Wooden Shoe like to be in Amsterdam?

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My apologies.  It’s late.  I haven’t had a good internet connection in days.  Right this minute, I’m at the bottom of a very deep set of locks in Frankfurt (on a ship).  Obviously, I’m not even in Amsterdam any longer.  But Roger gamely posed for this photo, so there was no way I wasn’t going to include it in this – the “European River Cruise of 2014” blog.

First:  the itinerary.   Three days in Amsterdam, fourteen days floating down the Rhine, Main and Danube Rivers, a few days (by car) in Budapest, Krakow, Poznan, Berlin, Leipzig and then return to Amsterdam to catch a flight home.

Back to Amsterdam.  We arrived at 6AM on a Sunday morning, sleep-deprived, dishevelled and crispy.  Don’t ever do this.  In ten hours (!!), we would be able to check into our hotel.  In three hours, we were told, the coffee shops would open.  The streets were empty.  Even the Red Light District was closed.  The only thing to do in the wee hours of a Sunday  morning in Amsterdam was to take a canal boat tour.   Here’s what we saw:

The Tourist Hotel Pulitzer

Our boat, cleverly named “The Tourist”

 

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It wasn’t just lack of sleep that made many of the buildings appear crooked (we know.  We went back and checked after a nap.)  Nearly all of these structures were built in the 1600’s – the fact that they’re standing at all in a land that’s slowly sinking is a miracle of engineering.  (Our hotel was built in 1650.  It had every modern convenience.  Yet, at home, I can’t get an internet connection down the hall from the router in a 10 year old house.  Go figure.)

Amsterdam is a lovely city, except for one thing:  the profusion and chaos of the bicycles.  There are bike lanes everywhere; riders zip along at terrifying speeds (well, terrifying to pedestrians who can’t hear (or often, see) them coming) and there are far more bikes than cars on the road.  Some bikes are cared for and decorated (probably more for identification than aesthetics):

Most others are derelict and suffer from what we came to call ‘bicyclasm’ (def:  the piling, stacking, discarding and abandonment of bicycles at any point, anywhere, in the city of Amsterdam).  I won’t bore you with endless photos of this mess, but just to give you an idea:

Only a tiny example of bicyclasm

Only a tiny example of bicyclasm – note the bikes in the distance, too.

Over three days, we wandered the canals and attractions of Amsterdam.  Here are a few more impressions:

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16 Responses to Wooden Shoe like to be in Amsterdam?

  1. Linda Czajka May 26, 2014 at 10:06 am #

    Loved this blog, Elaine! Brought back fond memories. I also have a pic of me in that very same wooden shoe! Roger is a good sport. Have fun and keep writing!

  2. John May 26, 2014 at 1:13 pm #

    Given that you spent 3 days in Amsterdam but only posted twice, might we assume that y’all stumbled into one of the ubiquitous “coffee houses” replete with a wide selection of cannabis products and now Roger is keeping a low profile in order not to put his law license in jeopardy? 🙂 Just curious.

  3. Sandy Roth May 26, 2014 at 1:21 pm #

    You have encouraged us to return to Amsterdam. Your notes are hilarious…Love your style. We leave for a Black Sea cruise on Wednesday. Have you been there? If so, any suggestions? Can’t wait to read your next installment!
    By the way, if you have not been here for a while we think our Divy bikes are replicating bicyclasm here.
    Enjoy with your bloke,broad,
    Abbie and Sandy

  4. Morgan Wood May 26, 2014 at 1:22 pm #

    What a treat to read the first installment over my morning coffee…! Can’t wait for more!

  5. Lisha May 26, 2014 at 1:39 pm #

    Very nice job with the blog and with the pictures, sister. You always capture the most interesting and/or unusual sights. I always love to go on trips with you vicariously.

  6. Libby May 26, 2014 at 2:02 pm #

    No graffiti? I have a very strong memory of graffiti everywhere – MANY years ago.

    • Elaine Haydock May 30, 2014 at 9:09 am #

      No, barely any graffiti! In stark contrast to Prague, which looked like a ‘painted lady’ to us when we were last there.

  7. Jan wyandt May 26, 2014 at 2:04 pm #

    Were in Amsterdam with 2 hischool grads 2 yrs ago. Eye opening for them. Pot banks coming soon to Colorado- Rcky Mtn Hi.

  8. Terri Keene May 26, 2014 at 2:43 pm #

    You make me feel like I am there with you. Only wish that were true! Hugs, Terri

    • Elaine Haydock May 30, 2014 at 9:08 am #

      Terri, you should add some of your photos from Germany – you’ve seen much more of the country than we have!

  9. Nancy Martin May 27, 2014 at 6:42 pm #

    HI Elaine,
    thank you so much for the entertaining writing. I am thoroughly enjoying your blogs… Miss you guys!!

  10. Dee May 27, 2014 at 10:42 pm #

    You’re Amsterdam right, I’d luv to be there. Who wood knot.

    • Elaine Haydock May 30, 2014 at 9:05 am #

      A perfect “Dee Gordon” response!

  11. Jim Glidewell June 29, 2014 at 7:04 am #

    Thanks so much for your blog. My wife and I will be on the River Empress on the same tour starting in Budapest in less than a month. Looks absolutely wonderful, and your writing and sense of humor are first rate.

  12. alexfocusuk June 7, 2016 at 12:52 am #

    great photos! do you remember the location of the treehouse-cabin-thing? I found it 3 years ago but couldn’t remember where it was last week when i visited for a 2nd time!

    • Elaine Haydock June 30, 2016 at 9:42 pm #

      Hi Alex – Gosh, no… only that it wasn’t too far from the famous flower market that borders one of the canals. Not too helpful, I’m sure! Sorry!

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