Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Oh yes.....

Those musicians!

Water Water Everywhere

Before we venture forward to the port city (world's 3rd largest) of Rotterdam and to the house of our wonderful friend, Anja, we opt for an hour flat boat cruise in the port of Amsterdam and via the river Amstel. It was fun to see the houses from the canal side, and see the Central Train Station and cruise ships. And as Dan said, "Bikes bikes parked everywhere." Except in the canals. LOL Got some photos to post here of the boat trip.

After the boat trip, we wandered around the Dammarkt and saw street musicians and cats. Yes. Cats. In stores. Mb was in heaven!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Little Night Music...

A couple blocks off the beaten map (and google maps) and we were a bit late for our lunch date with Fabienne and Erik, two colleagues/friends of Mb who work in the US-Netherlands Fulbright Office in Amsterdam. After showering apologies and orange gerber (sp?) daisies on Fabienne, the four of us walked to a GREAT bookstore where we dined on bagel sandwiches and chatted up a storm. Business meetings kept the lunch date to an hour and a we said goodbye to the loverly couple and headed for a leisurely promenade throught the Nine Streets District where little shops, bars, and cafes are located. BEAUTIFUL weather. Sun shining....people wearing orange....watching the Holland-Denmark World Cup game via various methods. Hup hup! Score: 1-0.
A few more metres of walking...then Hup-hup!!! Score 2-0. Holland won this round. :)

Showed Dan the infamous Ann Frank House and Museum.....and stopped on our way back to the hotel in the department store De Beijndorf (sp?) for a wonderful, refreshing strawberry custard tart. YUM!

Took an oh-too-quick nap and go ready for the big event: Verdi's Requiem with the Nederlands Philharmonisch Orkest at the incredible, enchanting and most superb concert hall acoutics, The Concertgebouw of Amsterdam. Amazing chorus. Strong and vibrant orchestra and a dapper and energetic conductor, Otto Tausk. Next to us was a wonderful Dutch couple who used to live in Rochester, MN. Small world. We spoke of our current Milwaukee Symphony Conductor, Edo de Waart, originally of Rotterdam Philharmonic. :)

Had a late evening dinner at an Italian restaurant near our Hotel...and then we crashed. Mb's puppies are barking up a storm! Dan's eyes were dazed over.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Oh Red Light, Oh Green Light....

Let Dan and Mb come out to play tonite!

After a refreshing catnap & some RedBull for Dan, we headed to the Dam Square to see the "New Church" and then headed to the Red Light District. Pics to follow. We found a semi-biker bar that was up to Dan's exquisite tastes, called The Excalibur. A mix of medieval times, hard rock and roll, and motorcycles. Supposedly owned by the Hell's Angels (doubt it!), we had a good time drinking Amstel Light and Heineken. Chatted with the bartender Mike after he had instructed 4 Americans (2 couples within our age range) on how to smoke a joint. Enough said. They were from Dallas and a hoot! Lots of sensi seeds stores and coffee shops (um....some didn't serve coffee...) and of course, the ladies of the red neon.)

Found the "Old Church" and then had dinner in one of many,and I mean, many Argentinian steak houses. Also had some patatje met (french fries with mayo) while walking the streets. mmmmm mmmmmm dee-lish!

The best part was seeing all the pubs and people dressed in orange for today's World Cup bout....Holland vs Denmark. Which (spoiler alert)....Holland won...2-0! hup hup hup hup hup!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

We left the cat sleeping and headed to Amsterdam...

Took 2 hours to check in (even with our boarding passes already printed!)...then the flight was delayed an hour. And then...finally...up in the air in a cattlecar with no leg room. Oh joy. Oh bliss. We watched the movie "Invictus" and will probably have to see it again because dialogue was tough to hear with children screaming and the guy in front of me pushing back and forth in his chair to get comfortable. Dude! One doesn't "get" comfortable in economy class. Period.

We took a Mercedes Taxi to our Grand Hotel Amrath. Some pics of the former shipping magnate building are posted for your viewing pleasure.

Jetlag is setting we're dashing back to the hotel in the hope that clean fresh sheets await us for a nap.