The Adventures of BJ and Tony Morris
We literally slid into Amsterdam. It seemed like everything was on a slant for some reason. We were on the A330 aircraft, thankful for our business class cocoons, but really, Delta, could you redesign the reclining seats to be less of a sliding board? Fully reclined, there is nothing except catching your underarms on the seatbelt to stop you from sliding into a puddle in front of your seat. Once we landed in Amsterdam, we also stepped onto what we thought was an escalator, only to find that it was a moving sidewalk ramp,
throwing us entirely off-balance.
We first went downstairs before we realized that the downstairs seemed to be catering to more of a druggie clientele. It was interesting to note the casual approach to the sale of marijuana, other drugs and paraphernalia. There was a booth in the corner where a man was selling marijuana products. The man wasn't at the booth when we passed by so we snuck a peek at the menu of items that he was selling. The menu was divided into 5 sections. Marijuana, Hashish, Special Offer, Pre-rolled Joints with Tobacco and Pre-rolled Reefers with pure grass. Everything except the Special Offer was 12€. Special Offer was 25€.
Before we left that section of the bar, we watched a transaction take place. A group of seemingly inexperienced tourists approached the man behind the counter and asked for his recommendation. The man advised them to buy a 4 pack of white-widow
marijuana cigarettes but warned them to share one between them and not to smoke one each. One of the group asked where they could smoke and the vendor said they could smoke anywhere but not out on the street during the day where children could see them. They left the counter and we stealthily followed them upstairs to the bar area. We ordered some refreshments and watched what took place next.
The remainder of the afternoon consisted of walking around and people watching. It has been a long first day so we headed back to the hotel and dined on hors d'oeuvres. We said good night and agreed to meet back at breakfast. Back in our room, we discovered that the hotel had delivered a valentine's surprise basket of chocolates, candies and strawberries.
After a breakfast of the best scrambled eggs we'd ever had, we inquired as to how they were made. "Butter, lots of butter", came the answer. I guess butter makes everything better!
We were amused by the ignored "No Bicycles" signs in several shop windows.
We stopped for refreshments at Cafe International which was also the check-in desk for a Hostal. Europeans have a great attitude toward dogs and we enjoyed petting the dog behind the bar.
Wandering along one of the canals, we were surprised to find men using urinals right on the street. They were round green metal enclosures open at the top and the bottom with a drain below.
We turned up a pedestrian alley and found ourselves square in the middle of the red-light district. We watched a dirty looking man enter the building of one of the pretty young girls and felt sorry for her. In Amsterdam, dispensing sex for money seems to be an accepted line of work. We passed a statue of "Belle" that had the inscription "Respect Sex Workers All Over the World".
We were hesitant to walk past a falling-down building that was propped up with logs.
We had a late lunch at La Pampa, a place we would not recommend. The menu outside gave reasonable prices but when we went inside we were presented with menus that reflected triple the price. We asked about the prices outside and the waiter said, "Oh, you want the special menus." He then gave us menus with double the outside prices. We argued again and were presented with yet another set of menus that finally reflected the prices that had brought us inside. The food was mediocre at best. Some of us had a thin brothy gulaschsuppe while others tried the steak or meat pie.
As we settled in for cocktail hour in the roof-top Executive Lounge, the skies opened up and the rain poured down. We decided to nosh on the hors
d'oeuvres rather than venture out in the rain for dinner. Our favorite new sweet
discovery was the Stroopwafels! Sweet little crunchy waffles filled with a
vanilla bourbon sauce. We met a couple from Scotland and another couple from the United States.
We had a bit of a walk from the tram stop to the hotel, but once again we were greeted with the regard that our diamond status deserves! This time we were able to secure an airline employee rate, but still on the executive level with access to the executive lounge. We found a nice fruit tray waiting for us in our rooms.
After we settled in, we met in the executive lounge where the attendant gave us advice about nearby attractions. She said the town of Kaiserwirth was beautiful at sunset. We understood her to say that it was a 20 minute walk from the hotel, so we started out along the river to be there by sunset. After 20 minutes of walking, we found a map that showed that we were nowhere near Kaiserwirth yet.
We decided she must have meant 20 minutes by tram or car. We turned back toward the hotel and caught a tram to Altstadt so we could meet our friend Marin at Brauerei im Fuchschen.
Altstadt is a quaint little village. We wandered around until we found our meeting place. It was a crowded beer hall and there was nowhere to sit. We asked a waiter and he was kind enough to find a table that we could share with some other people. We sampled the Alt which was a delicious medium dark beer served in a tall glass.
Marin arrived and tried to order a non-alcoholic beer since she was driving but they did not have a non-alcoholic beer. She ordered an alt and told us that it was considered rude not to have at least one. She told us of the feud between Altstadt and Kolsh about who brews the best beer. After a wonderful dinner of beer & brats, Marin drove us back to our hotel.
Just before the bike path dumped us into Kaiserwirth, we found the lovely little outdoor cafe Alte Rheinfahre where we had some refreshments at a sunny table. There was a bit of a chill in the air, but the restaurant had blankets to warm us.
We passed the ruins of an old castle on the outskirts of town.
We rode around the town, making a stop at a department store to buy Amanda some gloves. We had a delicious lunch at Zum Einhorn.
Another great trip with great friends!