Hi everybody –
Haven’t had a chance to blog yet. Haven’t really felt like it. Not sure why I don’t feel the inspiration, but I’m just not. BUT, I’ve been getting notes from home and my travelling partners as I think they want a shot to be famous in my travels so I guess I better get busy.
Have some downtime now as I’m sitting on a train travelling through the beautiful Netherlands countryside on my way to Dusseldorf Germany. The last few days have gone by quickly.
We left Seattle about 4:30pm on Saturday the 19th. And finally made it to Amsterdam about 1pm local time on Sunday. Only Chuck was able to sleep. BUT, we know the best strategy is to just immediately adjust to the local time and so we did.
My travelling partners this trip are Chuck, friends since high school and a bit of a general dipshit. Has travelled all over the world for work, but never actually seen anything or really gotten local. This is really his first time getting to vacation/travel in Europe. My buddy Jimmy who I’ve known 25 years, is an extensive world traveler, and even lived in Germany for a year and a half with his 8th wife. He’s on wife 9 now and seems pretty happy with her. And my old partner in crime, Michelle, who I’ve known since I was a little kid and my regular companion on these adventures and usually a co-pilot on a bar stool back home. My sista-from-another-mister. This is our 3rd Euro adventure together. Anyways, that’s my travel gang this time out.
So, we get into Amsterdam and immediately go the wrong way searching for our place we have booked for a couple nights. I thought I knew where I was going, and while I was heading the right direction, it did take us a bit to find the houseboat we were staying on. Happy to report, we finally did, and met our Captain Dawn, who was a gracious host and the houseboat was really great. Not the most spacious place, but we had enough room to move around and stow our gear. The toilets were weird, but I won’t go into that. Staying on the boat was cool and I could feel the gentle rocking at night as I’d drift off to sleep.
We were all excited to see Amsterdam and the Red Light District, so we set out walking. And walking. And walking. We walked all over that first evening. Saw the lights. Saw the “coffee shops”. Saw the girls in the windows. Saw busy canals. Crossed many bridges. Enjoyed the building and narrow alleyways and nooks. Had a lovely dinner, although I don’t recall where. It was all … not overwhelming, but definitely an experience. Really cool just to stroll. I slept well and dreamt of Amsterdam all night, but I tell you when I woke up, I couldn’t remember what I was dreaming about. Honest. Just know it was about Amsterdam.
The next day, after everyone caught up on sleep, we had a grand day out. This time we set out towards the Anne Frank house, which I knew who Anne Frank was, but no real details. (I thought I knew who Anne Frank was…..I didn’t.) At first, I thought Anne Frank was Helen Keller, but I quickly learned that was the wrong story. One of my favorite things to do when travelling in Europe, or anywhere really, is to “walk in History”. That’s what I call it anyway. Be on the site, and walk in the steps where famous historical events have taken place. I just love it. So once I read the story of Anne Frank (while waiting in line 2 hours for tickets), I was really excited to get to take my walk through history. Absolutely fantastic tour, and museum, and a marvelous story, with a very sad ending. Just another month and the whole crew would’ve made it out as Amsterdam was liberated from the Nazis just a month or so after the Frank family and friends were rounded up and taken away. It inspired me to definitely read the Diary of Anne Frank which I will probably download on this trip and read on my kindle during down time. (Kindles, cell phones, portable wireless access points, it is so simple to travel here nowadays.)
After Anne, we needed to lift our spirits? So we eventually made our ways to the coffee shops, perused the menus, and uh, did as the Dutch do when Amsterdam, and every other tourist here (which there are a lot and a lot more Americans than I expected). It’s a great experience to see all the freedom and tolerance towards alternative “lifestyles”? The so-called “seedy” part of Amsterdam while different, didn’t seem so seedy to me. Everyone going about their lives enjoying their substance of choice, sitting at outside cafes, visiting, laughing, enjoying. The canals and boats passing by are wonderful to veg out to as well as some of the best people watching on the planet that I’ve seen. We just kind of absorbed and integrated into what was happening around us the rest of the afternoon and it was all really, really…..just great. I’ll tell you, I didn’t love the Red Light district like I expected to, but I did enjoy it very much. If I never come back, that’s fine, and if I come back again, great. I’ll look forward to it.
We wound up taking a canal cruise as well which was completely awesome. It was inexpensive, tolerant of any substances you may bring on board and served drinks! That was a fun ride. Our tour boat captain educated us on the various buildings, districts, and histories and it was pretty groovy to cruise the waterways and go under all the bridges. Calming, relaxing, and very fun.
At dinner we discussed all the great things we had seen, only to find Chuck missed everything, literally everything, we learned on the cruise. He was busy taking selfies. As I mentioned earlier, he’s a bit of dipshit. We filled him in though on what he missed.
By about 9pm (we’d been out literally all day), we’d all had our fill. We made our way back to our houseboat and crashed hard. Those who couldn’t sleep the first night, did so the second, and we’re all perfectly integrated into the local time now. No jet lag at all.
And that brings us to right about now. Got up this morning and made our way to Amsterdam Central to catch the train to Dusseldorf. So, we’re all caught up! Love & kisses to those back home and will write more as soon as I can.
When we get to Dusseldorf, we have pretty much zero plans. We’re picking up a car at the railstation…..and that’s it. More to come…..Ta ta…..
Hi everybody –