DAY 1 – August 5: Verdi -> Reno -> San Francisco -> Amsterdam DAY 2 – August 6: Amsterdam (Day 1 turned into Day 2 with flight and time changes!)

WEATHER: Reno – warm & sunny, San Francisco – foggy & flight delayed, Amsterdam – warm, cloudy & 72*

We get up at 6:00 AM Monday to find out the bear got into our trash last night! Oh well, at least that is all he got into this time. Nick takes us to the airport and drops us off, Carrie is at her first day of her new job as a landscape architect. We make it through check in, but even with Pre-Check Rick has to do full scanner and full pat-down, but he just smiles and makes it thru without incident. Then an hour wait to board, but so much for that. Our flight is delayed for an hour due to fog in San Francisco.We arrive fine and no problem with timing. We get two text messages though: First from Loyalton and Sherri has new bruises and the Second from Jim & Shawnee and we are going to be GRANDPARENTS again! They send us a picture of the baby from the ultrasound. So starts our ADVENTURE this time!

The flight was 10 hours from San Francisco to Amsterdam and Amsterdam is 9 hours ahead of us in time and we were delayed an hour out of SF, but we arrive in Amsterdam right on time at 10:15 AM on Tuesday. Customs was a snap and we meet the Viking rep who takes us to our hotel – The Renaissance.

Hotel in Amsterdam, on a bike with front cart of flowers. Like the saying: LIVE LIFE TO DISCOVER
Art piece depicting all the bicycles in Amsterdam.
Our hotel-Renaissance in Amsterdam, the cow representing the Cheese Making in the Netherlands

We decide to take the tram system to get around. Our first tour is to the Van Gogh Museum with a guide and only 5 other people. It is very interesting, learning his life history and that of his paintings , but taking pictures isn’t allowed.

Grand Central Station behind the tram we took to get around in Amsterdam.
Van Gogh Museum with exposition of his Sunflower paintings
Self portrait painted by Vincent Van Gogh
One of Van Gogh’s paintings

Our second tour of the day that we scheduled was the Anne Frank walking tour. It was showing her history – where she lived, the school she went to, and where she bought her diary. But soon after meeting our guide Rick gets terribly sick. The guide is very understanding and finds him a bathroom in a bar. He almost passes out. We decide we can’t finish the tour and find the tram to head back to the hotel.

Building where Otto Frank worked and Anne Frank lived after going into hiding.
The house where Anne Frank lived before having to go into hiding.
Statue of Anne Frank in memorial park in the neighborhood where she lived before having to go into hiding.

After we get on the tram Rick gets sick again and we get off the tram and find another bathroom in a cafe. This time it costs 1 euro to use the WC. He throws up and we get back on the tram. By this time we are old hands at using the tram system! It is now later in the day and he says he will try doing our third tour we had scheduled for the day. It is a 4 course dinner cruise on the canals. The boat does have a bathroom so we give it a go. What a trooper! It ends up being a very nice dinner: bread, wine, mixed greens salad, hot tomato soup served in mug, veal & salmon, and rhubarb compote and chocolate mousse. All served on white linen tablecloths & napkins, not paper, while seeing and hearing all about the sights of Amsterdam. Actually quite relaxing. Here are some of the sights from the canal cruise:

Windmill as seen from dinner cruise.
Anne Frank House on Prinsengracht canal.
Westerkerk tallest church in Amsterdam
Saint Nicholas – Catholic church with night lights.
St. Nicholas Catholic church in Amsterdam.

Dinner :

Dessert: Chocolate mousse & rhubarb compote

Rick has about had it for one day! And no wonder, we have now been up for 30 hours and he has been sick on top of it all!

At the end of the dinner cruise we find our way back to the hotel on foot. It is now 11:00 PM here and definitely time to hit the sack. We have been up for 32 hours and jet lag is really setting in!

My first impression of Amsterdam is a very pretty, clean, well maintained really OLD city, with a lot of BIKES and CANALS!

“Bikes and Canals”
Two most popular ways of transportation in Amsterdam.