Sunday, July 10, 2011

Look out Amsterdam...we are here!

After an added hour and half at the gate in Philadelphia because a passenger had to get off, we were finally off and landed in Amsterdam at 9:00 a.m. local time!  Passport control and customs was a breeze…and then came the fun!  We ended up on the wrong train to downtown but fortunately discovered this two stops from the airport but a local pointed us in the right direction.  All was good as it was nice to sit outside in the cool breezy air.  Back on the right train we were airport bound…this time we asked a train representative where to go…guess that’s why they have train information booths, eh?

We made our way to the Marriott and I must say it was a good choice as the location is so close to everything!  They totally took care of us with a room overlooking Leidseplein and Executive Lounge access!  So on top of a free room, we get breakfast, snacks throughout the day, hors d’oeurves and free WiFi…being a Marriott Rewards Gold does have its advantages.  Wahoo...I do love a good deal!

First on our agenda today was to make our way over to Boom Chicago to sign up for the Saint Nicolaas Boat Club…stay tuned for more on that later on Tuesday.  We had a great lunch at an outside cafĂ© where we had some great people watching as an added perk.  Later in the afternoon, we headed for Vondelpark to catch a free concert I discovered during my trip research. 


Vondelpark is Amsterdam’s version of Central Park (on a MUCH smaller scale).  The Dutch do appreciate sunny days so everyone was out and about today. 

When in Amsterdam, you need to beware of bikers more than drivers as bikes are EVERYWHERE and some of the bikers are quite mad.

We walked through the park and found the concert…and many more Dutch!  Though we didn’t understand the words, it was fun to watch the band and the attendees.  We even joined in a sing-a-long.

By now, we were ready for a little ice cream and found a great people watching spot at Bar American.  Every time I come to Europe I say this but it is so true...I love their approach to dining and service…take care of the guests but don’t rush them out the door. 

Houseboats along the canals

Houses in Amsterdam are tall and narrow which definitely presents challenges when trying to load in large bulky items. The Dutch are a clever lot and have these hooks installed on all their buildings so they can bring up the items on the outside and pull them in the windows.

Of course we had to walk off the ice cream so we took a nice stroll along the canal and eventually ended back up at the hotel.  After grabbing a few veggies and cheese from the Executive Lounge, we decided to call it a day. We’ve been going strong about 28 hours and tomorrow is a day trip to Delft so we want to be ready for more exploring.

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