The canals run throughout Amsterdam and many people live on houseboats

Our next stop is a favorite city for both Leslie and I. I had been there only on business and it has been many years. Leslie visited there with our daughter Madison for a few days when I was on a business trip to Stockholm a few years ago.

We started with a short 3 hour train ride from Paris. But I had a funny (in retrospect) adventure on the train. As we were going on this trip for 45 days I put 2 bottles worth of Excedrin in a baggie to avoid the space of the bottles. I opened this baggie on the train just as security police were walking by my seat. They stopped and asked for my passport and an explanation of the pills. I was finally able to use the internet to show pictures and get them to believe they were non-prescription.

We arrived in Amsterdam fine and as our hotel was only 1/2 mile away we decided to walk. Unfortunately there were some twists and turns in the narrow streets around the canals, combined with small bricks and cobblestone streets made pulling our two suitcases difficult. But like the train ride, the problems only made the end result sweeter.

Our hotel was the Sofitel along one of the canals. But we almost passed it as outside was only the name “The Grand”. But Grand it was! One of the nicest hotels we have stayed at and we have stayed at many of the top hotels in the world. First class in every respect including our huge suite courtesy of the American Express points we had built up over the years. We got in early enough to spend a lot of time just walking around the area and had dinner in one of the hotels very nice restaurants.

A sample of the architecture. At the corner there is the oldest apple pie restaurant in the city. And it was great!

Our second day was highlighted by a leisurely start to the day, causing us to miss the canal boat and sightseeing bus trips we had paid for in advance. But we did make the walking food tour for that afternoon, and it was just great. We met some wonderful people and had some great food plus learned so much more from our knowledgeable guide. It made up for our poor tour in Paris. We finished the food tour and just wandered around the rest of the evening doing some shopping and people watching. Leslie bought some Gouda cheese from a large cheese store and we bought a couple of other minor items. We both love Amsterdam and the entire live and let live feeling in the city, and we hope to visit again in the future.

Deep fried cheese and eldeberry wine on our food tour

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