Amsterdam – Arrival Thoughts

Hi Everyone!
Well, it’s January, and we are back in Europe—this time, in Amsterdam, Holland, aka The Netherlands.  We had a direct flight and arrived in Amsterdam with no problems.  For some reason, I didn’t get as sore this time…maybe I’m getting used to flying for such a long time…or was it more comfortable seats? (Jon’s note: nope the seats weren’t that comfortable…) We got two seats together on the plane, which is always preferable.  The flight was long, but they did provide food from time-to-time and a few choices for in-seat entertainment (Vicki spent a LOT of time playing Bejeweled 😉 We arrived on time, and got through customs fairly quickly.  After taking a taxi to our hotel, we had to wait a few hours to be able to check-in, so we had them hold our luggage while we walked to a nearby grocery store to buy some diet soda for Jon and a bottle of water for me along with some sandwich ingredients.  
We were disappointed with the size of our room and the lack of storage space but we ARE adjusting.  There is only one (small) closet and no cabinets or storage shelves–not even the fold up racks to put your suitcase on, so, we hung my one dress, Jon’s dress shirts and suit–and everything else is in our suitcases which sit on the floor…we feel like we are camping.  Our bathroom is about 7.5 ft. X 4.5 ft. area (I counted the 1 ft. tiles) that is separated from the bedroom, by a glass partition with a swinging glass door and includes a shower on the wall with another glass partition dividing it from the sink (with no door).  The water just goes on the floor tiles and runs towards the wall to a drain.  BTW– This glass “wall” does NOT go all the way up to the ceiling–and  the glass IS frosted through the middle, giving a LITTLE privacy. LOL  The floor is a stone tile that stays rather cold.  There is also very little counter area (and no drawers or cabinet) for our toiletries…they have to sit on the floor!  
We are adapting, but it would sure be nice if the windows in Europe were better insulated.  We kept increasing the temperature control trying to warm it up (current setting is 30 Celsius), but since it is ceiling heat, the heat never quite makes it to the floor where there is always a cold draft from the windows, so your legs are always cold.  This would not be so bad if it weren’t so cold outside and if it was only for a few days or even a week–not quite the Hilton quality we were told about when being recruited.  When you consider we are “living here” for 4 weeks, it is somewhat frustrating, but I guess we should remember that it could be worse.  Oh yeah, we do have a small refrigerator, big enough to hold our soda and water; along with a “Kettle” (that’s what they call their hot water heating pots) with coffee and tea available in the room…so it is not all that bad…Now I just wish I could find some hot cocoa packets–especially the sugar-free kind.
At least we have a bed with warm duvets…oh yeah—many places in Europe don’t use top sheets or blankets. There is usually a bottom sheet with two twin sized duvets folded in thirds and laying on the bed with a pillow above it.  That means each night we have to unfold the duvets and spread them out on the bed.  Jon gets a little annoyed with that, but then if you have a blanket hog, I guess it COULD be a good thing. LOL They do, however, hold warmth in them very well.  I’m not cold while in bed–I just get tempted to climb into bed to warm up–then end up taking an unexpected LONG nap–which I did last Friday. LOL  Jon came in to find me asleep, so he also decided to take a nap and we slept right through dinner and woke up at about 1:30 AM!  Then about an hour later, my cell phone rang (a sales call!?).  We decided since we were up and it was early evening at home, to make a couple phone calls home and we split the little sandwich I had saved from breakfast.  Then we went back to bed for a couple more hours of sleep.  We were actually up and went to breakfast by about 8 AM on a Saturday.  Those of you who know us, know that is VERY unusual for us–we like to sleep in on Saturdays.
Hmmm – missing?…that is, unless you call orange carpet with purple circles and ovals making a path from the door to the windows, “décor”…LOL  Hey, at least it has some of my color scheme…LOL.  It reminds us of IKEA style decor–no pictures, just a strip of mirrors with white walls and white bedding…even a white TV—which IS a flat screen…if only I understood more of the TV programs (primarily Dutch).

Jon & Vicki


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