You can get any where in the world within a day or two. We are flying to Amsterdam, the Netherlands, today with our good friends Jimmy and Barbara as a start to our Rhine River Cruise on Viking River. Starting in Philadelphia on Lufthansa, we are flying through Frankfurt. Two good flights and we found ourselves in the northern city of canals.
Amsterdam is a small city, protected by dikes to keep the sea at bay and landfill to provide a foundation. Most buildings are built on pilings pounded into the land below the water. Today, as the city pumps the water out, many buildings are suffering from problems with their wooden pilings. As the water is removed the soil is compacting and the houses are suffering.
We booked two rooms in the Banks Mansion, which is located centrally and overlooks one of the canals. Our room, 403, is on the 4th floor, just off the elevator. One really nice feature about this hotel is that it has an open bar 24/7 everyday and it has a nice selection. The room is nice; the hotel is well located and we would recommend it. Here is a photo of our room, 403.
Jimmy, who is a drummer by profession and advocation, arranged to meet some other drummers from the Amsterdam area, and is off on his own. JoAnn, Barbara and I are off on a walk around the town. Amsterdam is an easy city to explore by foot and every turn offers something different. We started at the flower market, which is currently offering bulbs, bulbs and more bulbs.
Here is a photo of the canal along the flower market and the street on the other side.
From there we made our way to Dam Square, the city center.
Bikes are everywhere and actually, at least sometimes, respect traffic rules. Here are commuters waiting for the light.
Here are the lights they were so intent on.
We then walked westerly, just looking around. We stumbled upon the Cafe ‘t Molentji where we had a beer or two. Our pleasant server was Savannah. Here is a photo of her.
Then I snapped a shot of Belinda, Savannah‘s mother, an energetic worker and very nice person. I love this photo of her wiping down the window.
From the Molentji, we started walking. We had no real destination. We were just enjoining the sites when it started to rain and we decided to take a taxi back to the Banks, where we met Jimmy. He told us how nice his newfound friends were and how much fun he had drumming with them. He is the only person I know who travels with drum sticks and a drumming pad.
By this time it was cocktail hour. The lounge was packed with happy hour revelers, us included. We discussed what to do about dinner as we hadn’t made any plans. I was hoping for a restaurant that served traditional Dutch food; I didn’t come this far to eat spaghetti. One of the hotel’s staff made a couple of suggestions and we decided to dine at Sluizer, and a good choice it was. Lovely surroundings and great food.
Here is a photo of us with Sluizer’s owner.
Walking back to the Banks, I took a couple of shots. Here they are.
Then, it was time to turn in. Tomorrow is another day in Amsterdam.