I was really looking forward to Amsterdam, and not for the Red-light-district-pot-smoking-cafe reasons but because it looked beautiful online when I looked it up before my trip. Unfortunately from the time I got to the hotel in the evening until the time I got to the train to the airport in the morning was only about 14 hours - and it rained the entire time. Hard.
I watched some special on Oprah a couple of years ago (yes Leah, I get all of my learnin's from Oprah and the Today Show) that rocked my world - I seriously don't remember if it was Norway or Sweden or Denmark or the Netherlands...but the people were all tall and thin and happy and they leave their babies out in their buggies in the winter for fresh air. Oprah said, aren't you worried about someone stealing your baby? And the tall gorgeous blond looked at Oprah and said, who would want to steal our babies? (she looked quite offended and stupefied at the thought) Their unemployment was super low, everyone gets to go to college, and yes their taxes are high but everyone looked so happy that I promptly announced, I'm moving to ________ whatever country that was which some took as un-American (um, Leah). I like seeing other ways of life, different than ours, and wonder if I would enjoy living there.
update: the fab Jamie of Santuary Home reminded me it was Denmark and she was right. It was part of a show about the Happiest People on Earth. So eventually I'm moving to Denmark. Or maybe Paris.
Anyway...my German vendors insisted on sending me to Amsterdam by car which probably ended up taking an extra hour with traffic and then the bellman basically called me out on it (you took a taxi? from Germany? Why???) and I wanted to say, dude, not my fault! I'm not a dumb wasteful American! I would have taken a train, I swear! I didn't want to offend my hosts! On my drive into the city it was dark and cold and raining yet there were people riding bicycles everywhere! People just cruising along. Some had their babies and they weren't even decked out in plastic covers. The dirty tourist guide in my hotel room said it is rumored there are more bicycles in Amsterdam then people. Based on what I saw I could totally believe that. Every time I looked out of my hotel window there were bikes cruising by. I must have passed 2,000 bikes sitting along the streets on my 5 minute walk to the train station in the morning.
I tried to find a place for dinner but I couldn't find the spot the concierge sent me to or anything else for that matter and after an hour I was cold and wet and went back to my room for room service. Had a great room at the Renaissance - a lot of my pictures are from my hotel window. From what I saw, Amsterdam looks fabulous and I will definitely add it to my list of places to visit. For real next time.
a little restaurant outside of my hotel
so many bicycles...
The picture below was a church outside of my hotel room that was abandoned (by the Lutheran's maybe?) but has recently been restored, the round base is in the pic above to the right of the bikes. Neat to see the other buildings attached to the church. I really love that about all of the cities I was in - separate buildings built side by side, together but completely different.
a little dinner - cheese and figs
a little breakfast - Belgian waffles
Unfortunately I was not on this train to Paris...
...but this one to the airport
I've saved the best for last. Stay tuned for Paris and macarons!