Early Morning Reflections

Another early morning in Amsterdam.  I guess when you turn the light off sometime before 9 p.m. you can’t be too surprised when you wake up well before 6 a.m.  Can you tell that the Amsterdam nightlife has not kept us out late?

Actually, yesterday was another take it easy day because we covered alot of territory on Monday and today we shift our residence from our apartment to an airport hotel.  But first, a brief recap of Monday’s delights.

One of the people I have begun painting with is from Holland and he usually paints scenes from his youth.  One of the places he revisits often in water color is the old harbor at Hoorn, which is a small town north of Amsterdam.  That seemed as good a reason as any for going there, so, we did.  A quick 45 minute train ride had us at the Hoorn station and on our way down the deserted, but very charming, streets toward the harbor.  Turns out that things don’t get going on a Monday morning til closer to noon than nine.

The harbor is lovely with many huge, older, sailing vessels of various sorts.  We had a great walk culminated by a good cup of coffee and slice of cherry-cream tart.  All in all, a pleasant way to spend the morning.

But, we got back to Amsterdam sooner than we had expected and ended up taking a very long walk along the canals, visitng the Anne Frank house/museum, and eating pizza at our Italian restaurant.  Although you miss the fields of flowers by traveling to Holland at this of year, the lack of lines at the museums makes up for it.  The line for the Anne Frank house is notoriously long but we had no wait at all.  I know that I visited the house in 1971 but I am glad that we went again.  Even as familiar with the history as we are, it was a very moving experience.

Yesterday, our take it easy day, we followed Rick Steves advice and took the free ferry ride in the harbor.  It was a warm, glorious day and the ride out and back was beautiful.  I’m not much of a water person, except in the form of showers, but it’s easy to see why some people love to be in a boat on the water on a day like yesterday.  And, it does give such a different perspective to a place.  It was well worth the price of admission.

Yesterday was also the day for visiting an Indonesian restaurant.  I have such fond memories of the rijstafel (rice table) dinners I had here 43 years ago that I wanted to recreate them.  Well, my memory has it that the dinners were relatively inexpensive and that doesn’t seem to be the case any more.  Of course, we did go to a very nice Indonesian restaurant and pretty much nothing is inexpensive anymore.  Ultimately, we didn’t go with the rijstafel menu anyway.  Michael is not that fond of spicy food so we went with separate orders.  Mine was spicy and delicous whereas Michael’s was just delicious.  A great dining experience even if not the rijstafel of yore.

On our long walk back to the apartment, we bumped into one of my cousins with who we are doing the Africa part of the trip.  They arrived yesterday morning and we had a brief visit with part of the group at one of the canal boat tour docks before they set off on a cruise and we set off back to the apartment and laundry.

One requires patience when doing laundry in Europe.  The washing cycles are long.  I chose a shortish one and it took 85 minutes.  The dryer took almost two hours.  You can understand why, after two loads of laundry, we had to go to bed early.  Of course, the two Belgian beers at 11% alcohol might have had something to do with it, as well.

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