"Excerpts from my Journal"
We’ve gone to the Red Light district tonight – sitting here at the Café Excalibur writing this journal drinking Heineken. We wandered into here from the street. The Café Excalibur looks like a biker bar. !!No wonder they ignored Gary when he went to order drinks!! Old bikes on the wall, biker chicks behind the bar, and a bunch of guys. We’re watching the parade up and down the street.
Club Excalibur plays old Doors
drug music and Gary thinks that’s “pretty cool”.
After we sat there drinking Heineken's for a couple of hours they warmed up to us. I know..I know... we look like Mr. and Mrs. Sweet Couple, they were probably scared of us.
If you sit somewhere long enough you learn a lot. As in . . . people come in here sit down, have a drink, roll, smoke, and leave.
We went for a stroll through the Red Light District. It was something to see. Early in the evening not all of the girls are 'at work' yet. You see the window shades are drawn. As the night gets later the windows start to open up. I gave the Red Light District a thumbs up for having the best use of black light. It was fascinating to watch the goings on here. The only time I was apprehensive was when we reached the end of the district and had to cross over the canal to stroll down the other side. Shady characters hang out on the bridges. Atleast they looked shady to me. No one ever approached us in the district. Well that's not completely true. Gary left me at the Something Else Cafe and strolled into the district alone and was nabbed by a girl right away. Hmm... when I was hanging on his arm they didn't even look at him...
"Saturday May 19, 2001"
Good Morning. We slept until 8:30am and made it to breakfast at the hotel. I’ve had 3 cups of coffee. buzzzz… 8.25 guilders for cereal, toast, hard-boiled egg, apple and orange juice and other breads and COFFEE.
I got up this morning and my legs are killing me. It’s all the stairs, “NOBODY TOLD ME ABOUT THE STAIRS”. The stairs here are STRAIGHT UP and the steps are about 4 inches wide! The three doors behind me are the shared bathrooms and shower. Some of the rooms have been retrofitted with private baths.
I tried to use the Internet access at Mellow Yellow. They have AOL blocked on the machine. I forgot the message but it doesn’t give access. When Gary comes looking for me we will try the one in the lobby here. I'm sitting in the dining room at the hotel having ANOTHER cup of coffee and writing in my journal. Forget about him...... he’s gone back to sleep. I updated the web page at the hotel and then went upstairs to wake him up.
Afternoon ~ we went for a canal tour. I wasn’t very impressed. I like seeing Amsterdam from the street much better. If I could have a little boat to cruise in that would be a different story.
We’ve gone back to Dam Square to sit down for a while. We’ve survived Amsterdam… but the day’s not over yet.
Hare Krishna's at Dam Square.
"Sunday May 20, 2001"
O.K. so Amsterdam kicked my butt. Feeling a bit rough this morning. We went back to the Red Light District last night. Stopped at a coffeehouse called “Something Else” and had some brews before we continued to walk the district one last time before we left. We had a tremendous day yesterday.
We went to one of the live sex shows and it was funnier than I expected. Actually I didn’t know what to expect. I can say it was entertaining.
We got up at 6:45am this morning to catch on earlier train to Brussels but got on the wrong train, we took one of the locals to the airport – oops. We finally got on the right train and are headed to Brussels.
"Thursday May 17, 2001"
Day One ~ we didn’t get ANY sleep on the plane. And we are worn out now. It’s 8:30pm and we’re at Mellow Yellow Café (how appropriate). It has been a busy day. After we got off the plane we found our way to the hotel via a train from the airport and tram. The Euphemia Hotel is very basic, but at least, we have a bathroom in our room and don’t have to use one of the closets in the hall. We couldn’t check in until 1 pm so we left our bags (locked up of course) and went to the VVV (tourist info) and bought a map.
Our friends from New York, standing behind me in the picture, took our picture on the train at Antwerpen-Berchen stop. They are the same ones that told us we were on the Brussels train.
We got on the Thayles (Thay-Leez) high speed train in Brussels with 7 seconds to spare. We’re headed toward Paris and it is getting weirder.
See our Paris Page for more adventures in Europe.
we wandered around Centraal District and stopped at a sports bar for lunch. Gary made a great discovery that Heineken goes with everything, even pancakes.
We checked into the hotel, took a two-hour nap and went back to Centraal Station to get our Eurail Pass validated and make reservations for our train ride to Paris on Sunday.
We’re going to figure out what we are going to do tomorrow and Saturday, take a shower and go to bed. Check out the bedspread and drapes!
"Friday May 18, 2001"
This morning we slept in until 10am and missed breakfast ~ we won’t make that mistake again. We ended up eating a piece of pie for breakfast. The coffee here is great but you get too little of it.
So far this has been a great experience. This city is so international and diverse it’s amazing. We went to the Van Gogh museum this afternoon and they had a wonderful collection of his works and I was enthralled with the actual painting technique. So slap hazardly and yet it expressed the subject matter so well. I will definitely tour this museum again.
We wandered around town, got lost. We went to Centraal Station and purchased a two-day tram pass and picked up the #20 tram to take the tour of Amsterdam. The #20 is a tram that circles the city hitting most of the major attractions. Easy on easy off. On the trams you get on in the rear or at the front and get out in the middle.
We walked through Singel Flower Market and I bought a bunch of orange tulips for 6 Guilders less than $3US. Everyone sits out at sidewalk cafés and eats here no matter how cold. I think its about 50+ degrees now.