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Published: October 14th 2017
We made it to Amsterdam! After a bumpy flight from Houston that shook the wine from our glasses, we were glad to land at Schipol Airport Sunday morning. It's always exciting to emerge from a new airport into the sunlight. What adventures lay ahead? What secrets would this city divulge? Who might we chat with?
We caught the bus to the Museumplein, named for its many museums in the district. Just a block from our hotel were the Van Gogh museum, the Rijksmuseum, and the modern art museum (which would turn out to be an overpriced disappointment!). A few fall leaves skittered around on the pavement as we found the yellow awning of the Bilderberg Hotel and dropped off our bags. Then, it was off to explore!
sign seemed a logical first destination with its implicit homage to this city and welcome to its visitors. It also turned out to be a great place to grab a hot dog (smothered in mustard!) while watching other tourists like ourselves, monkey around on the huge red and white letters. We humans like to watch each other!
After this, we discovered a pop-up arena in the middle of the
park, advertising a polo match that afternoon. And it would be free to the public! Sometimes the memories that best mark a place are the ones that are unforeseen. "A polo match? We've never seen a polo match! And it's free? Well let's go to the polo match!" Suddenly, our afternoon itinerary was planned. In addition to the polo players, the ladies were not to be outdone. They pranced around on their prancy horses (I'm certain there is a name for their high-stepping, weaving maneuvers but I'm certain I don't know what it is). Their bright red blazers and crisp white riding pants shone handsomely against their black horses. What a show!
Despite the visual stimulation of the polo match, we found ourselves nodding off during the show (it was the middle of the night back home), so it was time to get up and move! We walked strolled through the streets, taking our chances crossing bike lanes, and found our first glimpses of those quintessential Amsterdam views: canals and sleek boathouses and stately, gabled row-houses. It's like that moment when you see the Eiffel Tower for the first time and know you're in Paris: we knew we were
really in Amsterdam now! The only thing that completed the picture was walking through the Bloemenmarkt (blooming flower market) to see aisles and aisles of tulip bulbs. This was Holland!
Once we could check into our hotel, we couldn't resist the call of the comfy bed for a short (OK, 1 1/2 hour) nap. Then it was onto dinner for a traditional (heavy) Dutch meal: mashed potatoes with endives, gravy, and sausage with a few beers. Together with our fatigue, sleep came easily that first night!
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