Monday, April 19, 2010

Amsterdam Part 2

Most of the photos are by Daniella!On Sunday morning (my birthday) we crawled out of bed and went into the magnificent Vondel Park behind our hotel. We had a date to meet Kazuko and her two children at a children's playground there. Kaz is the daughter of my dear friend, Seiji, from Valemont, B.C. whose friendship I've enjoyed for now 40 years, beginning when we all lived on a ranch in Alberta, and were young and carefree. Anyway, we enjoyed the gorgeous park. The weather was perfection, sunny, warm, and the Amsterdamers were all driven out to bask in the sun, ride bikes (always), and play outdoors with their families. Kaz lives here, her husband is a student. Her two boys are adorable and we had a nice visit with them.
Took a tram into the center of the city and spent hours wandering around looking at whatever looked interesting. The streets were swarming with people, and many found creative ways to catch the sun. Upstairs windows were full of loungers, boats were being used to just sit and enjoy the weather, or smoke a hookah, or take a nap. We also took to the water and bought one of those one hour canal tours in a glass boat, very enjoyable and a quick way to get a look at the city. We sampled some pastries, sipped cold drinks, and walked miles and miles, loving it all!Last night we were invited to dinner at the spectacular penthouse apartment of Ineke and Emma, two Dutch women who are friends of our friend Lauren. They cooked a fabulous dinner for us, and we talked for hours and enjoyed their company so much,and their 360 degree views out over Amsterdam! We even were able to locate the tall office buildings where we almost were stranded the night before! It is so delightful to be invited into a lovely home for a home-cooked meal when you are traveling - thank you ladies!Today is Monday, the 19th. We are on a long, slow train journey to Berlin. We had a few adrenalin squirts at first when we went to the Central A'dam station only to discover that our train was a leaving from the South A'dam station. There were mobs of people trying to get on trains due to the lack of flights, and we were panicked for a few minutes, but with the kind help of some train officials we were rescued, sent to another small town, where we picked up our train already enroute! Phew! Now we will rest, snooze, and rock gently through this spectacular countryside. The views out the train windows are amazing! it's very rural, bucolic, horses, cows and sheep all grazing in acid green fields, neat-as-a-pin villages, old wooden windmills next to huge modern wind farms, bicycle paths along shady lanes. So enticing!!

-- Posted From My iPad

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