Stan Speaks: As I review this story in 2020, prior to re-posting, I cannot help but reflect on just how wonderful this Inaugural was. In this article, we concentrate on a small but vital component > Amsterdam. To fully appreciate the tour, first, it is essential that you click once on each pic in this article; of far greater importance, WATCH THE SLIDESHOW; link at the end of the article. It is the entire inaugural Holland portion of the Inaugural in PIX!!! German component coming!!!
On Monday April 21st (2008) about noon we set off for our last run into Amsterdam. Although I had heard the saying that Amsterdam is the Venice of the North, I had not realized just how much truth there was in the saying. (see pic in margin) There is a significant canal system; the difference is that in Venice, the canal system is the exclusive mode of travel while in Amsterdam it is an option. In both cities, people seem to be everywhere as evidenced by the crowded streets, streets that are devoid of automobiles in many cases.
We were dropped off and encouraged to enjoy the downtown or alternatively to take in one of the many museums to be found here. One of the most famous paintings in the entire world is located in the Rijksmuseum Art and History Museum, that being Rembrandt’s Night Watch.Some visited the Anne Frank House, some the Van Goth Museum while others enjoyed the walk among the canals, checked out the merchandise in the many fine stores, enjoying the new experience.
We all gathered for Dinner at the Famous Floating Sea Palace Chinese Restaurant which was in the same general area of Amsterdam. Another fine dinner!! See pic in margin. Click once on pic, pause, and click once more.
It goes without saying that bicycles abounded!! Special lanes existed for them and when pedestrians got in those lanes, the riders sounded their bells to get you to “move on over”!! Small Motorcycles may be king in Rome but Bicycles rule the road in Amsterdam!! If you explode the pic in the margin, it will give you some appreciation for the number of bicycles, and more!! Click once; pause, click again.
Following dinner we boarded a chartered private boat for a candlelight cruise through the canals of Amsterdam. In the margin I have a pic of a typical table; click only once on this pic to get an appreciation of the ambiance on board; we had wine; we had finger food; we had excellent company and we had a guide to provide us with interesting information regarding the many historic buildings and places we cruised by. CAN LIFE GET ANY BETTER? Organizers Carol and Les seemed to think not as they stole a wee kiss as we quietly sailed in the night. (See pic in margin) A good time was had by all.