Day 1.5

Amsterdam Travel Blog

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We took a red-eye from JFK to London's Heathrow Airport on British Airways, a confusing point at first because the ticket was sold as an American Airline flight and we ended up at the wrong terminal at JFK.  Fortunately we had arrived early enough that we were able to correct our mistake, with time for Duty Free (read: 19 bags of M&Ms, none of which made the return trip).

The flight to London was short-ish as far as European flights go and we landed well before sunrise.  Sipping a starbucks in Heathrow, I watched the sun-rise and thought to myself, "I could be anywhere but for this sky.  The coffee and immediate surroundings look similar as anywhere in the U.S. But there's no mistaking that sky is different."

After coffee, we boarded our short 45-minute flight to Amsterdam.

  Exhausted by this point, Schipol Airport and the connecting train to Centraal Station were fortunately cake and I again asked myself "why can't everything be so easy to understand in NY?"  a question I continually ask myself when traveling in Europe.

In case this blog post makes it seem like I only traveled alone with random musings from upstairs, my husband Sanjeev was traveling with me and, as usual, was the perfect travel companion.  I think this is why I married him.  Tons of fun and an adventure in his own right, Sanjeev never fails to deliver a smashing good time, whatever the backdrop our travels have landed us.

We checked into the Radisson Blu (affectionately re-named "The Raddy Blue") and were impressed with the Dutch architecture let in by the clear glass atrium over the hotel.

  The bar looked promising and the service delightful.  Luckily, the sun was brilliantly shining despite a forecast of rain and clouds for the whole of our short trip.  We refused to let jet-lag (read: 2.5 hours of sleep) bring us down and instead spent the balance of the afternoon walking around the city, including a lazy lunch along the main Amstel canal (formerly a river) where Sanjeev tried the Burger and Frites and I sampled the more adventurous mashed potatoe dish with some yummy Dutch sauce complete with two different forms of shnitzel.  De-lish.  Our mains were accompanied of course with Heinekens which inspired our impromtu trip to the Heineken Expereince (not a museum, but an "experience" according to the clever marketing...yes, we drank the kool-aid, or in this case, the brew).
  As the pictures I posted on FB suggest, the tour took a turn towards the suds and we ended up drinking more drinks and snapping a few Heineken-tastic photos.  The marketing folks would be proud.

After a longish walk home through a Winter Wonderland of lights and shoppes, we headed back to the Raddy Blu, changed for dinner and headed out again into the neighborhood to just West of the City Center, Jordaan.  We ate at a typical brown cafe, typical in the style and decor and feeling of the place, and ate atypical food, Turkish, apparently the best in the city.  We heartily agreed.  The 3 days of feasting had begun and we victoriously returned to our hotel at 10 pm before lights out after a LONG first day in the Netherlands.

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photo by: pearcetoyou