Report July 2009
This report is really for me. I'm trying to hold on to memories so
I had no consideration of cutting it short for publication. Sorry.
Don't die of boredom.
Aug 7, '09 - I'm still working on this. I may change the picture sizes
need to add the slideshows.
In the past we have taken Trafalgar Tours when we went to mainland
Europe. This time we decided to go on our own. We chose the Netherlands
and Belgium because many people speak good English and there is a good
public transportation system. Not to mention the beer. We decided not
to drive, partly because of the hassle of parking and finding our way
around. Debbie is an art teacher so we are interested in seeing
the museums and there are many.
We bought a nice twenty one inch suitcase to go with our
twenty two incher. This was so we could do only carry on baggage. We
each also had another smaller bag. This worked great. Deb packed
everything we needed and more.
The trip was planned mostly around the book by Rick Steves
and additional work by looking at the web. Deb spent hours reading
reviews to find just the right places at the right prices. One review
of a place we didn't stay was one word - "shitty".
I know it looks like all we did was eat and drink beer. We hiked for
I was wondering why it looked like all we did was eat and drink beer
when it dawned on me. We spent large amounts of time in museums. Most
museums don't let you take pictures so much of our time is
undocumented. I added this 11/16/09
This was a really fun tour. Exceeded expectations.
July 13 - Monday - Take off
We took the shuttle ($58!) to SFO for our flight on Delta.
early in Cincinnati and ate lunch before our nine hour flight
to Amsterdam. The plane was about half full. Beer and wine were free.
We were able to stretch out on three seats and get a little sleep on
the way over.
July 14 - Tuesday - Amsterdam - Historical museum, Rejkesmuseum
We arrived in Amsterdam about 10:30am found an ATM at the airport then
took an expensive shuttle, E42, to our hotel.
The airport is quite a
long way from the city itself. The bed was not ready so we stored our
bags and went for a coffee at our hotel patio
area. It looked like
We hiked to the Amsterdam historical museum.
city was created by building a dam on the Amstel river, hence
Amsterdam. You should think of Amsterdam as a pearl necklace with four
strands. The strands represent the main canals, Singel, Heren
Gracht(mister canal), Keizers Gracht(Kizer's canal) and Prinsen
Gracht(Prince's canal). The city is laid out in a very confusing manner
between the canals. The museum was pretty large. Four stories around a
courtyard. It was set up so you were constantly going from level to
level so it was quite confusing. But it was
also quite amazing. There
were many large paintings of various officials.
We bought a Museumkaart here for E40 each. The card is designed
for residents and is good for a year. It got us into most museums even
ones not mentioned by Rick. It saved us a bundle.
The city is a mad house, at least in Leidseplein where we stayed the
first three nights. The cars, bikes and trolleys are zipping by really
fast. There were about six trolley lines that met at this square. The
bikes have lanes but they are not always clearly marked and it would
seem like bikes appeared out of nowhere going lickety split. It took a
few days to learn to work through all this - full panic crossing the
We then hiked past our hotel and to the Rijkesmuseum.
THE big art
museum in Amsterdam/Netherlands. It is undergoing a major renovation
so the best of the best is shown in a three story annex around in back.
We saw some famous Rembrandt's, Hal's and Steen's We were pretty beat
went back to the hotel for a few minutes nap. Gotta avoid sleeping or
you will never get onto local time.
We had a light dinner. Deb had beef croquets and I had salmon
with capers on toast. A nice bite.
Then to bed. We slept twelve hours and were up an at it around
July 14 - Wednesday - Amsterdam - VanGoch, Dam square, Anne Frank
Nice TV watching. No CNN on our TV but there was BBC. Many channels are
in English with Dutch subtitles, mostly reruns.
We had breakfast at a small sports bar across the square from our
hotel. E20 for breakfast(!) and I only had a croissant and a coffee.
