Sunday, September 16, 2007

Logbook: Amsterdam II

Amsterdamii1Friday was indeed a "turnaround" day. After a sleep in, some decent coffee and a leisurely breakfast, I checked out of my first "very small" Amsterdam room and checked into my second. The new one isn't quite as small as the first, and the even more "minimalist" decor makes it feel roomier. Plus, it has a bigger window that makes it brighter. I know I don't usually post so much detail about my accommodations, but it seems noteworthy in this case since I think my room is designed in some kind of "Dutch Modern" or something. On the heels of that improvement, I got a lead from the clerk in a bookstore to check out "ANWB" -- the Netherlands automobile club -- and found all the maps I wanted. Not only that, but by showing my AAA membership card I got three out of four for free! Such a deal! In the afternoon I was able to do the rest of my research and arrangements in advance of my friend Greg's arrival and wrapped up the day with a decent meal at an Argentinean restaurant. As you might imagine, it involved a lot of meat!

Amsterdamii2I started out early yesterday morning, intent on seeing more -- and maybe even better -- parts of Amsterdam. I got an all-day pass on the "Canal Bus" which has three routes that travel along many of Amsterdam's canals and allows you to "hop-on, hop-off." I made the most of it and by the end of the day I had travelled on all of the routes and stopped at a variety of places like the flower market, the museums, etc. I still wasn't particularly impressed with what I saw, but nice weather plus a lot less noise and commotion made my experience of Amsterdam more positive. My favorite part of the day was running across a really great dog playing in a park pool near the museum. (I got some great video that I've edited into yet another Doggie Report!) After a well deserved dram I had dinner at a Chinese joint -- I was drawn in by the promise of vegetables! -- and called it a night, satisfied that I'd finally found a bit of an Amsterdam groove.

I spent this morning doing a few chores, including topping up my laundry in anticipation of being on the move for the next couple of weeks. I've been online most of the afternoon, checking in with folks and catching up on this website. I'm in good shape for Greg's arrival in the morning, and am looking forward to the week-long road trip we have planned to explore WWII sites in the area, including the Battle of the Bulge and Operation MarketGarden. We will be back in Amsterdam for a day next week, and although I still can't say I really like the city, I feel like I've gotten a pretty good feel for it and can appreciate it in some ways. (Note: Be sure to check out the current photo log!)

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