Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Plans are made

"Amster, Amster, Dam, Dam, Dam..."

Post: Joey: February 6, 2011
Note: To follow our trip to Amsterdam from beginning to end, choose The plans are made from the index at right.

Bernie and I are hitting some big birthdays and we decided, rather than have big parties, we would take a little trip. Bernie had some mileage points (Bernie: I think I have a lot of miles still on me, I'll have you know:) to spend so we could go many places in the world but what to choose? Available vacation time being an issue, we needed someplace that wouldn’t be a lot of travel hours to get to.

So we decided on...

This is my little pocket map out of a free guide book that I used to mark our travels.
Click on it to see larger version.
 Someplace where we could settle in quickly and start experiencing the culture. We both remembered our layover in Amsterdam on our trip home from Sicily a few years ago.

We had 9 hours in which to grab the train for the 20 minute ride from the airport smack into the city center at 2am. So of course we started off for the famous red light district wandering through narrow streets lined with shops and bars and the bustling aliveness that you would see anywhere if it were noontime. Okay. Maybe the people tended towards youth and inebriation but we just took it all in. We discovered canals with beautiful bridges strung with lights and craned our necks to see the quaint Amsterdam architecture in the shadows. We spent some hours meandering through the cobblestone streets and popped into a bar playing American music where we got a Heineken. We found some food in a little greek restaurant and heard so many languages filling the night air. We spoke of the tulips of Amsterdam and Van Gogh and how this society handles its freedoms. And we knew we had to come back.

Hotel Nadia
So we booked our birthday celebration for the end of March - 5 days in Amsterdam. Flight taken care of and costing only $25.00, I set out to find a place to stay within walking distance of the train station, near the city center but not right in the craziness. Tripadvisor has really been the most helpful with so many reviews and ratings. Craigslist, which has been so helpful on other trips, was frustrating and ultimately totally unreliable, rampant with scams.

We’ve settled on Hotel Nadia which is a two star budget hotel with rave reviews just outside the city center in the canal district. With luck our room will have a canal view. It’s been many hours of research to find just the right place for our base.

Now Bernie and I can start learning more about Amsterdam so we can begin to (Begrijp) understand (Dank u) her charms and discover some of her secrets.

Next: The Good Thief's Guide [READ NEXT AMSTERDAM POST]

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