Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Amsterdam: Cool fall weather

Hello from the low countries. On the train back to Paris after a whirlwind 3 days in Amsterdam with Kristine Galiher.  Kristine is the youngest child  (child no longer, she’s 42) of our dear friends Bob and Lola Galiher whom we do just about everything with in Manchester.  She has lived in Amsterdam since college and is such an interesting young woman with many eclectic tastes, which tickle Jerry and my fancy a lot.

Our first day we walked around the area; and walked and walked and walked.  Kristine led us up streets and down.  Again thankful for my ugly black shoes.  We went grocery shopping and carried everything back to Kristine's apartment.  Amsterdam is VERY old, and much of the city is very old old buildings, skinny and tall.  She lives on the 1st floor (in Europe the first floor is called 0 so she was up on the 2nd floor really),  Old fashioned apartment with tiny kitchen, 2 rooms and a bedroom.  Plenty for the 3 of us.  It was cool, and we actually turned on the heat at her house!!! (I know!)

The VanGogh museum was first on the list for Monday.  We got there about noon (takes a while to get anywhere) but the art was amazing.  
Photos were not allowed in the museum but we got lots of nice photos in a book and some cards.  It is the largest collection of Van Gogh anywhere in the world, so it was interesting to see his progress as he matured as an artist.  We were pretty excited to see it, and Kristine is so knowledgeable about Art it was like having a private tour guide.i

After the museum we went on a boat tour on the Amstel River which was also fun.  The weather had straightened out and we had good sunshine.  We cruised for about an hour, and then got back on the tram (little streetcars with tracks built into the street) and went down town.  We went to the famous "red light" district where there are many sights to see, and Jerry looked at them all.

We were starting to get hungry so we stopped at a little cafe near the market and had some more cheese (I have eaten more cheese on this trip!  All fabulous), shrimps, and wine.  Then we were hungry for some mussels, so we found a very nice place that had mussels as their fish "special" that night and split an order among the 3 of us.  

We did another loop around and then back to the apartment.  This morning when we got packed up we went to an area called 9 streets and shopped a little, but mostly just looked around.  Amsterdam is so charming and has such beautiful architecture that we just loved looking around.

When we got to the station (early because we are with Jerry, remember) we found a very elegant restaurant on the second floor of the old, old, central station.  I had a traditional Dutch dish that was bread, thinly sliced ham, gouda cheese, and a fried egg.  It sounds real weird, but it was great!!

We are now on the train back to Paris.  The train travels 200 mph and will make the 400 miles in about 3 hours with 4 stops.  Amazing.  When we get back to Paris I will finally get my manicure tomorrow and we will go and sightsee some more.  Ciao!

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