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There and Back Again 2: Amsterdam

 I warned you, did I not? that our travels last autumn were convolute? In my last post I was in Kansas City, MO, attending the 2023 World Fantasy Convention. This was however just a way station. As is this next destination! We were obliged to change planes in Amsterdam, and I have been changing planes in Amsterdam all my life. Never once since I was fourteen did I ever get out of Schiphol Airport, which is a gateway to most of eastern Europe and the Middle East. We said to each other, if not now, when?

So this time, before we got on another flight, we stopped for more than a week in Amsterdam. This is actually a prudent move for the older traveler. When I was a teen I could fly from New York to Hong Kong, get off the plane, and be ready to wolf down dim sum and ride the Star Ferry. Those dear dead days are now beyond recall. These days I do far better with a time to sleep in and shift my biological clock.

And Amsterdam is a thrilling town, one of the party capitals of Europe. There must be other towns where there are stores dedicated solely to the sale of rubber duckies, but this is my first one. Amstel beer is brewed here — the river is the Amstel, and when they built a dam across it the town that crew up around it was called, yes, Amsterdam. November is not an especially good time to cruise the canals clutching an Amstel and looking for a good time. It is colder than one would like, the days are annoyingly short in northern Europe, and it rains a lot — you can see that I’m holding an umbrella beside my giant rubber duckie. But the attractions are much less crowded and you can get seats in restaurants. This one, for instance, was in the theater district and specialized in fresh seafood cooked while you wait!

We did all the proper tourist things: museum, canal boats, exploring the historical center of the city, and our usual seeking out of something Roman to look at. A lovely and fascinating city!


4 thoughts on “There and Back Again 2: Amsterdam”

  1. Lovely pictures. Brings back memories of my families visit when I was 10. It was in the spring and the tulips were just starting to open. My mum and I were fascinated by the brightly painted canal boats.

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