- Hallo en Welkom…..Our plane arrived later in the day at the Schiphol airport in Amsterdam. We boarded a train directly from the airport to the main train station in Amsterdam, which was within walking distance of our Hotel. Note, if the train schedule says it will leave at 3:02 that is exactly when it will leave!
- Later that evening we walked to a local restaurant for what turned out to be a massive meal referred to as “Stampot”. The Ultimate Dutch comfort food which includes potato, sauerkraut, carrot, onion, kale and juicy sausage. We also enjoyed the thick green split pea soup with pork, celery, onions and leeks. So much for a light supper and a good night’s sleep!
- The following day began early as arrangements were made for a bicycle trip (50 km!!) leaving from Weesp and cycling through the rural areas of Nederhorstenberg and Nictevecht on various paths around the canal system. We biked into the countryside from dawn to dark, stopping for sightseeing, coffee, lunch, supper and finally returning to the train station in Weesp by the light of a beautiful full moon. The weather was favorable for the most part and it turned out to be a memorable day that most tourists would never experience, thanks to our hosts. In Amsterdam, the city of bikes, there are 500Km of bike trails and be warned NOT to walk in the designated bike paths unless you place zero value on your well being.
- How easily impressed am I? Well, prior to boarding the train I sought out a washroom. You pay One Euro and a door opens to an all stainless steel toilet room allowing you to enter. When you exit the room the door locks once more and the entire room is automatically sprayed floor to ceiling with high pressure water jets and sanitized. I was sooooo impressed that I would have used another coin, if the train wasn’t about to pull out. (Who asked you say?)
- The covered boat ride through the canals and into the harbor was enjoyable and offered a different view of the city. It was a rainy walk in early evening around the DeWallen, the Red Light district, where window shopping and coffee houses have a whole different meaning. I will leave judgment, if you must, to your own conscience whether this type of commerce is beneficial or acceptable to society as a whole.
- The next day comprised of a train trip to Delft to see the pottery and buy a partial block of Gouda cheese. The vendor vacuum packed the cheese for transit back to Canada. Once back in Amsterdam we took a walk down to the Albert Cuyp street market, iconic since 1905, and selling all sorts of wares. We ate raw herring (an acquired taste-Uck !), stroopwafels (delicious) and frits with mayo(different). The Dutch love their salt/sweet licorice “Dutch Drop” and have the highest per capita consumption in the world. Your taste buds may never be the same again!
Dewey………………………………..Next is Newfoundland, Canada