Wednesday May 21, Amsterdam

Mynde here… just so you know. I realize after re-reading some of our own blogs that Andrea and I often switched writer mid-stream. Oh well. It got done, that’s all that matters. And now, it’s been nearly two weeks since we’ve return home and here I am finishing up this last little piece.

This piece may be last but it is not small for on this final day of our European vacation, we traipsed all over the city of Amsterdam and the blister on my foot was a happy souvenir to bring home! Our dear friend and tour guide Richard made sure we saw as much of Amsterdam as possible. I am so certain we would not have been able to see as much without Richard, so Thank you again Risi!

After the 90-minute drive from Sneek to Amsterdam, we parked Richard’s car in the Ajax Soccer Stadium arena parking lot which is adjacent to a major Train Station leading deeper into the city. Parking is very expensive in downtown Amsterdam we learned. Upwards of €40 per day! The train brought us into Central Station and we proceeded on a 20-minute walk to our room; an antique shop that was also attached to a guest house.

After leaving our bags in our room, we headed out into the city. It was so warm this day, some of the best weather we had seen in Holland. Clear blue skies. We headed over to the Ann Frank house and saw the line. Also we discovered, they were doing major renovations to the outside of the building, so there wasn’t much to see… unless we wanted to stand in line which Richard said would be there all day long. We decided to pass this time.

We walked though a monument dedicated to Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgendered persons who served WWII and suffered any form of discrimination; those who lost their lives due to their sexuality. This monument was for them.

We headed into Dam Square and just observed the sites. Street performers. Traffic. Lots of people. Bicycles. Taxis. Trains. Dogs. Business suits and students. Horse-drawn carriages. Pigeons & other birds. Later we sat on a terrace and drank a cool beer. By now, it was easily in the high 70’s. After the beer, we found the flower market, Two Sisters Bridge, Rembrandt Square, ate a slice of New York Pizza, saw China Town and finally the Red Light District, snapping pictures along the way although the stoop whores do not appreciate the photo ops at all!

We grabbed dinner from an unmentionable restaurant with Richard and then said our goodbyes. It had been a long day and he had a a 90-minute drive ahead of him. We were all kind of tired from walking all over Amsterdam and getting so much sun.

Andrea and I returned to our room for a quick rest and freshen up before we headed out into the still-bright evening around 9pm. Eventually we did capture some pictures of Amsterdam in the late evening when it’s fully dark. I was so grateful to experience this. The city was alive with the final round of the European Cup so we wandered through a couple of bars and peeked into a coffeeshop to see what it was like. The game was the focus for most, although the locals complained it was two British teams and they weren’t really paying attention anyway.

All in all, Amsterdam is such a fabulous city. We were up by 5am to head back to Central Station to get our train to Schiphol Airport. I would have liked to stay another night here and the thought crossed my mind that I would actually like to live here one day. At least for a short time. Enjoy the pictures, there are a few 😉

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