2013-08-03 Amsterdam

A very long traveling day! We made it to Amsterdam and threaded our way through the train station, having no idea where we were going. We burst out into the sunlight and just stopped and stared. So many people! So many bicycles! So many cars! No taxi in sight. We finally found them at the far end, with a long line and a single man matching taxi’s to customers … a conductor of a sort, conducting vehicles and people to just the right spots. It was quite entertaining and amazing to watch. I did find out that he couldn’t take a tip because he was part of the police force, directing traffic. What a shame! That was quite fun to watch!

I almost felt like I was back with my mom on our England trip, when we got a taxi, told him the address, and he drove us about 3 blocks from Victoria Station! We got the taxi but he sure didn’t take us far to the Renaissance Hotel and got us set up with the concierge at our hotel.

We checked in and collapsed for a bit and then went walking the streets around the hotel. We saw so many things that we do not have in Argyle! Obviously the canal was one thing but we also saw the coffee shops we had heard so much about. We saw a few transvestites and lots of LGBT couples, both on and off the river, celebrating and having a blast. Everyone was so accepting, no matter who or what you were. We thought that was wonderful! We have such a long way to go in the states. We also saw hemp shops, sex toy shops, tobacco shops, booze shops, and shops with no names, but we saw no cops. We saw lots of tourists, who really stood out, and lots of locals, some sleeping on the sidewalk hugging the railing so they wouldn’t fall into the canal! We smelled lots of pot and bad, strong perfume drifting out of some shops. Man, it was great for people-watching!!!

Ah, back to the hotel bar and some much needed food and drink. I splurged and got a mojito. Yes, a mojito! It cost six euros and was worth every penny, just to watch the bartender make it. He took lots of mint leaves and 2 whole limes and crushed them in the bottom of the large glass. Now this was quite an effort and took a lot of muscle. Then he added the alcohol and topped it off with yet more mint and a lime slice. Fabulous!!!

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