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Thursday, April 13, 2006

We're going to Amsterdam!!

Central Station

Today we are off to Amsterdam!!! After a few hurdles...
Its is rainy and dreary and cold!! Just really yucky! No worries though, most days start like this and clear up by noon - so we get a little wet... That isn't going to stop our trip!
Next, food...
We have found (via a whole nother storey) that inorder to eat breakfast at the club house you must 1st make a reservation. We have a very nice restaurant and bar up here that we tend to frequent, the night staff know us and are very friendly... do you feel where this is going?
We made reservations after dinner last night. We decided to eat here because of the convience for an early start and because they have a pretty decient breakfast menu (namely pancakes! :) ) We wanted pancakes, it has been almost 4 weeks!!
We get there for grub and find an almost empty restaurant and a table for 4 nicely arranged... with food... we haven't ordered yet. : There is a basket of bread rolls (hard as rocks), a plate of sliced meats (possible proscuto) and cheeses, a basket of jellies, peanut butter and butter, some watered down OJ, a thermos of plain coffee...
~*~*let me stop here for a second~*~*
We have been here almost 4 weeks and out side of what I make at home have not been able to find a plain cup of coffee anywhere in this country. Not to complain but occassionally a girl just wants some 'joe'; no froth, no need for sugar and damn-it, a normal size cup. This 'joe' which has been so elusive that I have finally put it out of my head is now in front of me with all this other crap, that I did not order, and all I want is come pancakes and cappachino., I see a waitress, one, and decide I'll go find out what is going on and see if we can order something to eat since we did not order the stuff on the table. 95% of the population here speaks almost perfect English and everyone else speaks enough to conversate with, this lady clearly spoke the language I needed but we were having some communication problems still (I will even take the blame and say it was my fault, I tend to talk very fast). As our brief conversation unraveled my 'point' kept getting smaller and detailed. I went from wanting to understand how this breakfast/reservation/menu thing worked to just wanting to order off the menu to just wanting cappachinos for the table... finally a cord with her was struck with the cappachinos and I recieved a rather loud, very forceful "Nae, it is not possible" and she was gone. Wide-eyed, I hung my head and returned to my friends with no better breakfast and worse, no fancy, european cappachino. Hmmmph! Mark later, after we resigned to our less than desireable meal tried to go smooth over the problem and figure out how to do this next time and came back with no better resolution but brought a bill for 40-some-odd Euros!! We finished 'joe', licked our wounds, touched every roll on the table so they could not be reused since we paid for them and with our tails limp walked to the car in the most rain we have seen since we arrived to make the treck to Amsterdam. We got a little more chipper! No problem! We'll eat in Amsterdam!!
We piled in the car and were off. The drive is about 1.5 hours so basicly accross Houston, no problem, we'll be there in no time! The rain slowed us down some but what really took it's toll is when we were almost to the parking garage where we were going to catch the train and my husband said, 'just take the next exit..'. Somewhere my brain vetod his comment and I went straight. I told him that didn't look like what we did last time. That was all until we passed under the overpass and I saw the stadium to our left! OOPS!! sorry love! I figure no biggy, I apologized to all, we'll just take the next exit and u-turn. As most of you can guess, it never works like that when you are in unfamiluar territory. We ended up taking a 35 minute detour, not senic, just a detour.
We did finally get there, we were able to park and finally get on a city train to Amsterdam Canal district. As typical, our timing couldn't have been better. The weather cleared up within 30 minutes or so of our arrival and we had about an hour to go before we could check into our apartment for the evening.
I had tried to book us a hotel but was too late to find anything decient for a reasonable price and had reserted to B&B (which I were cheaper anyways) and the first one that had something I jumped on! We didn't get the B&B treatement because we didn't stay in their home but rather in an apartment around the corner that they also rented out. This ended up being the best idea because you get to see what at least one or two of these little houses look like on the inside! I didn't get a good picture of the outside (I carry the camera all the time but tend to get caught in the moment and forget to use it) but grabbed a few inside. I would definately recommend these guys. They were very friendly and helpful and the place was well kept. Barangay has 8 thumbs up!!
Here a few pictures of our trip - there will be more on our photo site by the end of today - I'm posting something like 330!!! I need to figure out how to get paid doing this - its a full time job!

our living room

stairs leading to the bedroom. The ones leading up from the street were just as steep!
nice room

the bathroom is typically small with an odd, full length window view of the person bathing
this is how you get to the loft bed (Mark & I slept up here)

it was kind of like sleeping in a tent

this is the view of the loft if you are lying on the blue bed.

