Tuesday, May 29, 2018


Saturday, May 12th, 2018          ARRIVED IN ROTTERDAM         --    AMSTERDAM

I was awake by 5 am.  I went up to the Lido and found coffee and rolls at 6 am.  Jim also went up at 6:15 and got some breakfast.  By  6:30 am we had both girls and their hand luggage in our room.  The exit floor is our deck so that will make it easier when our numbers are called; no need for stairs or elevators. 

It was nearly 8 am by the time we were off of the ship.   The girls found a porter to help with the big luggage on our walk to the bus that would take us to Amsterdam and the Schiphol Airport.  We’d purchased the tickets for the transport before we left home.  

It was nearly an hour to the airport but could have been much longer if it was other than Saturday; we arrived about 9:30.  Once we got everything into the station; the bus let everyone off outside of Terminal 3.  We scrambled for our luggage; the handle on Mary’s large suitcase was bent and would not pull out.    Finally found free carts and that helped.   Found a place for Jim and Shirley and then Mary and I took her luggage and headed for Wow Airlines.  Lucky us…. It was Terminal 3 and around the corner.  Next was finding someone to help us with her boarding pass and getting her wheelchair with an attendant.   We were concerned about overweight luggage fees but didn’t happen.  We played the old lady card and they helped us with getting the boarding passes instead of having to use the machines.  I left her with two and a half hours to wait for boarding in a wheelchair that I “assumed” was going to be taking her through security and then to the gate area.   WRONG:  I later found out that she spent the whole time waiting exactly where I left her until time to board the plane.  Something about no elevators??   Bottom line:  the wheelchairs were all put into a truck, driven up to the airplane, and then power lifted up to the door of the airplane before they rolled them onto the plane!   I know what this is as I’ve seen it done before in Europe.  

Once I left Mary, I went back to Jim and Shirley.  Left Jim with the luggage and Shirley and I went in search of a suitcase for the extra things that had not fit into her suitcases.   They were in an open bag for the trip to the airport.  We found a store downstairs in the terminal and settled on a suitcase that looked to be the right size.   I went back to get the bag and we literally put everything from the bag into the suitcase before we purchased it.  It’s a wheeled duffle bag, soft sided.    There is some concern about how it will be when it arrives in Miami!
Checked back with Jim, picked up Shirley’s other suitcase and headed out for Terminal One which is at the opposite end of the airport.  Looooong walk!     But we got there…still had the walker so that helped us with the luggage and gave Shirley something to hang on too for our stroll.  Again, we received great service because of age and the fact that we were very early.   We got her boarding passes for her including her change in Zurich, Switzerland.   She is using miles with United but on a Swiss Air Flight.  But she has a very long layover there, over 12 hours, and we have arranged for a “transit room” during her time there.  A room with a bed, toilet and sink; right inside of the airport.   They did not charge her for overweight luggage fees and the walker was no charge.  We turned in the walker and went to the Assistance Desk where they assigned her a wheelchair and attendant.   She had over three hours to wait for her flight.   It was 11:30 am and I was on my way back to find Mr. Jim.

We headed for the area in Terminal One, where we’d began this morning, and the train station.  On the way there I asked about considering a taxi as we were both exhausted.  We couldn’t get into the apartment in Amsterdam until 2 pm but I thought I’d give it a try.  Jim went to find out about a taxi and I started calling the owner.  Luckily for us; I was able to get in touch with him and he gave me the phone number of the housekeeper who would be there cleaning the unit until 1:30 pm.  He said if we arrived before then she would help us get our luggage inside and give us keys.

Jim returned with positive information and we were off to the taxi stand.  We found one that was willing to do it by the meter and it would probably be from 40 to 50 euros.   Since it’s Saturday, we figured the traffic would be light and fast.   Beautiful black car and when we arrived at our apartment the fee was only 45 euros.  The driver was very proud of his new car and told us it was a new Tesla from California.  The back doors flip up when they open.  Jim looked it up and it’s a Model X, SUV with rear door gull wings.  A very expensive vehicle for a taxi!

Our apartment is in the Southern Canal District and easy walking distance to all the main sites.  We have a great rate of $120/night for eleven nights.   Up one steep flight of stairs on the first floor (second floor in USA).  We have a bedroom, kitchen alcove, shower/sink in the room and share the toilet in the hallway with one other room.  The window opens to a balcony and we have a view of the park at the end of the block.  Tiny chairs and a table allow us to enjoy the balcony for eating and/or reading during the day.   We have a grocery store nearby and plan to eat many of our meals here in our little house in Amsterdam!    We walked the neighborhood twice in the afternoon to get a feel for our area.   It’s light until nearly 10 pm, but we were in bed by 8 pm!    

Today I walked 10,510 steps, 4.57 miles. 

Sunday, May 13th, 2018        Amsterdam    Day 2     Mother’s Day      Rain

Woke about 8 am, Jim complained about two much light in the room last night.  There is a bright street light that shines through the curtains all night long.  We’ll adjust, but the first night it was a big issue!

About 9:15 am I started walking to church.  I’d decided to walk to St. Nicolas’ Basilica which is about an hour’s walk away.   It’s located across the canal from the main Train Station at the top of the old town.  It’s an overcast morning with light rain and cool enough for a jacket.   I was doing fine until I switched my phone to camera to take a photo and when I switched back to the map it said I needed Wi-Fi.   Oops!   After working for a few minutes I realized that I’d turned off the mobile switch and as soon as I flipped that button I was back in business!    Cell phones are wonderful but sometimes complicated for senior citizens. 
I arrived about 10:15 and the church was already nearly full and waiting for the 10:30 high mass to begin.  The inside of the church reminded me of the one in St. Petersburg Russia called “spilled blood”.   Every inch of the walls has beautiful paintings.  The priest spoke in English three times:  the beginning, at the offertory and at the end.  Each time thanking the visitor’s for their attendance.   The choir was an added plus to my experience.   Large combined men and women with beautiful voices.
The rain had stopped by the time I started my journey back to the apartment.   I stopped frequently until I started to run out of battery for photos along the way home.  When I was nearly home I spotted a 24/7 do it yourself laundry-mat.   We’ve been doing hand washing each night on the ship so we’re looking forward to all clean clothes!   As soon as I arrived I gathered the laundry and headed to the Laundry-mat.  So good to have all clean clothes!    My mother’s day gift to myself!    I did hear from our children all day on the Wi-Fi on Facebook, Texts and emails.

Took the day to get organized, tossed out unnecessary paperwork and fixed the apartment so that I would know where to find things.  At 4 pm I walked to the Subway shop in the rain and picked up a sandwich for our supper along with our wine from last night.   Chocolate bars from France completed our dinner.   On my way in I met our landlord, Sven; very pleasant and easy to talk with.  His family lives here in the building:  wife and 3 young adult children.  They’ve owned the building for twenty some years.

Today walked 13,224 steps; about 5.91 miles.   A good day…sunshine predicted for the rest of the week.

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