Published: September 10th 2012September 10th 2012
It was an uneventful trip to Amsterdam via Reykjavik, albeit not very comfortable. Thus, we slept very little. Now have to pay for food, headsets. The flight attendants enter the plane with their classic outfits, including the pillbox hat, which is removed once we are on our way. All announcements are given first in Icelandic, then English.
We were greeted by my second cousin, Willy and her husband Rene. They tell fun stories of fancy corporate dinners with business meetings where dinner places are "assigned" with names and they mistaken by sex. Of course the hosts are embarrassed by this mistake by their event planners, but willy and rene are amused.
The education of Allan began first with tea on the balcony of their young daughter's studio apartment, on the 5th floor of a 19th century building that has no elevator, just a very narrow somewhat circular staircase. She pays the equivalent of $1200 per month to be in this hip young people's neighborhood. The sidewalks are literally stacked with bicycles. In the evening we had a lovely dinner at a neighborhood Italian restaurant that would take reservations outdoors. Most don't. Their daughter joined us by riding her bicycle
to the restaurant. She rides her bike 50 minutes each way to and from work. If the weather isn't the best she will either ride to the train station, 10 minutes away and take the train, or worse take public transportation from her place. It's the least desirable option, as it is the slowest.
Two tables from us the "Ben bernanke of Holland" was dining with his wide and daughter.
I think wildest part of the day was that of exploring Amsterdam. Taking a taxi to and from the central train station, taking a canal tour, walking to the palace square, concluding with a walk through the Red Light District and past the "coffee houses" presented Allan with more than he could've imagined. He expected "different" but this exceeded his imagination. Bicycles, people, traffic of bicycles,pedestrians, buses, trams. It was in the 80's and sunny, so everyone was out on this sunny Sunday, lots of men with their shirts off, and boat traffic was wild. I'll try to post some photos.
There are more photos below