Saturday, October 14, 2006


I traveled this May,to Amsterdam have been meaning to write it all down on my return. So, I waited awhile.

I lived on a house boat,on the Prinsengracht canal.
It was a lovely neighborhood, from the buildings, to the cobblestone streets and bike paths.(more about those later)
In our neighborhood, there were a few cafe's on the canal, a gourmet deli and a wonderful cheese shop, where the owner, really knows how to treat you, if you love cheese. He very attentive and somewhat handsome, there are buttery paper thin slices of a young Gouda, and then the jagged chunks of the older goudas ...It was heaven. Plus he had a machine that would vacuum pack your cheese, so you could bring it home on the plane, in your luggage. Which was a good plan initially, but when I arrived home, my luggage was searched, because they thought I was carrying a wedge of explosives.
so wither further adieu...My trip.

Woendag, may 10th
we have arrived, in Amsterdam...In a bang!
the trams are too narrow, we packed too much in our luggage, we are sleep deprived, the morning hustle is so fast, and we are moving anything but fast.
I have already planned when I come back( and I will)
I will pack a smaller suitcase, or not and take a taxi, from Schipol.
After all that hustle and then discovering I have no signal on my cell phone (what, what,what!!!)I am worried in the pit of my stomach, that my family will be worried, and we won't have contact, at all...yikes! The hysteria of a sleep deprived mind.
with no cell phone signal,I can't call the manager, of the houseboat, to let us in. And we want to get in!! We are sleep deprived, and all ready sick of dragging our luggage across the cobblestones, and discovering that nice wide path that we think is for walking , is really a bike path, and they have the right of way. at first we don't notice, the far off insistent ring of riders, as they warn us of the imminent arrival, and we need to get out of their way.
I have to now get some coinage, or a phonecard, and frankly what color are they phones? In the U.S they are blue, In the U.K. they are red, in the Netherlands I discover,they are green.
I walk with Mary Jane,and we find a small cigar shop, where we purchase a phone card,walk only a short distance and find a phone. I leave a message for Phil, the house boat manager. I feel a little hopeless, we reach a machine....Will we have to wait long???

By the time we get back to the house boat, Philip arrives 5 minutes, later.
He is charming, and helps us with our luggage. He also is very proud of the houseboat,for he helped refinish the wood work inside. The house boat is a gem, and very worth every penny. It is beautiful rebuilt, with gleaming rich mahogany. Gorgeous stained glass. Every inch of space is used, there are little cubbies and cabinets, in every spare inch. There is a space under our bed for me to store my behemoth of a suitcase. The beds are loft style, and are so comfortable, and big! If this is a double sized bed, America needs to catch up. Over our bed, is a skylight, we like to keep it open at night to stargaze, and I loved waking up in the morning hours with a view of the local rooftops and trees.

Once we settle and get a grip, we are thrilled we have arrived, and off we go to explore our surroundings. There is a stop at our neighborhood coffeshop, called Barney's, and we sample the laughing Buddha, very good, some laughing but reasonable. I am still able to function , and visit to the Bloemenmarkt.

The Bloemenmarkt, is a sight on it's own, masses of flowers, amaryllis bulbs the size, of baby doll heads, it a wonderful gift, and completely enthralls me with this place.
We stop to have a bite to eat, we try the fried bitterballen, and I have a mushroom omelet,the mushrooms and leeks are sauteed, and I taste a hint of tumeric, or perhaps it's curry powder.
Back to the houseboat, to hang out and regroup. There is a lovely common area in the boat, there is a table for four, and two easy chairs, a two large stained glassed windows, open onto the canal. At dusk,the boat cruising begins, we observe boats filled with groups of friends, families, sharing drink, food and laughs,we see an occasional tourist canalboats, where we are no longer the observers, but the observed.
That night when we finally sleep, it feels sooooo good.

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