Day Nine

Amsterdam! My one regret about this trip is that we focused our planning on the Germany part but didn’t really think much about what we’d do once we got to Amsterdam. Turns out, you need advance tickets to the Van Gogh museum. But, we took the train into the Centraal train station (and yes, there are two a’s in the word – Dutch has lots of extra letters), then queued up for an hour-long canal boat tour. That was a lovely introduction to Amsterdam, and had the added bonus of keeping us dry until the rain let up.

After, we had various bio-needs (hunger, thirst, a bathroom), so we went into one of the first restaurants we came to: An Argentinian steak house, where we had a lovely sit-down lunch.

Fortified and refreshed, we set off to walk to the Rijksmuseum – we had purchased admission to it as part of the canal boat package. It was really crowded. Which I suppose is to be expected on a foul-weather Saturday in March? But I was thinking perhaps the sale of tickets was to control crowds so that visitors can actually enjoy the art.

Anyway, we had only a couple of hours, and after an hour the boys were getting antsy, so Steve suggested this: Seth and Ross peel off and go do whatever young men of their age might wish to do for an hour in Amsterdam (*coughcough* *ahem*), I could take Eli to get a souvenir (he was dying for a hoodie), and Steve would spend the final hour in the museum. We would all rendesvous back at Centraal for the ride back to the houseboat. And that plan worked great. We all managed to meet up at the appropriate time, and back we went.

We sent Seth and Ross back out to buy and bring back a pizza, with instructions to hold the box tightly, lest it become a de facto sail and pull them aloft (the wind was really gusty – which I guess one should expect in Holland, home of the windmill). But they made it back unscathed, and we ate pizza, then packed up and got our bags ready, because Sunday was travel day.

The flight was the flight – complimentary beverages which was FABULOUS, but even more than that I was giddy because they gave me ICE CUBES. Restaurants don’t serve water, let along *ice water* as a matter of custom. You can ask for water, but they charge, and it’s usually a bottle of mineral water. Which is yummy, but gets a little expensive. And sodas usually cost about as much as beer.

Then we got back and had to wait in the longest line ever to clear customs. Mid-Sunday afternoon is when all the flights land from the east; it’s not like they didn’t know it was going to happen at Dulles. Maybe all the agents called in sick to celebrate St Patrick’s Day? Regardless, it made us grouchy. But we finally made it to the car and home with minimal drama. And none of us suffered the effects of jet lag too much.