Went to a tobacco shop and bought some "strippenkaarts". They are the
best method of paying for a trolley, bus or train ride. It's a strip
with 15 slots on it. When you get on the trolley either the driver or a
conductor will stamp your card with the time or you can fold it and
stick it in a machine for a stamp. You then have an hour to ride where
ever you want.
We walked over to the Van Goch museum. The
"ch" in Goch is pronounced
like the "ch" in Loch Ness. We had our magic Museumkaart which allowed
us to bypass the long long line of people getting in with tickets.
Seeing we were there really early we were able to waltz around and see
everything with very little interference. The museum is beautifully
laid out. We saw many famous paintings including "The Potato Eaters"
some famous "Sunflowers". It is a great museum.
I had been reading Rick S and found we had missed some
Vermeer's in the Rijksmuseum so we stopped by there again to see them
and look at the other paintings with renewed vigor after a nights
sleep. We got in free because of the Museumkaart.
We took our first tram ride to Dam square to see the sights. It's the
main square of Amsterdam. It's huge with an old city hall, which is
under going renovation, a Niuwe Kirk (new
Church), monuments and
a million people milling about. We hiked over a couple blocks to a
canal and found a table with a nice canal view.
talking to some Danish boys sitting near us.
They were very nice and
had been up over 24 hours. Deb had BLT and I had a sausage sandwich.
The beer was good and the setting great. Earlier some Dutch boys were
smoking pot at that table.
Back to Dam square(slideshow) and
a peek at the Nieuwe Kirk. I didn't
realize our card would get us in so we just gawked
from the side.
We stopped at a shopping mall in a neat old building then hiked over
the Anne Frank museum. We had reservations but
were early so we hiked
around the Jordaan area(slideshow).
in for a beer and toilet. Then to
the museum. The line was really long but we had reservations so were
able to go directly in through a
special entrance. The museum is quite interesting. If
you've read the
book you know the place was quite small so viewing is very quick. I had
just read the book a couple weeks before going, Deb is still reading
it. The rooms are all unfurnished. The steps between floors were very
steep. It was really good to get a feeling for the place. There was a
model showing how it was during the Anne Frank time. Other
insight into the story and more. Quite moving. Strangely few pictures
We trammed back and took a nap. Near our hotel is an area with several
dozen restaurants of all types. We ate at a
Dutch place. The prices
were reasonable and the food plentiful if not delicious.
a coffee shop on the way back to the hotel and had some "coffee".
July 15 - Thursday - Amsterdam - Krueller-Mueller museum
Got up about 7:15. Grabbed some breakfast and bought some strip tickets
for our trip. Today we are going out to the Krueller-Mueller museum and
Voge Veluwe National Park. We got free first
tickets for a one hour train ride out
to Arnhem then took a bus to Otterlo then a shuttle to the park itself.
They provided free bicycles to travel around.
You pick up a bike, ride
it to your location then leave it. Later when you are done you pick up
another bike and ride that around. The bikes
are one speed reverse
pedal brake bikes - add a basket and you have a bike ridden by Heidi.
The museum and sculptures are in the park. The items were
collected and donated by Helene Krueller-Mueller. Her specialty was
We rode out to the sculpture garden.
there for quite a while seeing many great sculptures in beautiful
settings. Bikes were not allowed. We had a nice
lunch with tasty bread. Europe has good breads
everywhere. Unfortunately we had tickets to see the St. Hubertus
Hunting Lodge at 3pm so we had to hustle out
there. The lodge was the country residence of the Krueller-Mueller
We were flying low
on our bikes for about 2-3 miles. We barely made it on time. The tour
was in Dutch so we used a head set and a paper to understand what we
were seeing. It was a strange place. Some
famous architect had designed
it for a rich guy. Everything was in brick and
weird. They even had a pond built. We missed the sculptures around the
lake I think it would be uncomfortable to live here.
We beat it back to the museum
because it was closing at
five and the last shuttle was going about then. The museum turned out
to be spectacular. It has the largest private collection of Van Gogh's.
