Thursday, July 3, 2014


View from our room at the Hotel Brouwer on the Singel Canal
On June 10th John and I embarked on our long awaited vacation to Europe. It only took 24 hours to get there. Of course, there's an 8 hour time change to factor in.  I was beside myself with excitement, John with anxiety as he later admitted to me.  The weather for the trip was sunny and in the seventies most of the time. In Amsterdam where is rains a lot, we had nothing but sun which
Terrific food and presentation at the Greenwoods, a block from our hotel
The Amsterdam Flower Market and no, you cannot buys bulbs and take them back to the USA.
never set till after 10 PM.  Of course, it seemed like all of Amsterdam spent their lives on the  streets which our guide pointed out to us is quite common. Since they have small apartments and houses to live in, everyone meets in pubs and cafes to socialize. And the bicycles.  They said that the Netherlands have 17 million people and 34 million bikes.  And they drive them like maniacs. We were told that the bikes have the right-of-way and they really don't stop.  Women in skirts, men in business suits, old ladies, people with babies, they are all on bikes.  The Dutch impressed me as very clever and pragmatic people and their ability with water management is amazing. That's what all the canals, dikes and windmills are for. About a third of the country lies below sea level.
Hotel Brouwer built around 1650, oldest place I ever slept in
Houseboats abound on the canals
Cafes and Bikes abound.
Daily life living on a canal and more bikes
John rests with impromptu used bookseller, Stephen. He wanted to give me a book and I selected a French to Dutch dictionary.  Very useful, not. At the time I thought I should learn Dutch be he didn't have a Dutch/English dictionary.

On the trip we saw lots of cathedrals and churches. Spain once ruled the Dutch and after they threw the Spaniards out, the Dutch  striped the catholic churches and converted them to the Dutch Reformed Church. Today the Dutch aren't big church goers. 

The inside of the New Church (Nieuwe Kerk) is now a museum. The wood carving is beautiful. The arches lofty, the stained glass windows impressive.  Art shows are now the norm as well as a gift shop. There a fee to enter this museum which is normal in the countries we visited.

Our tour Dutch tour guide on a brief tour of the city had a very practical perspective. He discussed not only history, art and culture,  but social issues, such as the Dutch tolerance of prostitution and marijuana.  We spent two full days in Amsterdam, walked around a lot just looking at everything and absorbing the city.  We weren't into museums as much as we just wanted to experience the city. Besides, the weather was perfect and the Dutch were enjoying their city as much as we were.  Would I go back? You bet. 


  1. Marjorie! Awesome trip pics! I love the food ones the best you know, I definitely want to know what you folks are eating! Amsterdam. . . go to any marijuana cafes? :) Looks like a beautiful city. XOXO Tegin

  2. Magical, Marjorie. It sounds heavenly, and your pictures do a great job telling the story.