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We Dig Those Chicks in Amsterdam

I am Amsterdam

I am Amsterdam

Time to leave “home” again.  Next up is Amsterdam.  Liz was here 2 years ago for her company’s global summit.  The tales of conducting business under the influence of Amsterdam’s finest are legendary.  I have to say that I wasn’t as excited about this leg of the trip as I was Ireland.  And I couldn’t have been more wrong.  As somber as Dublin is, Amsterdam is equally ebullient.  This city is old, beautiful, sophisticated, egalitarian, well managed, fun and on and on.

Garden Suite

View of the koi pond from the Garden Suite

The first stop was to check in at the truly magnificent apartment we’d rented for the trip.  The place is owned and run by local architect Charles Boonzaayer, and the picture doesn’t do it justice.  The highlight, as you can see, is the picture window in the living room that opens onto a lush garden complete with a koi pond.  When we were at the apartment, even when were weren’t outside it felt like we were.  And the location is pretty amazing as well: 2 blocks from the Museumplein.

Next we hit a cafe for some local goodies, and then to dinner on a canal.  The rest of the night is a bit of blur, but we hit a variety of cafes, bars and clubs until well after midnight.  And because of the latitude, the sun was still up.  I’m not sure if they have hot springs here, but I caught myself humming “Immigrant Song” a few times.


…stroke the furry wall.

The next day we started early to hit the museums a few blocks from home.  The Museumplein is a park/square bounded by the Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk Museum and the Van Gogh Museum.  We started up at the first, then after lunch we hit a cafe and prepared for the afternoon to come.  Next came the Stedelijk.  The architecture was amazing, and while we visited they happened to have an interactive, light-based exhibit.  Hmm…it’s like they knew we were coming.  When things really started humming we hit the Van Gogh.  We could’ve spent a week there, and it was clear the docents had seen this level of fascination before.  More than once I was advised that if we spent so much time on this painting, we were going to miss the good stuff.  But thanks to them, we didn’t.

I can’t think of a better way to spend a day.


Sleep Deprivation

When the subject of jet lag came up many of the more advanced travelers that we call friends suggested that the best way to beat it is to just power through the first day.  That’s what we did.  It’s bed time now (11:30 p.m.), but we’ve had a very busy day.  A brief overview:

  • A 10 minute dash from FiDi to SFO
  • A 4.5 hour flight to Chicago, which was experiencing thunderstorms
  • A 30 second layover in Chicago where I was accosted by a Francophone American for having the audacity to stand next to my wife in line to board the plane.
  • An extremely pleasant ride across the pond with a cabin at 1/3rd capacity.  The attendant staff were extremely attentive and jovial.
  • A virgin ride on the Paris Metro from the Etoile to the Louvre (amazingly efficient).
  • A not-so-mad dash through the Sully wing of the Louvre for the all the goodies one is supposed to see.  My favorite was the room behind the Mona Lisa.  It’s an absolutely amazing red and gold leaf dome(?) that I’ll post about later.
  • My first Parisian cafe experience at a place halfway between the Louvre and Notre Dame (Pont du Neuf).
  • A leisurely stroll through the Musee d’Orsay.
  • More cafe life in Saint Germain, this time at Les Deux Magots (hope that doesn’t mean what I think it does).
  • More strolling the streets and stopping to drink here and there
  • A cab to the Trocadero to see the Eiffel Tower glittering at night

That’s all for now.  Elf needs sleep badly.

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