They had what must have been VanGoch's first crack at "The Potato
Eaters" and other paintings that we'd seen at the VanGoch museum,
apparently practice pieces. There
were many many great paintings by famous artists here including Monet,
Manet, Renoir, Picasso, etc. We had made a mistake by spending too much
time in the sculpture garden and could have missed the hunting lodge.
Maybe we'll make it back someday.
We got back too late to get the shuttle but were able to
take a local bus which took us back to the main bus. We met a really
nice couple there, Dave and Marianne, and gabbed all the way back. We
caught the train but goofed and got off at the wrong station. Oh well,
a few minutes later another train came by and off we went.
At the station we bought our tickets to Brussels for
Back to our hotel. Out to the same Dutch place for dinner
E40. Stopped for a port wine and watching the
scene at Liedsplein. Then
July 16 - Friday - Off to Brussels
Last night there was a fire alarm. Turned out to be a false alarm. It
was raining quite hard off and on. The breakfast buffet at the hotel
was E20 so we skipped that. I don't remember what we did for breakfast.
I think we went to McDonald's.
The rain broke and we hopped the
#5 tram to the train
station. After some worry and fooling around we found our platform and
got on the right train. Three hours later - Brussels. The Metro was a
bit tricky. Several people were helpful. One lady actually walked us a
block or so to the correct bus. We bought all day passes for E2 each, a
real deal. We finally found our hotel and checked
in. Quite a nice place.
We were pretty
far from the center but it was a spectacular hotel right next to the
European Union Headquarters. We took the #95 bus back to the "Grand
Oh my god. This square is perhaps the best in all of
Europe. (slideshow) It is spectacular. We had lunch and then took Rick Steves walking tour.
the walk was through a beautiful shopping arcade - Galeries Royales St.
Hubert and down a street packed with
restaurants - Rue des Bouchers, a
real tourist place. I had a famous chocolate waffle
from a street
vendor, quite good. We hiked down to the "manniken
pis", a famous
statue made in 1619 of a little boy peeing. We had a beer at a
neighborhood bar diagonally across from the
Back to the square and dinner. We had the famous mussels
with wine, bread and frites at 'T Kelderke, sort of an upscale
place mentioned by Rick. Very nice but it started to rain and then
started to rain really hard. We were forced inside. It turns out the
inside was pretty cool too. It was down a level and we sat at long rows
of tables. We struck up a conversation with a guy, Al,
We bought some chocolates and
went back to our hotel and had a beer at the fancy bar.
We took the beers up to our room.
mussels didn't agree
with Debbie so no more mussels this trip. Besides I think it's a lot of
fooling around for a little bit of meat.
July 17 - Saturday - Brussels
We walked to the Royal Museums of Fine Arts,
three museums in one -
ancient art, modern art and Rene Magritte. We
skated through the
Magritte exhibit. Deb sped us through the rest, it was pretty crowded.
We hiked down the hill to the
beautiful Grand Place. We
had a lunch at a place in the Galeries Royales
St. Hubert - the arcade I mentioned earlier. A
very nice lunch and
reasonably priced. We walked
around the Grand Square. We then got on the #95 bus
and went back to
our hotel for a brief nap. We are short on cash. We bought 2 all day
passes again - E4, a really good deal.
The toilet in the hotel is very uncomfortable. When I sit
on it my feet don't touch the floor. Soon the circulation is cut off.
The paper is sort of behind you on the left and awkward to get to.
The hotel told us where there was an ATM so we got some
cash. We got off the bus at the art museum
again. I thought we were
going to catch the stuff we missed. Deb said "no". So we hiked down to
the square through a sculpture garden and other sites
to the Grote Markt again. We
went to an old bar where Deb tried a raspberry
beer, which she really
liked. I had a beer and a plate of too much
cheese and sausage.
Back to the hotel on the bus. We had dinner at a local
Irish pub, O'Farrells.
Deb and spaghetti for me. At the room
Deb read while I watched round three of the British Open.
