Sat., First Full Day in Amsterdam

Greetings from the future! (We’re 8 hours ahead of those of you in the Mtn. time zone, you know.) We had a good day today, except that we got up too late (around 9:00 am). Neither of us had slept very well. Our room is on the top floor of The Convent Hotel (a refurbished old convent–very interesting, though old), & we were too hot all night. Tonight we will have the window open.

This morning we walked up to the canal where we were to board the canal bus. We caught the Green Line & started moving on down the canal. There are several canals around here. It’s really interesting–they have thousands of house boats lining both sides of the canals. The people must sleep there & then get out & ride their bikes to work. The boat driver mentioned that the canals were 3 meters deep: 1 meter of water, 1 meter of mud, & 1 meter of bicycles. Ha ha! I believe the mud part–the water looked like the color of the espresso I drank for breakfast. There was also some garbage floating along the edges, which should have been cleaned up. Amsterdam did have some street sweepers doing their thing, but the city isn’t kept nearly as clean as London was.

Back to the bicycles…Amsterdamians (?) ride their bikes everywhere. There was actually a 3 or 4- level parking garage for bikes, which would hold about 2,500 of them. I also saw several bike rental places, which would be fun if we were going to be here longer. There are bike lanes all over the place, including sometimes on the sidewalks. Those bike riders will run you over too, if you’re not watching out for them. It seems that they definitely have the right of way here.

You don’t see very many people around here that are fat, and probably the ones you do see are from the U.S. Well, I guess you do see quite a few overweight ones in the paintings.

Speaking of paintings, the first stop this a.m. was the Rijksmuseum, where we saw “the very best of the Dutch Golden Age.” The highlights included Jan Steen, Frans Hals, Vermeer, & Rembrandt. It was very good. We weren’t allowed to take any photos, but we did buy a few souvenirs in the museum shop.

(Note to Austin: There was a painter by the name of Thomas de Keyser. I didn’t know Clint was Dutch. He probably doesn’t know it either. You’d better tell him we found his ancestor.)

Next we saw the Van Gogh Museum, which I loved. It was really good because there were panels all along the way that told all about his life. He really only painted for the last 10 yrs. of his life, but he left a lot of good paintings. His life was sad, & he ended up shooting himself. Poor guy. He would be astounded if he could see today how appreciated his work is. I bought quite a few souvenirs in that museum shop.

Then we boarded another canal boat & had planned to stop at the Anne Frank house on the way back (there was a line blocks long on the first trip past it), but it was too late by the time we returned. Bill didn’t want to see it anyway, since he was here a hundred yrs. ago & thinks he knows everything there is to know about it. He said there was just a little window area where you could look inside the house–you couldn’t go in or anything. But it would have been kind of nice to take a peek anyway…

Tomorrow we head over to Rome for the next 3 nights. Until then, Au Revoir and/or Ciao! (I don’t know how you say it in Dutch.)