Our last day of the trip was in Amsterdam. We took the train from Eindhoven to Amsterdam (the airport) and found the shuttle to our Hotel, the Dorint Sofitel Amsterdam Airport. I really liked this hotel. We checked in, then I asked the front desk for help getting to the museums and such in downtown Amsterdam. The hotel had a shuttle that ran 3 times a day downtown, early morning, early evening and later evening. Since that wouldnt work, she suggested we take the shuttle back to the airport, catch the train downtown and then tram 2 or 5 to get to the Rijksmuseum. The directions worked perfectly.
The Rijksmuseum was great. It features great Dutch artists,and included a special section on Rembrandt celebrating the 400th anniversary of his birth. I really enjoyed it. The gift shop was good – I found a few things to give as gifts.
We then went to the Van Gogh Museum (a block or so away). Rich wanted coffee, so we went directly to the cafe. They were starting to shut down, so the guy offered us 2 for 1 pizzas. I am so glad we did that, I was really hungry and pizza never tasted better. We then made it through the main section of the museum. I really like Van Gogh especially the work during his time in Arles. Rich didn’t like it as much. Unfortunately the gift shop closes before the museum, and I was not able to shop. They had a lot more cool stuff there – I saw stuff I really think my stepmom would have liked (especially after she just took care of my very sick son!)
It was then after six and the other museums I wanted to visit were closed (Rembrant museum and Anne Frank House).
Rch then wanted to go to the Hemp Museum. It was in the middle of the red light district. We found the place on the end of the block next to construction. The place was cramped,disorganized, overheated and junky. The displays followed no logical thought whatsoever and the information looked as if it were typed on recipe cards with an antique typewriter. They did have a few pieces of cloth, rope and other tangible goods made from hemp. The museum shop consisted of paraphernalia, a few posters, tiny backpacks with leaves screened on them and seeds. Needless to say we purchased nothing.
Then came the worst time of the trip, trying to get out of the red light district. Yes there are red lights in the windows to indicate a prostitution business. Yes the merchandise is displayed in the natural state. After wandering up and down streets trying to get back to the better area of town, being spit at by either a parton or manager and harrassed by panhandlers, Rich told me to lighten up this is legal. I then let him know that I did not care if it was legal or not, I did not want to be there, I did not want to go to the museum we had just wasted an hour and a half at but there are some things you do as a matter of compromise when traveling with someone else. He then offered to stop to rest and get something to eat. There are only coffee shops on the next few blocks.We stopped in one that advertised a resturaunt also thinking they might have a nonsmoking area (their primary purpose is not coffee!) They didn’t, so we walked two more blocks to the main street and went to a pizza place. It wasn’t the greatest pizza, but the staff was SO polite (especially our waiter, who was very young). It was also next door to the next museum Rich wanted to visit, the sex museum.
After the nasty red light district, the museum was somewhat tame. It was a little disorganized, but it covered sex through the ages with the art of a wide variety of cultures and written documents. It also covered the history of porno movies, starting with the start of film itself. There was one small, offset room that covered preferences off the norm. The room has warnings that it was shocking. They also devoted a lot of space to Marilyn Monroe. I didn’t mind going here, as Rich really wanted to go. I still would have rather seen Anne Frank house or the Rembrandt museum.
We then got back to our beautiful hotel, I packed and slept very soundly.
The next morning we got up very early to catch a cab over to the hotel for our 7 am flight (the shuttle wasn’t running that early.) There was a large group waiting for the Lufthansa window to open, which they did at 5. The customer service people worked very quickly and we were waited on very quickly. I got on the plane and promptly fell back asleep. I found out later that we sat on the ground for about 45 minutes before takeoff.
We then got to Frankfurt airport late and the nightmare began. We had to go through customs, run to another concourse and go through security again. It was a long slow process and we only had a half hour before boarding for our flight to Portland. When then were buses a mile or so to our plane only to sit there for 1-1/2 hours. We had to wait for a dozen or so people connecting from Rome. After this experience we decided flying to Seattle then directly to Amsterdam is the better choice.
We then were home (yeah). By the time we got through customs and everything it was after 1 pm. Our ride had checked our flight info, and had left a message where to meet. Good service.
We then went to my mom’s to pick up Carl (Dad and Judi had him the first half, Mom the second half.) Rich went into the den first, I heard "Daddy!" (not Dada – he grew up while we were gone…) and minute or so later I walked into the Den. "Mommy," (not Mum Mum) he shouted and tried to run past Rich to me. Rich grabbed him and hugged him, then I got him. I really didn’t want to let him go for a while. I loved the trip but I really don’t want to leave Carl for so long for a long long time.