July 18 - Sunday - Off to Bruges, Groening museum, Flemish Pot
Caught bus #27 to the Midi station. A British
guy who works there
helped us find the place to buy our tickets to Bruges thank God. The
delayed but none the less we panicked and ran up a bunch of stairs
lugging our stuff.
Hundreds of people were waiting! Thank goodness it was a huge train
with plenty of room for everybody. We got good seats
and were very
comfortable. Train tickets were 2 for 1 today which saved a few bucks.
We got to Bruges and took a taxi to our room - E12+E2tip. A wild ride
through many twisty, narrow, one way streets. A real medieval street
layout. It's a nice old place. The basement dates to the twelve
hundreds. We are on the second floor, up a spiral
staircase. There is a
small elevator available too. Our room looks down on a garden. No
air conditioning so we have to open the window for air - no screens.
We hiked out and found lunch. We learned
that a "Croque" is a toasted ham and cheese sandwich. A "Croque madam"
is a crute with a fried egg on top. Always get
this version it's great. Deb had a ham sandwich
I guess, maybe it was a plain croute.
By the way Bruges is beautiful. What a quaint medieval
city. Narrow twisty streets branching off in
all directions. Beautiful old buildings and cobblestones. I can't say
We went to the Groening museum. It was swarming with
people. I've never seen such a crowd in a museum. It's because it was
the last day of a display on "Charles the Bold", apparently a local
historical figure. They showed mostly Flemish primitives here. Part of
the museum is in an old cathedral where they have the only
Michelangelo statue outside of Italy during his lifetime. A pieta with
the Christ child too large.
It was a national holiday this weekend. The town was
packed, you could hardly walk down the street. There was a guy playing a hurdy gurdy surprisingly
We wandered all around trying to get back to our room.
Our room has a view. Went out to buy a wine
and some beer for later.
There are several
squares in this city. The Berg square(slideshow)
is the second largest,
right next to that is the larger Market Square(slideshow).
expensive and crowded so we went around the corner and found a nice
group of places with umbrellas. I had some strong Trappist beer, Deb
had a cherry beer.
We got dressed up a bit and went to a place
Rick Steves - "The Flemish Pot". We had the Pre Fixe at E26 per "Fixe"
- pate, beef stew in
a pot & dessert. Also a Chilean bottle of
Cabernet. The food was good but we should have ordered ala carte and
gotten one beef stew, it was way too much food. They've got to do
something about the slamming door. It was a cute and nice place.
Back to the room to watch the end of the British Open.
Unfortunately Tom Watson lost.
July 19 - Monday - In Bruges, Damme bike ride
We had a nice breakfast at our B&B.
Did Rick Steves walking tour. We hiked up the
famous bell tower on
Market Square. Quite a climb. Entertainingly
noisy when the bells struck
the half hour. We visited the Basilica of the Holy Blood.
a vial of Christs blood given to them in 1150. They were
having a viewing but we decided not to do the line. The lower
Romanesque church was spooky and old. They had a moving statue of
Christ on the cross.
I followed the wrong canal and we got lost and wandered
way off Rick's path. An odd lady tried to help
us while we were stopped by
a bike/hiking trail draw bridge. We finally found a map which
identified where we were and found our way back to the main path. We
stopped in a jewelry store. Then on to the Begijnof,
sort of a
beautiful old ladies complex (the complex not
the ladies). We found an
ATM then stopped in for lunch at the place we
had eaten at
We both had Croque Madam, very nice.
Back to the room to get jackets for our
bike ride out to
Damme, highly recommended by Rick. I found it really dangerous riding
those narrow twisty streets sometimes against the traffic. After some
wrong decisions we found the bike path to Damme. Turned out to be a
rather long ride. I had ignored some advice and we
found ourselves on a
narrow path on the wrong side of the canal. Half the distance had what
looked like rhubarb plants along it. Finally we got to Damme. It was
of disappointing. There was a flea market going on but we aren't into
junk to lug home. We rode around a bit and then headed back on the
correct side of the canal. We were riding into
the teeth of a gale.
