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Here we are on our first ever visit to the city of Amsterdam. The flight connections took us from St. Louis, to Raleigh Durham, to London, to Amsterdam. Together with the time spent waiting on connecting flights, we spent the better part of 20 hours in transit. The flight to London had quite a few empty seats, and Barbara and Cherie managed to commandeer a whole row of seats (3 in all) for themselves and got a little sleep while Steve and I fidgeted around in our coach seats trying to get comfortable. We were thoroughly exhausted when we arrived at our hotel in Amsterdam, so we took a little nap and then ventured out for our first look at the city of Amsterdam. The first thing that one notices is the overwhelming amount of bicycle traffic. The bikes come in all shapes and sizes and everyone from businessman to tourist is pedaling. There are bike racks everywhere and they even have bike parking centers that are three stories high accomodating more than 3000 bicycles. What Amsterdam doesn't have is a problem with obesity. Most everyone is slim and fit. English is a second language to the people of Amsterdam and they are friendly and more than willing to lend strangers a helping hand. The visit to Amsterdam was a real treat. What an energetic and exciting city! We can't wait to make a return trip.

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This is the Boeing 777 that carried us from Raleigh Durham to London Heathrow. 7+ hours in coach! Yikes!
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This was taken by a kind stranger outside the RDU terminal. We had a long wait there and Steve and Barbara's friend was kind enough to stop by and pick us up. We had a terrific lunch at a nearby deli.
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After yet another connecting flight to Amsterdam we arrived safely but very tired at our hotel. Here we are in the breakfast room waiting for our rooms to be readied.
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We looked at our room and remarked on how small everything was. That is when Barb and Steve stopped by to exclaim how much bigger our room was than theirs (you had to have been there). Small but efficient and the hotel staff is first rate. Notice the dark circle under our eyes. This was before the nap.
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Looking along the canal on our first outing into the city after a much needed afternoon nap.
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Pausing to stop for a look across the canal bridge
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A funny moment at a stop in one of Amsterdam's fine coffee shops
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Still laughing at the restaurant where we had our evening meal. Like most area merchants, the restaurant owner was very nice and generous with his food. So far, it's been "All good".
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It's a beaufiful evening here in Amsterdam but as the sun sets, it's beginning to get cool.
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Another look back at the church.
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The stairwell looking down from the reception area to the entrance. 37 steep steps, and it's just to the first level. In Amsterdam, the homes are all very narrow and build upward.
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The Hotel Nadia
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Our very helpful receptionist. Michelle speaks five languages. Her English is better than mine.
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Cherie and Barbara kicking back on our balcony.
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The back side of the Rijksmuseum.
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Looking across from our balcony to Jennifers place (A European restaurant chain).
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We are on an excursion boat cruising along the Amstel River and some of the canals.
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One of the thousands of houseboats that line the river and the canals. People use these as permanent residences, vacation homes, or rent them out to tourists. Space is limited and it is expensive to lease space. Amsterdam is an expensive city to live in.
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A rustic old windmill along the canal route.
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Our excursion boat captain.
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One of the many bridges spanning the canal. This is one of the oldest, dating back to the 17th century. Although it is hard to tell from this photo, you can spot seven symmetrical bridges looking along the canal. The canals were used to distribute goods brought into the port by sailing ships.
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Our excursion boat that took us along the Amstel and the many canals. I recommend this tour.
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The equivalent of the Budweiser team. This Heineken is for you!
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Walking back to the hotel from the Riverfront.
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Looking up our street towards the hotel.