Amsterdam recap

You know what’s cool? Amsterdam. You know what’s cooler? The fact that I’m typing this post 35,000 feet above central Africa. I swear we just flew over the set of the English Patient an hour ago.

Somewhat less cool, the fact that we just ground up two foul-tasting anti-malaria pills, stirred them into A’s ice cream (the kind with the little wooden spoon you get at ballgames) and forced it down her gullet. One dose down, eleven to go.

But I digress. Amsterdam. A lovely city. And the only direct flight from Portland to Europe. Going this way (unlike flying through Atlanta or NYC then direct to Johannesburg) we’re able to split the long trip to South Africa exactly in half. And we figured we’d recoup from the jet lag there for two nights rather than sleep through our game drives.

We arrived 8:00 am Saturday morning, dropped our luggage at the hotel and set off to see the city. We bought tickets for a hop-on hop-off canal boat tour that took us around town in style (and warmth) giving us the best view of the city. What a gorgeous, gorgeous place. With the rain, the bicycles and the streetcars/trams, I understand the comparisons to Portland. The architecture, cobbled streets and canals pretty much leave Portland in the dust, though.

We “hopped off” at The Hermitage museum to see the works of Van Gogh that are being housed there while the Van Gogh museum is renovated. Scott and I found it amazing to see paintings like Sunflowers and The Bedroom in person. And Audrey dug it too, which was great.

Day two we traveled by tram and checked out NEMO – a cool children’s science museum, and had lunch at the largest public library in Europe. Both nights we had dinner in cute neighborhood pubs with lots of character and great food.

The one downside was the weather. Unfortunately, a front was moving through with arctic winds that blew through all our layers and caught us more than once out in sudden, blowing, freezing sleety downpours.

Our hotel was adorable. Not big or super fancy, but right on a canal and near a tram line. Our third floor room had a view and small balcony, and was accessed by the steepest, twistyest staircase you’ve ever seen. And they had two cats, which made A very happy.

Overall, it’s a beautiful town I’d love to visit again. And I think we mostly succeeded in resetting our clocks. Dragging ourselves around town in freezing weather each day was sufficiently exhausting and helped us sleep fairly well both nights.

The 10.5 hour flight we’re on now gets us in to Johannesburg around 10 pm, so we’re hoping not to sleep much till we arrive. Watching lots and lots of movies. On to Africa!

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