Monday, April 14, 2014

Our First Day in Amsterdam

Hello everyone,

Well, we slept real well through part of the night, the beds are real comfortable and the room is as quiet as a tomb.  We did wake up at about 3:00am and faded in and out of sleep for about another hour until we decided to get up, do a little reading and look at our email.  At first it seems to make sense that you would wake up at your at home regular time until you consider that 3:00am in Amsterdam is 6:00pm back home.  What's up with that?  Anyway, we will probably be better adjusted tonight, or at least I hope so.

When 7:00 finally rolled around and the breakfast room was scheduled to open we stormed down to see what the included "free" breakfast had to offer.  I had read a travel description about the typical Dutch breakfast being primarily bread products, which seemed pretty grim from a nutritional point of view, but we were delighted to see that breakfast offered eggs, fruit, and yogurt so it really does suffice for a main meal of the day instead of a bunch of empty calories.

Last night we stopped by a nearby store and picked up a pre-made salad and a couple of Dutch yogurts for supper.  The Dutch seem to have making yogurt down.  It is the best that we have ever had, while they sell a lot of the international brands like Dannon, it would be a real mistake to get those instead of the locally made.  Almost everything in Amsterdam is labeled in English and Dutch with the exception of food labels in grocery stores. There is a bit of trying to guess what some of the words mean, which makes shopping a bit more of an adventure than it is back home. 

We walked around the town a bit after supper and and enjoyed the city lights.

Amsterdam in the evening

 Today the forecast is sunny and cloudy and a fifty percent chance of rain.  The forecasters seem to be covering all of their bases.  It might be a good day to head out toward some of the local museums, which are a great place to be if there are rain showers.  Museum directors seem to be on top of making sure that the building's roof doesn't leak.  So we are off, we will write a bit more about the day this afternoon.

O.K., we are back for the evening.  We did a bit of walking around and were able to visit a couple of great museums.  We actually bought a couple of museum cards, so we can be a lot more flexible with our time, visiting as often as we want so we don''t have to feel like we have to see any one museum in a single visit.  Today we visited the Rijksmuseum (link to website) and the Hermitage Amsterdam (link to website).  The exhibits at both places were pretty spectacular. The Rikjksmuseum is the national museum of the Netherlands, and the Hermitage is a satellite museum of the Hermitage in St. Petersburg Russia.  The Hermitage had a great exhibit about archeological finds from the silk road.  We did not get halfway through the Rijksmuseum and may go back if we have the time. Both were within walking distance provided that it isn't raining, you can get an idea of where they are from the map below:

View Amsterdam in a larger map

The yellow pin is our hotel, and the red pins are the museums.

On our way to and from the museums, we walked through some real pretty neighborhoods, flower markets, and some pretty nice monuments out on the streets.  The weather did fluctuate between sunny and cloudy and it did in fact rain just a bit while we were inside.  Below are a couple of pictures from walking about.

At the Flower Market

Just one cool building after another

Warm & Sunny down by the Canal

Enjoying my new warm hat

Rembrant's "Night Watch" in Bronze Statues

Stephen & Linda

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