What a struggle. I lost the chain on my bike and got all greasy fixing
that. Luckily it was right near a neighborhood pub. We nipped in,
washed up and had a beer with the locals. We
got on the gravel path
back past some windmills, stopped at our place
then returned the bikes.
No helmets by the way.
I had my first real Belgian frites
stand at the bottom of
the tower. Not bad - just good fries. I don't know what all the fuss is
about. They served us frites with nearly every meal we had anyplace,
strangely never with salt.
We hiked around and discovered this little teeny alley with a two level bar. A couple insisted we
could share a table with them but we went upstairs and had a beer and a bite of cheese.
Had dinner at an Irish pub -
Irish stew which tasted delicious. Deb had
Guinness I had a local beer.
On the way back to our room we found a tiny grocery
run by an Indian
guy (with his two little kids). Bought a cherry
beer and a small wine
for the room. Later that night the Irish stew backed up on me and I got
July 20 - Tuesday - In Bruges, Brewery, Flemish restaurant
The usual nice breakfast. Off to the Memling museum with a stop at the
best canal view according to RS. It was a nice museum in an old
hospital/church. We took our time and enjoyed it. The crowds seem less
even though today is the real national holiday day.
The De Halve Maan Brewery was
nearby so we had lunch there and took the tour. Lots of steep stairs and ladders. Only one
step of the brewing process is done here the place is mostly
historical. The views at the top were pretty
On the way back to
our room we opted to take a canal boat ride. It's pretty much
obligatory in Bruges. Quite a nice little tour. (slideshow)
Back at the hotel. We seem to be tired. They keep ringing the bells,
to celebrate their independence day.
We had dinner at a "Flemish" place.
recommended by another guest at the hotel. We chose the cook it
yourself dinner. They bring out a very hot rock about 5"x5" and a bowl
of meat. You are supposed to cook your own meat.
idea. Unfortunately the flies about carried us away plus I don't like
fooling around with my food. Sort of a minor disappointment. At least
we didn't spend too much.
We walked around a bit looking at the sights bought some chocolates and stopped for a beer.
Back at the room we had difficulty getting to sleep
between the heat and mosquitoes and noise from above us. At one am a
fire alarm went off. We didn't move. Deb was pissed when I cracked the
door to see if there was any smoke in the hallway. We had about fifty
July 21 - Wednesday - On to Deflt, The Hague, Maritrisious museum
We had our usual nice breakfast at the hotel.
We are on our way by train to Delft. We hustled out to
Market Square, as we passed through Berg square
interesting looking farmers market was in progress.
the bus for
the station. We saw this cute group waiting
for the train. E70 for tickets to Delft! 10:20 to 11:40 to Antwerp,
to 13:06 to Rotterdam, 13:11 to 13:24 to Delft. Some pretty close
connections. We made them all by seconds. At Delft
we hiked around and
found our hotel and checked in. A very cute
place. We dashed back to
the train station and got a "return" (round trip) ticket to The Hague.
We took a tram downtown to the museum. Some lady helped tell us where
to get off or we would have missed it. We visited the Maritrisious
Royal Picture Museum. Free entrance with our
card. Pretty nice but a small museum,
human sized. Saw "The Girl With a Pearl". I had just finished the book.
Several nice Vermeer's here plus Rembrandt, Rubens,Frans Hals, Jan
Steen and other famous paintings.
We trammed back to the station and back to Delft. We found
the de Beestenmarkt Square which used to be a
butcher shop area. Had beer and dinner at a
place there E40. Half a
chicken for me and fish
for Deb and of course frites. We both agreed
it was the best dinner
so far. I also had a special Trappist beer.
Back to our hotel for a drink in their bar. Then upstairs.
Didn't have a cork screw and the bar down stairs didn't either. Oh
well, guess we'll lug the wine around another day.
