2013-08-04 Amsterdam

We slept in! Woo-hoo!!! This was our very first day that we could sleep in, rest and relax.

Then we got a call from Stu. He and Dena were downstairs, waiting to get their room. We hurriedly got dressed and met them at the Tapas restaurant across the street. They had gotten their room so they were able to get refreshed a little but they were extremely tired. Dena didn’t sleep on the plane at all and Stu only got a little sleep. We left them to take a canal cruise so they could go to their room and collapse. We left it open for dinner but didn’t really expect to hear from them. We didn’t and that gave us a chance to catch up on some more sleep.

The canal cruise was fascinating but I expected to go by the Anne Frank house and was sorely disappointed. Yet we found out a lot about Amsterdam that we didn’t know. They have a fresh water harbor so there is no ebb and flow of a tide. There are 16 old locks but they are really not used nowadays except when the water needs to be cleansed. There are 2,500 houseboats docked on the canal and the number will never be increased. Needless to say, these are coveted houseboats! There are 1,200 bridges.

You’ve probably used car parking garages in the States but I think I’ve seen my first bicycle parking garage. This was a multi-story garage capable of housing 2,500 bicycles. I’ve never seen that many bicycles in one place and it was amazing to see. Amsterdam really pushes bicycles and mass transit and it works over here. Everything seem to be just so close together. Ok, it seems to be jam-packed but I’m from a town with a population of around 3,500. We could almost fit our entire town in that bicycle parking garage!

I only had one disconcerting moment; one that Ed didn’t notice, I don’t think. I boarded the boat right behind a Middle Eastern man. He was alone, dressed casually but nice, wearing dark glasses and with a backpack. I was so paranoid for the first part of the trip. We have been so indoctrinated in the War on Terror that we are sometimes frightened of our own shadow but, in this case, I believe I was justified, even though I had seen so many other young people with backpacks. What a shame that we can no longer travel to Europe with certainty of our safety.

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