is 2 days from her due date, and she was out riding her bike to the park to meet with friends for lunch. More about these bikes later.  Their apartment is absolutely story-book.  They live right on the canal, and the apartment is 3 stories tall.  The top is my favorite; they have a patio which overlooks the city, the river, and all the other gingerbread homes.  (Krista, I am totally jealous of you for getting to spend 3 months there.)  Amsterdam gets a bad rap at times I think.  Even back home before we left, as I mentioned we were going to visit Amsterdam, I got funny looks.  Yes, yes, I know that there is trouble you can find there if you want, but, you truly have to look for it.  I have seen more garbage and offensive things in the Galleria Mall in Birmingham, Alabama that I did in Amsterdam.  The city is so clean and innovative.  I was so impressed by how creative they have to be to do something as simple as moving into their canal homes. The houses are straight up and narrow, so much so that you almost kiss your knees when climbing the stairs.  There is absolutely NO WAY you are getting furniture up to living room, and any thing bigger than a sack full of groceries. So, in order to make this possible, they use a pulley system and a rope to bring furniture and other large items they need in or out the window!  We even got to see a couple do this as they were moving in their apartment this very day! 

About these bikes.  Amsterdam would not be the same without the bikes.  They make a perfect accessory to every single photo you want to take.  Take away the bikes and Amsterdam looses some of its character and charm.  If it's raining, Amsterdamers hold an umbrella over their heads and pedal. If they need to talk or text, they still do this while pedaling away.  If a friend also wants to catch a ride with you, they simply just jump on the back of the bike and sit side-saddle with their legs pulled up out of the way.  They have their own lanes, which are not small lanes.  They are the largest lanes.  Everyone else, pedestrians and cars must share what's left of available real estate of cobblestone.  I wanted to rent a bike, but it's really like driving in New York; it's better to leave that to the locals. 

Simply put, we both loved Amsterdam.  It met our expectations and maybe even exceeded.  We loved meeting up with Ryan.  It has been years since I had seen him, and he is just a wonderful, kind person who I remembered.  Even with the rain, and wind and coldness, it was a treasure to be there.  I will always keep the images of walking across the bridges and seeing the boats and bikes in my mind forever.  Without a doubt, I would go back.  

For now, that is all.  We travel to France next.  More later on that.  Goodnight.

Love to all,
 Kelley and Jonathan


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