December 30, 2007

Tom – We tried but didn’t sleep on the 7.5 hour flight and arrived in Amsterdam about 9am local time (3 am Ohio time).  We were, however, able to consume both dinner and breakfast on the flight!  Found a locker to store our two carry-on suitcases and took our backpacks with us on the train into downtown.  Just outside the train station we hopped on a glass enclosed tour boat for a very nice (great views and commentary in English) circular hour tour through the canals and around the city.  It was 45o – great for this time of year.

St Nicholas church was next and then two hours of walking around the city.  The houses were tall (sometimes 5 stories) and narrow (mostly 3 windows wide, though we saw many 2 and the smallest was 1 window wide); when they were built the tax was based on the width.  So how did they ever get their furniture into these houses???  Outside the house at the top of the building were huge hooks they used to pulley things up and then bring them in through the windows.  Way cool!!!  Helen felt I had to see the red light district, where the ladies display themselves in windows.  We could not find the area for the longest time and Helen felt pretty embarrassed asking for directions.  Being Sunday, most windows were not open so we went for a coffee latte and did some people watching.  We were both struck by the international flavor of the city.  Never had to exchange any money, VISA worked everywhere!  Arrived back at the airport about 4pm (10am EST) and then had a 5 hour wait for our KLM flight (9pm) to Cairo.



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