Nov 19 - 21, 2000

 Our Travel Experience

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Our Travel Experience

Amsterdam had also always been on our list of where we wanted to visit this summer. We visited Amsterdam last since Tara saw that one-way prices from Europe to America were US$100 cheaper if you flew out of Amsterdam instead of London.
We had a fun two days even though Tara had caught a cold in London and didn't feel well. We thought it was amazing that we'd been healthy for the five months since leaving Japan and that just before we had to fly home to America, we caught a cold. We also picked up presents for friends back home here on our last stop in Europe. We figured that flower bulbs from Holland would make nice gifts for anyone with a yard. We also had some fun seeing what other plants were being sold!!
Our first experience at the tourist information center in the airport really highlighted how unhelpful tourist information in Spain had been. We walked up to the tourist info and asked about places to stay for three nights. She told us the price and started calling places for us. Then, she asked if we needed train tickets downtown or a map. She highlighted exactly where our hotel was on the map, gave us train tickets and explained how to use them, plus answered our other questions. Unfortunately, our hotel was nothing at all to write home about. We were worried about security in the room since the lock on a set of big glass doors was not stable. Therefore, we carried all really valuable stuff with us and hoped for the best. 

It rained and rained and rained while we were in Amsterdam. We wanted to visit the Van Gogh museum and walk through the red light district. Our hotel was a bit further out from the train station than we'd stayed last time, so we did alot of walking. We were very convenient to the Van Gogh museum, so we headed there first. It was a Sunday and there was a big line outside the museum. Therefore, we decided to wait on the museum. We happened upon a restaurant that was yummy. We like Amsterdam food.
We wandered and wandered, looking for the district we remembered that highlights just how legal prostitution is in Amsterdam. It took us a long time actually to find the glass fronted rooms with women inside with red lights ontop. It was just as amazing to walk around and gawk as it was last time. One woman thought Seth was gawking too much. She came out and yelled at him "What are you looking at? Go take your wife home and get her naked." We thought it was funny. It started to rain harder then, so we ended up in the same Paradise Cafe as last time since the Bulldog was full and we couldn't find the Grasshopper. It was raining so hard at night that we needed by buy an umbrella to walk home. Seth did pass by the convenient outside urinal again. I didn't snap a photo this time since there was a large line to use it. 
We did stop at an EasyEverything Internet cafe on the way home and Tara discovered bad news about the ticket she'd purchased for our trip home. The return fare between Amsterdam and Atlanta was *cheaper* than the one-way fare. This is generally true with air tickets within America... BUT, this was NOT the case in the summer when she looked at coming to Europe one-way. In the summer, a one-way fare was about 60% of a round-trip ticket. We figured that for the extra flexibility, we'd pay a bit more. But, now, the Internet was showing her a one-way fare costing US$100 more than a round-trip fare. Tara was upset that she'd gone through all the hassle to get us ticketed with United and then only NOW found this out about the ticket. Even so, all was not lose, since a one-way fare is refundable. 

The next day we headed out again to the Van Gogh museum and this time it was less busy. After about an hour in the museum, we grew bored (as often happens in museums) and headed out into the city again. After a stop at the Internet cafe, Tara decided not to try to change our tickets since she wasn't seeing the cheaper return fare anymore. Who knows what she really saw the day before!

We enjoy walking the city streets of Amsterdam. It is very quaint to be walking along a tree lined canal. A picture just can't capture the reflection of light in the water or the special atmosphere in the city.
Seth had a coupon for a pancake bakery, but it was directly across the city. So, we decided to just walk until we got to the pancake bakery or saw somewhere else to eat. Even though it was cold and drizzly, walking was so nice that we walked all the way across town for dinner. It was DELICIOUS. Yum. Yum. 

Walking home, we passed a public library with an impressive number of free internet machines. It was already 10 minutes to closing, so we quickly logged in and then called it a night.

The next morning we were on our way to the airport.

Category Rating Comments
Overall Experience 9
Ease of Journey 6
Accommodation 5
Activities 8
Coolness 9

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