Okay, this is getting long! For the rest of the pictures you will have to hit the picture link. I'll work on getting them up and will label them all later.

We had a good time. We just roamed around. We took a night time tour of the Red Light District which I would definately recommend. It was very informative and it makes sure you see the whole district. We went down some allies I know we would never have dared on our own. I wish we would have taken a 2nd one to see what other info. we would have gotten. The next morning we also went to the Anne Frank House and took a canal tour. The Anne Frank House was very well done and organized and a real experience worth the 7.50Euro each I think it cost us. The canal tour was okay but you couldn't really hear or understand all the points of interest and it was hard to see unless you could hang out a window taking pictures, which I did. I guess I would do it again though because it lets you see areas you probably wouldn't cover on foot.
We left the city around 6:30pm on Sunday and were exhausted - I don't know how I got us home, it was a looooonnnng 1.5 hours back.

Anne Frank House


JEGARG said...

We had such a great time! Thanks for letting us enjoy it with you. If we had another credit card, we'd meet you in another country!

Jakulin5 said...

I hear ya!! We'll meet again - next time we'll plan better and take more time!!


ps - if you find another one soon, don't hesitate to call, we have our rooms booked but you could sleep on the floor!! :) love ya

Mom said...

I feel SOOOO STUPID!!! IF I would have thought of it, BEFORE I planned our vacation...we too could have joined you over there. But no didn't think of it before our reservations were all made & paid for! Everyone looks like they are having so much fun!!

SoozieQ said...

I am absolutely, positively LOVING all your pictures! Thank you so much for sharing them with all of us :-)

pack of 2 said...

HEy Jen~
Looks like a great day.
LOL...I would have loved to see the look on your face when the waitress shot you down...HAHA...can't get away with that in the

Did you see dad has been posting pictures of your animals over at his blog? Can you believe he HAS a blog? LOL...who would have ever thought all of you would be it!!!

Thanks for the update...I was wondering how it was all going.

Love you both,


pack of 2 said...

BTW...I like that you went to Anne Frank's house...too awesome!!!


Jakulin5 said...

Mom: I really think you would like most things about this country but you would have a problem going to the bathroom. All public toilets I've used are about 1/2 the size of a broom closet and the door is full size, floor to ceiling!! You would surley freak out!

Soozieq: I'm thrilled someone besides my family is getting enjoyment out of our trip! Thanks for looking in!

Shelly: It was wild, I was so calm & cool & just wanting to figure out what was going on and how we could get some food -- My jaw dropped. I was so stunned!! It ended my side of the conversation - I think she had used that before.
Yeah - he sent me a message. I absolutely love them!! They are way better than the crappy feed I'm getting. I love that he is sitting on the couch just hanging out with them!!
We're doing good, this is a full time job though! Its hard to keep up. I have rolls of films and days that I haven't even tackled yet. Once we start traveling I don't know how much I'll post. I'd rather be seeing the country than literally spend all day typing stuff up.
The Anne Franke House was a must - The Van Gohe Museum got bumped so we could see the house - it was great. You really need about 3 days (well planned)for any destination here.

Love you all, thanks for stopping by


Merle & Vickie said...

It must be wonderfull to see all these places that you would normally only read about. What an opportunity.

I think you would make a fantastic travel writer. Your photo-journalism isn't bad either.

Thanks for all your hard work and don't forget you are on vacation.

Love Dad

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Merle & Vickie said...

Hi to all,

kids are doing fine. Everyone has adapted to there new routine and are patiently awating your return.

I'm working on the yard some. No detectable problems with the house.

Enjoy your real vacation that is coming up soon!

Love Dad

Merle & Vickie said...


Very cute apartment. It does give you a better feel for what there lives are like. I'm seeing a simpler, less consumable society.


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