Sunday, June 10, 2018

More Photos from Amsterdam

Scott with the tallest man ever officially recorded. The
Alton Giant as he was known, was 8 ft. 11.2 inches.

And Heather with Hulk

Canals and flowers
 We've walked, walked and walked all over Amsterdam. It's such a lively livable city. The weather gods have smiled on us - all but one day we've had sunshine. We visited the Rijsmuseum, the Van Gogh, the Maritime, the Hermitage, Muderslot Castle (separate post to come) and the Rembrandt House.
Our airbnb apartment was perfect. It was right in the center of the city - we could walk to everything. (Apartment Studio Mokum, Plantage - Weesperbuurt). And when we were tired, the public transportation was excellent. Scott's Google ap gave us directions for walking or the Metro.
Today we board our Holland America cruise ship the Konnigsdam, for two weeks along the coast of Norway to the Arctic Circle.
And bicyles

Horse carriage in Dam Square

Darth Vadar in front of the Palace in Dam Square

Rubber Duckies galore

We had a fascinating demonstration of printmaking in
Rembrandt's house with the same type of equipment he used.

They limited the number of participants so
we could see everything.

And another in his studio on mixing the paints. Rembrandt
used.had a limited but beautiful palette.

Flowers are everywhere in Amsterdam.and they are reasonable.

It was a Saturgay in Amsterdam - the first country in Europe
to approve gay marriage,

And sometime it seems as if everyone in the city was out
and enjoying themselves.

These next 7 photos are Scott's, including
this one.
The view of the Rijsmuseum from the back.
Walt and Honoree clown around on R and O.
And the food was terrific - here is Honoree's
Pancakes with blueberries, bananas and
toasted marshmallows.
Scott's wild mushrooms are front and
Heather and Walt had the Benedicts
in the background.
This duck had it's own little "pond". 
Boats come in all shapes here in Amsterdam, most are electric powered, like the wooden shoe type on the right...

Saturday, June 09, 2018

A Perfect Canal Cruise in Amsterdam

 All week we've been watching the enormous numbers of canal cruise boats ply the water of Amsterdam. We finally made our choice and it was great - Flagship Amsterdam (www.flagshipamsterdam.com). Maatten and Joie were our hosts and they were informative and fun. The drinks were delicious too: I had a glass of Prosecco and Scott, White Sangria for 6 Euros each. The cruise was 15 Euros each for one hour. And we saw a lot in that time. Of course it was perfect weather - sunny and about 76 degrees. After walking the streets here for 6 days, it was fun to see them from the water.

Our Captain Maatten and Joie were our hosts (he's at center)

Joie made some delicious drinks and added comments along
the way on the culture and history.

A wide variety of house boats line the canals - the number
of permits for these are limited and it is almost impossible to
buy a permit. You have to buy a boat that already has one.

Some are actual boats...

And others are houses on barges

This is a view down the seven bridge canal. But only 5 are visible in this shot.

People line the canals at every restaurant and cafe. We
joined them afterwards for a beer and a sandwich.

I loved this house with it's red shutters.

The bridges vary so much in terms of design.

This is the narrowist bridge in Amsterdam and right near
our apartment. It's called the Magere Brug (Skinny Bridge)
Many of the canal cruise boats are glassed in with roofs -
we liked our open boat better - and smaller too.
Of course you can go even smaller as seem above - but that
is more expensive.
Maatten told us that they lose at leave 5 cars a year into the canals. As you can see here, they park really close to the edge!

Friday, June 08, 2018

Amsterdam

We had a rather miserable overnight trip to Amsterdam on WOW airlines. It's bare bones all right and we had a change of planes in Iceland in the middle of the night. That will be the last time we do that!
But Walt and Honoree were there at the airport to meet us and escort us to our new home for the week. Airbnb hostess Els has a mother in law type little apartment next to her's with a separate entrance and a balcony overlooking a private garden. There isn't a kitchen but she provides a large assortment of fruits, breads, cheese, yougurt etc. for breakfast (and at least in one case, dinner). It's right in the center of Amsterdam near the Hermitage Museum and the Artis Zoo. 
They had tickets for us for a the Five Star Dance Company Performance that night at the Stadsschouwburg Theater. It was walking distance from our apartment and a fantastic night. And it kept us up until 11 pm their time (5 pm in EST) when we managed to fall fast asleep. The weather has been pretty near perfect here with daytime highs in the 70's and 80's and the 60's and 50's at night. No rain so far and mostly sunny. 

The interior of the Stadsschouwburg.

Walt, Honoree and Heather

The lively scene outside the theater after the show. We were too tired to join in.

Looking back at the theater
The next morning we walked down to the Maritime Museum. The replica of the 18th C "Amsterdam" is outside and a really gorgeous Royal barge. Inside the lovely 1656 building we saw ship models, ship decorations (like figureheads), paintings and a Virtual Reality Tour of Golden Age Amsterdam Harbor. After lunch at their cafe we headed back for a long nap before meeting Walt & Honoree for dinner downtown - another long walk. Despite all the exercise I had a hard time getting to sleep that night.


Boats of all kinds cruise the canals. This one was a surprise!

This group were whooping and hollering, generally having a
great time. 
Scott tried to get a shot of these baby ducklings but Daddy
was having none of it!

We love seeing the bridges open. There are so many types.

The Maritime Museum and the "Amsterdam"

Heather wearing her audio player

The gorgeous Royal Barge - still used by the King

These ship decorations were very amusing

As was this caption on a parked car.

Boats of all kinds even include these inflatable birds
Next day we visited the Rijsmuseum, again walking distance. And what an amazing place. You could spend weeks in it. We managed one floor which included the Rembrandts and then the most modern section which included some beautiful Van Goghs. Walt & Honoree met us for a late lunch sitting outside overlooking one of the canals - see below for the view.

The Jewish Bridge by Rembrandt at the Rijsmuseum 


And his huge and wonderful "Night Watch"

Here's our lunch spot - pretty, yes?

We had a long talk with this boat captain. He
gives tours of one or one and a half hours
(150 or 180 Euros) Too rich for our
pocketbooks. It's solar powered!

Dutch waffles come in all flavors.

There are MILLIONS of bicycles in Amsterdam - 1.5 for
every resident.. Dedicated bike paths are on every street and
they are packed - especially at commuting hours.

Dutch shoes as souvenirs

Honoree made dinner at her apartment for us. These huge
artichokes inspired her. 

I bought basil hummus and olives for another dinner at our
apartment.

She added these "gambias" (large shrimps) to the menu

Scott tries a freshly made macaroon.

And here's the final dish at Honoree & Walt's apartment!
Shrimp & Artichoke pasta with cream sauce.