There are pictures on my phone from the first day here and from a dinner with Ellen and Jolande that will have to wait until I can transfer them to a computer and upload them.
Pat & Rita and I got into Amsterdam about 7:30 AM and were ready for our private taxi to our hotels by 8:15. We waited and looked for our driver then I turned on my phone to try to contact the company. The driver had called me at 8 and left when I didn't answer! We finally got together at 9:30 but he couldn't find the van in the parking lot. Then he had to stop and get gas first! Then he took me to my hotel and Pat & Rita to the wrong hotel because he didn't listen to us saying the address!
I got registered but the card key wouldn't work until 3 PM so I had time to kill. Luckily I could store my luggage in a locker. I wandered in the neighboring Vondelpark and found the museums. I decided to try to see the Van Goth museum but you had to pick an exhibition then pay for it at a kiosk. Everything was sold out for the day so I kept wandering. I found a grocery store where I warmed up then bought a juice and a candy bar for lunch. I went back to the hotel to get my crackers and ate lunch in the lobby. 2 more hours to go so I wandered some more.
After checking into my room, I showered and settled in. Later I had a real meal at a nearby Dutch restaurant and had a great meal next to a couple that engaged me in conversation. After that I could sleep for the night on a thin mattress and pillow. Can't wait for the cruse!
I rented a bike and braved the city. Rode to Ann Frank house and got a little lost. That was interesting but solemn. Partway through the exhibits I was told no photographs even without flash! As you can see, I wasn't required to delete them. When I got out i found Pat and Rita and the Debs. Their tickets were for 11 while mine was for 9:30.
I wandered the nearby blocks while waiting for them to have lunch together. I found a cheese museum and a tulip museum and looked through them. We then ate at a restaurant I found and I had a Dutch pancake. It was like a pizza on a crepe but it was savory like they advertised!
I then rode the bike to the Heineken Experience and got lost. But I rode through the Rijksmuseum like I saw others do yesterday! The Debs said they had waited only 10 minutes or so. After I bought my ticket we went right in and had fun. We learned how the beer is made and that their A yeast is what makes theirs so special and uniform all around the world. Then their old brewery was transformed into a world where we become the beer that gets bottled and sent then drunk! The next room was full of things like getting a picture, singing karaoke while on a bike delivering a case of beer. Finally to the tasting room for our 2 beers each.
I didn't get lost going to the restaurant where we had dinner with the Dutch girls Ellen and Jolande and Peg and Janet who are now here for the cruise. That was also a great experience with great Dutch food. The owner played his accordion for us before we left - a Dutch song then Home on the Range!