July 22 - Thursday - Delft, churches, back to Amsterdam
Nice bed, good sleep, some noise. Shower from hell xxxxx. It's one
of those where the shower curtain doesn't hold in the water and it goes
all over the floor. What a mess. Checked email.
We had a nice breakfast including
various smoked fish. We
walked to the Oude Kirk, where Vermeer is
buried. It was raining a bit but we had an umbrella we
borrowed from the hotel. Then on to the Nieuwe Kirk where William I of Orange was buried in 1584.
Most churches we visited had wooden ceilings to make them
lighter because of subsidence problems caused by the moist soil.These
cathedrals are not very interesting. After the reformation they
removed and destroyed all the beautiful stuff the Catholics had in the
churches. Even the stained glass windows were destroyed so most windows
are plain glass. At some point in history this church smelled
really bad from all the rotting bodies buried under the floor. Didn't
climb the tower.
Market day in the main square was not doing much business
because of the rain. Deb bought some really delicious strawberries for
E1. They were not California giants but nice little sweet ones. Though
I did see California style strawberries for sale. We stopped and bought
an umbrella for E10. Bought some pastries.
Off to the train and back to Amsterdam.
Onto the #5 tram which takes us to the Rejksmuseum near our hotel. We
checked into the Park Hotel and took a bit of a nap. The room was
unique in that it was
a designer room. Different then any room we have ever had. It was
"industrial" style. The elevator up was scary - no inner door so you
could touch the elevator shaft as we moved.
Hiked over to Rembrandt square. I
lost my map when it blew
into a canal. It's hard to get lost in Amsterdam once you know how the
canals work. We hiked back through the famous flower market. We stopped at the restaurant area and had
a Indonesian meal.
Stopped off at the Bull Dog coffee shop again.
Wandered back to the hotel.
At some point we went to Bol's, which is a liquor maker
and seller. We didn't pay the fee to enter. We stopped at a diamond
place. They were actually polishing diamonds right before our eyes. We
nearly bought a diamond ring here, probably should have.
July 23 - Friday - Amsterdam, Hermitage museum, Redlight district
Rain and thunder. Slept in to 8:50 because the room was so dark.
Hiked up the Spielgelk-Wartier art and antiques area again. Stopped at
a neat little bread and pastry
shop I had a rhubarb and strawberry pastry. Wonderful. We cut through
Rembrandt square and over to the Hermitage museum.
loans out art to several museums, this is one of them. The place was
totally crowded - butt to butt. It poured down rain while we were
there. It was interesting. Lots of clothing used for various costume
parties as well as some everyday stuff used by the Russian tsars.
We crossed over to the theater area and took the
hop-on-hop-off bus (E1 each). A nice little
ride around past the train
station and to the main library. The library
was pretty amazing, six stories and computers everywhere.
to wait for the
next bus because we were
essentially in the middle of nowhere. Finally the driver from Siranam
gave us a free ride back to near the Anne
Frank museum. We took a tram
to Dam square. Our goal is the red light district.
First we stopped at the Nieuwe Kirk again
and took the
tour using our museumcard. Another boring protestant church with a few
We got some lunch and took Rick
Steves red light district
tour. Pretty interesting, a few sex shops. The
girls are mostly down
these little narrow alleys. They stand in the doorways and look pretty.
Most dressed in sexy bras and panties. Not terribly titillating. No
pictures allowed. The
evening was just getting started, there were groups of cops getting
ready to start patrolling. I think it was about 6pm. There were a few
groups of guys around getting ready to have a good time.
The Oude Kirk is in the middle of all this. We took the
tour. Rembrandt's first wife is buried here.
In this area is a hidden Catholic church.
in a rich guys attic, still not very
well hidden but quite nice. Remember this was
a protestant area so Catholics were not welcome, though apparently
tolerated if they stayed out of sight.
We visited some marijuana seed shops
just to see what's
cooking. Some seeds
sold for E140 for six seeds!
We found a corkscrew for our bottle of wine we've been
Back to Dam square and home on the #14 trolley. We rested
a bit then hit Leidseplein for dinner, which I don't remember. Then
back to the hotel for some wine and bed.
