Delay … and then some of Amsterdam

Our flight has been delayed by two hours. We were notified early this morning, but decided to take the same plan we had labored over rather than figure it all out again. So — we are at the airport and ready for our flight five hours early. Well they wanted us here three hours early for our international flight, so we have a bit more relaxing time ;’-) I have no photos or stories to add yet, so will put this aside and send it later.

With the initial two hour delay,  and an additional hour delay, Delta tried to appease us with a complimetary box of snacks.

 
Maybe it didn’t make up for four hours, but the substantial snacks, along with a bagel and cream spread from our on-board lunch, served as an adequate dinner at our hotel in the early evening. We did supplement it with a chocolate milkshake during our miles of in-town walking ;’-).

There is a time difference of nine hours from home in Seattle, so dinner time here at, say 6:00 p.m., is 9:00 a.m. for us. This will take some adjustment over the next couple of days!

The first thing that strikes one about Amsterdam is the sheer number of bicycles. Everyone knows how bicycle oriented and dominated the city is, but until you actually see it, you have no real concept of the sheer number of bikes and riders that abound.

The next thing that is striking is the number of canals throughout the city. Pleasure and tourist boats and barges ply the water and those thousands of bikes line the street side.

The old and beautiful buildings surely stand out as another attraction, as well as the many museums in almost every block.

I may have simply been tired (no actual sleep for more that 24 hours) but my photos from today are quite bad — either the perspective is poor, the lighting is bad or they are out of focus. I will need to add better photos of the city when we return here at the end of our tour. Here are a few to at least give and idea of what we did on our first day in the Netherlands.

Making our way down the steps of our hotel took attention to where we placed our feet …


Canals and bikes everywhere…

       
Interesting architecture and museums. We thought we might visit the Anne Frank House. When we passed the line waiting to enter, we changed our minds. The line of tourists and visitors snaked around for blocks and blocks of the nearby streets. I don’t recall that I have ever seen such a long line awaiting entrance to an attraction.

   

The hordes and hordes of tourists in Amsterdam is almost staggering. 

I am not one to enjoy a city full of (often) rude shoppers and tourists. Therefore I was too aware of some of the negatives of our outing today. Walking along the many pedestrian-only streets lined with shops, restaurants, and marijuana stops, people did not move off to the side as you tried to pass going in the other direction; there was an abundance of litter in the streets, thrown there rather than in (or even near) a trash bin; people smoke while walking, shopping or eating anywhere, and many throw their butts on the street.  I have been to other such cities (in France, Switzerland, Denmark to name a few) that have been just about as full of people, but with little to none of the trashed and littered streets.  Maybe times have simply changed since then, but if so, it has been an unfavorable change.

That’s enough of my rant! 

It is the middle of the night here (almost 2:00 a.m.) and nine hours earlier at home makes it no where near bedtime! I have slept during the past several hours, but now sit wide awake and write this blog post. 

We meet our tour companions on the barge this afternoon and will begin a different kind of adventure along the country sides  and in the some of the villages of the Netherlands.

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