August 9, 2016
I’ll add pictures tonight.
Wow! I slept 11 hours. That is a record for me, two nights sleep in one. Tom said he got up at 5 a.m. showered, went for a walk, read the paper and more. Now, he’s crawled into bed, and I’m awake.
Today was a lovely day. We started with the same, scrumptious hotel buffet – same as yesterday. Tom had already eaten when I staggered downstairs at ten a.m. One piece of advice for those travelling to Amsterdam: the “I Amsterdam” city pass is expensive, but worth every penny. The city pass also covers admission to most of the main attractions. Those really add up. We are enjoying being able to get on the tram whenever we choose. Service is frequent, often ten trams to the hour, and they take you anywhere – anywhere, once you figure out which tram, and in which direction. More than once today, it seemed to be taking us an extra long time to get to our destination. Tom finally asked the tram driver and discovered we were going the wrong way. Real men, swallow your pride. Enjoy the adventure of a very inexpensive city tour.
Once we arrived at the Amsterdam Centraal (yes, there are two ‘a’s) Station, we found the “Media Mart” right beside the Doubletree Hilton, where we rendezvous with our shuttle to the cruise tomorrow. This was the only place to purchase the adaptor we needed for the German style electrical outlets at the hotel. They are round, and recessed, and we do need our electronics charged up. We walked back to noon mass at the oldest Roman Catholic church in Holland. A small pub beside the church advertised soup and bread for 5 Euro’s. Eating out is expensive here. The food is good. We had already received four joyful moments, two based on relief (computer adaptor, tomorrow’s rendezvous) The elegant ancient church brought us peace. Down the row from us sat a Buddhist monk, and up ahead a woman in a head scarf. I felt as if hope had joined us on our journey. Of course, delicious home-made soup and crusty bread fresh from the oven combined as “comfort” food: pure joy.
Well-fed, we walked to the nearest dock. We took the “Lovers” canal boat tour thinking it might be something special. It was. It gave us a joyful moment. The seats are arranged at tables – three on each side. Across from us were parents with a teenaged girl. Together, we figured out how to get the electronic guide to speak to us in English. Don’t always believe the LCD labels. One of ours said we were hearing Arabic. The shared confusion broke the ice. When the tour was over, we talked long after everyone else had left the boat. In the end, I gave them my card. Already, I’ve decided that finding moments of joy is easy.
The afternoon was fast disappearing. We thought we’d go to the Rijksmuseum, but decided to save it for tomorrow. A half hour wasn’t nearly enough time. Out came the guidebook. “Let’s check out the concert house. Maybe there’s a play on,” I said. Tom agreed. We couldn’t just ask Google because of course our cell phones are turned off. We hopped a tram. That’s when we discovered that jet lag was making Tom as directionally challenged as I always am. When we found it, the theatre was closed for renovations. The opera and ballet theatres had no shows this week. At that point it was nearly seven. We decided just to get off the tram at any collection of restaurants and walk. We left the tram at the Rembrandt Park monument. The life-size bronze statues come alive, and you can touch them. Spectacular.
We walked for nearly an hour checking posted menus, looking for a reasonably priced supper. Once desperate, we stopped. God must have been looking over our shoulder. We found a pub down a side lane. It looked straight out of the “Three Musketeers.” The two of us ate for 30 Euros. I had a spinach, onion, camembert quiche with a shaved almonds top crust. My salad was fresh and pretty, the dressing savoury sweet. Tom enjoyed his smoked salmon pasta. All was delicious
Twilight arrived while we ate. The waitress directed us to catch the #2 tram to our hotel. A friendly woman at the tram stop showed us the direction we needed to go. Our day was over. Time for tea, this blog and bed. It’s been grand. Quiet and fun, interesting and challenging. We were truly blessed.