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Sunday, December 2, 2012

We're in Amsterdam!

We are here in Amsterdam!!! Just wanted to catch you all up on our adventure. We first flew to Chicago, and had a 6 hour layover which we spent in the United Club Room. Chuck thought it was funny that I was quite excited about having a 6 hour layover. If you have ever been to the United Club Room in the O’Hare airport, or in any airport for that matter, you may understand why. The room is actually a few rooms with comfortable chairs, and some tables. There is a variety of snacks available which I am going to write a hub article about so I won’t go into too much detail here, but we had access to as much coffee, soda, hot chocolate, tea and herbal tea as we wanted. There were also snacks like cookies, fruit, cheese and crackers, etc. It is not often that I get 6 hours to sit down somewhere and write so I was having a ball. Of course traveling with Chuck means we need to be early everywhere, bless his heart. There’s no way we will miss a plane if he’s along! So we didn’t really have 6 hours because we needed to be at the gate early so we could be first in line when they started boarding. But even so, we had about 5 hours and that was great. My time in the United Club Rooms always seems to go fast because I enjoy myself so much! Once on board the plane, we had an 8 hour flight. They fed us dinner and we read and watched a movie with Meryl Streep called,”Hope Springs.” It’s the one they just made in Stonington, CT. and even though we both had head phones on we got all excited and made pointing gestures to places we recognized when they came onscreen. After the movie, we went to sleep. It was not a very comfortable sleep because we were basically sitting up except for the few inches the seat went back. I was awakened a few hours into my sleep by a sharp pain in my knee from being in an uncomfortable position for so long. Breakfast was served…a croissant, fruit and a drink of our choice. Within an hour we were on the ground in Amsterdam. The weather was 37 and it was raining and sleeting alternately. We made it to our hotel, the smallest hotel room I have ever been in, except for 1 we stayed in when we went to New York City once. It has a nice bathroom with amenities that are a bit different from those in the U.S. because they include a toothbrush kit and razor. There is a narrow area for the bed, which is full sized…yikes! And then an area at the end of the bed with a chair and desk set up. When we finally made it to the room it was about 1:00 p.m. Amsterdam time, and 6 a.m. Eastern standard time. We probably only slept about 4 hours at the most on the plane so I was tired but Chuck said we needed to keep moving, and not go to sleep just yet. Apparently the worst thing we could do is sleep then because our bodies needed to get used to the new time zone. We went to the hotel restaurant and had a great view of the street in front of us which is a main area and near a park. We saw tons of people on bikes as that is a main form of transportation here. By this time it had stopped raining but was still cold. I wasn’t very hungry because I was so tired so I just had tomato soup which was served with the most delicious bread and a side of fresh butter that was absolutely yummy. Chuck had a Panini that was similar to pepperoni. We had fun watching everyone go by. After lunch I still really wanted a nap but Chuck convinced me to stay awake and we went for a walk. I must admit that I was getting a bit cranky in the hotel room because I was SOOOO tired, but fortunately once we got outside, the cold air woke me up and I was much better, both in terms of my mood and alertness! We walked down the street and came across a large park where many people were walking, with dogs or on their own, and again there were lots of bikes. We wandered on past shops and restaurants and found a canal that had tour boats leaving every 30 minutes so we decided to take a tour. It was a great way to see the city and I took a ton of pictures. The canal boat had a glass roof over it and it was really warm inside. Half way through I was so tired that I could barely keep my eyes open. Turned out I was sitting next to the window right next to a heater! I changed seats and continued to take lots of pictures. The houses are so cute, all smushed together side by side going up 3 stories high. After our canal boat ride which lasted 75 minutes, we walked around the city a bit more and saw tons of restaurants. I don’t know how people can make up their minds as to where they want to eat! We went back to the room arriving back about 6:30 p.m. I was fighting sleep so read a guidebook about Amsterdam then Chuck showed me how to set up my computer to use the internet and a different plug for Europe. By this time it was 7:30 p.m. and I was beat so I told him I couldn’t fight sleep anymore but to stay up as long as he wanted as it wouldn’t bother me. Apparently I was right because that was the last I remember until 3:30 this a.m. when I woke up needing to use the bathroom, and I haven’t been able to get back to sleep since. That’s fine as I can nap today while he teaches. After lying in bed for an hour and 15 minutes, I couldn’t fight the urge to get up and write, so here I am, at 5:00 a.m.writing to all of you. We are here, safe and sound and ready for an adventurous week in Amsterdam!

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