July 24 - Saturday - Amsterdam Airport, Haarlem, Frans Hals museum
Packed up and then back up to the train station on the #5 trolley. Then
to the airport -
20 minutes. We checked into the airport Hilton.
it for one person but for E6 they fixed that. A nice modern American
We then took the #300 bus from slot 7 to Haarlem. Yup, the
Harlem in New York (once known as New Amsterdam) is named after it. The
Grote Mark had a market day going on.
We visited the Frans Hals museum
It had many pictures of mostly 1600's officials
plus other various paintings. It was laid out
around a pretty garden square. It was
originally built for poor old men, built in 1611. Later used as an
orphanage. Pretty good.
We had a very nice lunch. Toured
the Grote Kirk where Mozart had played the organ
when he was ten years old. It was very interesting. It was the only
church we saw that still had other buildings attached.
a very complex building.
They have statue of L.J. Castor
holding up a movable type pointing at himself. He invented the movable
type forty years before Gutenberg. Guess he didn't think of making a
We hit the market for our last
real frites. I'm still not sure what the fuss
over the frites is all
We walked through the small red light district but it
seemed to be closed. Probably too early. We found the station and got
on the red #300 back to the airport and the Hilton.
some problems getting our
boarding passes online so we went to the Delta area and had them help
us, a brilliant move.
While walking around the airport we found a "supermarket".
Well more like a store. We bought some wine, cheese, cookies and chips.
We had a beer and shared a real American cheese burger in
bar. Went to the room and drank the wine and ate the cheese. That was
July 25 - Sunday - Trek home
Today we started our 24 hour trek home. Because we were carrying our
luggage and had our boarding passes we skipped a mad house mess. As I
remember somebody checked our passports and we went to our gate. The
security check was at the gate! We were interviewed then went through
security. You don't have to remove your shoes. I figured they'd never
let the umbrella through... Nope, no problem. However they glared at me
and asked me "is this your bag?" "Yeah." "You can't take this on the
airplane" and held up the corkscrew. A pretty wicked looking piece of
apparatus I must admit. I apologized and they let us go. Darn, it would
have been easy to bring some "coffee" back from the Bull Dog coffee
So on the plane for our nine hour flight. It was packed
but we had two seats on the side about two thirds of the way back on
the right side. The flight was ok. I had a few wines and watched
some movies and things. Uneventful.
At Atlanta we had a five hour layover. We were hoping to
catch an earlier flight even if it made another stop before San Jose.
No such luck. Deb was about dieing.
Finally we boarded for our four hour flight to San
Jose a large guy sat next to me but it turned out to not be a
problem. We got to SJ and opted for a taxi ride home, nearly $50.
This was a great trip. I think we did everything there was to do in
Amsterdam except Rembrandt's house, a canal boat ride and the Heineken
There were good free maps everyplace except in Bruges where we paid
E.50 for one.
The public transportation was exceptional. Trams/trolleys every five
minutes or so. Usually not crowded but sometimes they were. Well we did
do some waiting for trains and buses outside of the big cities.
Everyone, pretty much, spoke good English. I was amazed.
Food was expensive. I think we had no lunch that was less then $30.
There may not be taxes and tips on the bill but they were hidden in the
price of the food. Dinner was much more.
A beer seems cheap at E2.30 but that's nearly $5 for a six ounce beer.
We didn't get a good close look at a windmill. When we were in Haarlem
they had just closed their historical windmill when we planned to go.
Things in Europe are like they are here only different -
free news stand
We saw very few Smarte cars but we did see a car
even smaller then the
Various links -
Amsterdam Historical Museum
Royal Museums of Fine Arts
Brussels - The Grand
Bruge - Wikipedia
- Memling Museum
Bruge - De Halve Maan Brewery
of the Holy Blood
Delft - Wikipedia
The Hague -
Mauritshuis, The Royal Picture Gallery
Haarlem - Frans Hals