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Wed, Mar. 29th, 2006, 02:14 pm
Netherlands Trip -- Flight & Arrival in Amsterdam

My Mom is quite a world traveller these days, probably because her profession as a day-sail captain puts her in touch with lots of people who travel a lot, so she has to monitor the cruise ship message boards to get business, and I'm sure she gets lots of advice from her customers. She has been around the world, through out South America (sometimes sailing there in her own boat!), and most recently a long tour of Turkey which I was quite envious of (I like middle eastern drum music.)

This spring she decided to take a canal cruise through the canals of the Netherlands from Amsterdam to Antwerp during the spring in a Tulips and Windmills cruise. As a surpise I told her I'd be glad to join her as sort of an early Mother's Day gift.

I'm arriving a couple of days early, so that I can adjust my body clock, and maybe meet with Dworkin, who wrote DGD which is the underlying "driver" we use at Skotos.

The plane trip was actually quite painless -- I got a real good deal (about $600 round trip) and using seatguru.com I had an almost the best coach seat on the plane with lots of legroom (almost felt like business class). I was next to a mother with a baby, but the baby didn't cry much at all so I hardly minded. There was about an hour delay taking off, but we arrived only 20 minutes late.

Netherlands entry and customs was so basic it was amazing, just a quick stamp of my passport with no questions, and just walk out through a "no declarations" line. There is a direct train from the airport to amsterdam central train station, which left about 2 minutes after I got to the train, and the hotel was a quick two blocks from the train station. A breeze.

I was at my hotel, the Bellevue by noon, and they were able to change me to a double bed from two twins (which was the only internet option). It is a small room, but very minimalistic in a pleasant way. Bathroom and shower are one room, so a little weird, but it works. Considering the location and the price, a steal.

Wireless internet doesn't work in the room, but it does in the little cafe in the lobby, where I am sitting now drinking a classy hot chocolate. I feel like a real cosmopolitan.

Unfortunately, as usual I was not able to get any sleep on the plane, and I don't want to nap until it is closer to "evening" so I can get my clock straight. There is a 'walking only' road called Nieuwenduk that runs through the center of town close by and it is sunny today, so I think I stroll down it to keep awake after I stash my computer back in the room.

The cruise starts Friday, but I return for two more days here in Amsterdam on the 10th & 11th of April. Any Netherland's based Skotos'ers?

Wed, Mar. 29th, 2006 04:52 pm (UTC)

I'm still keeping watch out for some last minute deals. In fact I know a guy who works at the airport and can get tickets for himself + one more dirt cheap. Don't know if he wants to go to Amsterdam though, but who knows. If I pay his ticket it might be encouraging enough. :)

Thu, Mar. 30th, 2006 06:33 am (UTC)

Well I can't make it over unfortunately, but I'll hopefully see you soon anyway.

Don't you do pedestrianised streets in the States?

Have fun!

Thu, Mar. 30th, 2006 12:39 pm (UTC)

Many US cities have a pedestrianized street, however, typically they are two or three blocks long at the most. Nothing like Amsterdam which has several of these that run the whole length of the old city.

Rarer in the US is cities with extensive bike paths -- there are towns like Davis, CA that have done a fabulous job, but again, there are an order of magnitude (or more) of bike/scooter roads in Amsterdam. I hear that there are as many bikes in Amsterdam as citizens.

Sun, Apr. 23rd, 2006 07:44 pm (UTC)

Sounds marvelous. Enjoy! Won't make it to BayCon this year to practice more drumming, as we'll be up in Big Bear for the RSTC (or some such - astronomy thingie).