I’m posting this at the end of a long day-and-a-half. It’s 9:30 PM CET, about twenty-four hours after we left home for the airport. We’re in Amsterdam, staying at the Park Plaza Victoria Hotel, just across from the main train station. You can see it from there – except that at this moment there’s a heavy duty construction project going on. Nonetheless, it was a good choice. Damrak (the street where it’s located) is like Kalakaua Avenue on Waikiki – tourist central, with all of the souvenir shops, money changers, and restaurants anyone might want, but the hotel itself is civilized and comfortable. Internet access is expensive, but so are most addictive habits.
Our flight was smooth and uneventful. Bags made it under the weight limit even though I transported a full carton of A Song In Stone to Europe; they arrived promptly at Schiphol and we were on the train to downtown within half an hour of arrival.
We managed breakfast in the morning, though we were all a bit out of sorts; L. slept most of the flight, but A. and I got almost no sleep at all. Despite being full of energy when we got off the plane, A. was exhausted – and we couldn’t check into our room right away. Some decent food only helped a little; we wandered around the area, visited a couple of department stores (and bought some chocolate, of course . . .) and generally killed time until midday.
But it was great to be back in Europe. Especially in the company of two pretty ladies.
Two Pretty Ladies
Then . . . well, pow. Three hours’ nap or so, interrupted finally by our friend D. from Scotland, who had arrived at our hotel. We had a meal together, then I walked her to her hotel and then back.
I’m just starting to form my impressions of Amsterdam – it’s a cosmopolitan place, with all kinds of permissiveness that goes right past my daughter . . . in five years there are parts of this city that would be scary for a father, but right now it’s all about the chocolate and the weird potato chips (Barbecue Ham? Chicken Pasanda?). The Dutch language is readable for someone whose German is pretty good, but it’s very hard to pick up the accent – like German spoken underwater. Amsterdam is laced with canals – sort of Venice with cheese, I suppose – and crowded with bicycles and cars and pedestrians.
Yes, But What Kind of Meat?
Tomorrow it’ll be about the canal boats and the museums with our Scottish friend. Tonight it’s likely about sleep and recovery from the time shift. In the meanwhile, the scenery is wonderful. It’s great to be back in Europe and to finally be on this trip.
Amsterdam Centraal: Main Train Station