Tuesday, September 29, 1987
Managed to leave work a little early and found Kent already at home. He had already prepared our salad “appetizer” that we ate. When Pam B came home at 17:00, we asked if she could take us to the 17:30 bus rather than the 18:30, which she did. Kent bought the $17 cash roundtrip tickets on Bonanza to Logan Airport in Boston.
minutes after we stashed our bags under the bus, the driver was ready to leave,
but a last minute passenger ran up. He didn’t have a ticket and was sent inside
to purchase one. The driver circled the building and picked up the passenger on
the other side, where we were able to zip right on I-95. We had a rather
imperial view from our higher level perch on the bus, and could check out
accidents in a glance, and survey the traffic situation a good mile ahead!
There were beginning fall colors and a red sunset. We slowed up in Pawtucket
(no passengers), and stopped in Mansfield, MA where the driver gave a reading
lesson to someone in a “no parking” zone. We arrived at Logan in about an hour,
and after several terminal stops, got off at American Airlines, thanks to Kent
having called Sabena to get more exact information. No line to check in, and
the manager, Mr Charlie Ash, okayed our carry-on luggage and even suggested
that Kent tuck his briefcase in the garment bag to avoid a hassle at the gate.
Kent found out where to get money exchanged, and we caught the free shuttle bus
for route 11 that took us to Terminal E. We got Belgian and Dutch money, and
returned by shuttle to Terminal B. We went through x-ray to Gate 22, where a
tiny jet was leaving for Providence! We did a makeshift cotter pin repair on
the handle of the garment bag, because the button broke from our first repair
A bunch or rather a company,
of Marines watched Jeopardy on the courtesy TV. The waiting room emptied out,
and Kent learned our flight had only 80 passengers. A medical rescue truck met
the plane arriving from Detroit at 20:45.
|Bonanza bus ticket|
|Cotter pin repair|
|Boston to Brussels boarding pass|
Wednesday, September 30, 1987
Kent watched the movie “Malone” in bits between dozing. Breakfast was at 3:00 with a Danish and a roll with butter and preserves, along with orange juice, coffee, or tea. I sewed on my jacket button. We took Sudafed antihistamines in an attempt to clear the middle ear for descent and landing, and did fine as our DC-10 arrived in Brussels 5 minutes early at 4:20, or 9:20 local time. Went directly through customs and didn’t see the Ls waiting at the exit. So we bought second class train tickets into the city for 70 BEF/$1.85, catching the 9:46 train, arriving at Brussel Centraal at 10:05.
|Brussels airport to train station ticket|
|Brussels to Amsterdam train ticket|
It was supposed to be 45 degrees when we arrived in Brussels, but it was comfortable with a jacket or sweater. It was sunny and we saw a man in his backyard without a shirt! We slipped into the Netherlands, no welcoming sign, no customs. There were fields of cows and corn, poplar-lined dykes (low country!), sugar beet harvesting, school kids on bikes and mopeds. “Looks like Ohio!” commented Kent as we passed through flat countryside. A crop of gladiolas, half dark purple. A stork, herons, lace curtains in windows, and working windmills near Leiden. A snack cart went through the train several times. Kent noted young people doing Monty Python routines; a good sense of humor here. We arrived in Amsterdam on time at 14:08. Decided to first find a hotel, and went a little out of the way before finding 135-7 Herengracht where the Hotel Groot was located. Rang a bell and answered a call from upstairs. The proprietor gave us a double room for the night for 90 Netherland Guilders/NLG/$45, and tried to sell us two nights for 75 each.
Filled out forms and took the key after leaving a 10 NLG/$5 deposit.
We went to Room 22 on the 3rd floor, which is the 4th floor in the US. Up
narrow winding stairs with clean linoleum and tile. The room was small with a double
bed and sink, lace curtains across the front windows looking down onto the
canal and street. There were also drapes to draw for the night. The toilet was
down the hall, and the showers were down one floor. Church bells were ringing.
We let ourselves out of the hotel to find a place to eat. Turned up a side
street (Bergstraat) next to the hotel towards the Dam Square, and saw damsels
in their front windows with red lights. So here, too!
|Hotel Groot receipt|
|Catholic Chapel entrance|
|Reflection of the English Reformed Church|
|Artists at the English Reformed Church|
|Begijnhof courtyard (KSS)|
|Cat on the steps|
|Peephole where young women could modestly look out|
|Het Houten Huis/The Wooden House (1420),|
the oldest house in Amsterdam
one of the narrowest houses
Arrived at the round building of DeWaag, built in 1488 as a gate to the old city. Later it was converted into guild offices on the top floors, used 1619-1939. The anatomy lesson of Dr Tulp as painted by Rembrandt took place here, and we found a doorway that proclaimed in Latin: the Anatomy Theater.
|The Anatomy Theater door at DeWaag|
Since 1926 it has housed the Jewish Historical Museum.
|Canal houses and hoisting hooks|
A plaque is dedicated to New Amsterdam (Manhattan, NYC) and a tablet for Hendrick Hudson, as he left from here to eventually “discover” NYC! The building seemed to house a nautical equipment museum.
St Nicholas Church was closed on weekdays, but this is where Rembrandt’s wife, Saskia, now rests, as well as composer Jan Sweelinck. The church was built in 1306, and on the outside it was dark and imposing. It bordered on the Red Light District and we plunged in, seeing the goods on display, as well as seeing drugs being used, from cocaine to marijuana. Kent noticed several bars that had a marijuana leaf symbol in their windows, signifying they had it for sale. Saw lots of black guys running out of an alley, which seemed to mean trouble. We walked around the Oude Kerk/Old Church, built in the 14th century. It was surrounded by red lights, peep show cinemas, tattoo parlors, placing it definitely in the sailors’ district. Such a contrast!
We found our way back to the Dam Square, once a fish market. Noted the National Monument, but couldn’t figure if it was the allegorical statue representing Amsterdam, since there were no seven arches to represent the seven provinces. (N.B. The allegorical figure represents victory and peace, and the seven arches are actually on the façade of the Royal Palace.)
It is a monument to the Dutch victims of World War I, and the plaques on the curved wall were for the twelve urns representing the 11 provinces plus Indonesia. We returned to the hotel, and had already seen many of the 1,001, or 1200, bridges, 50 canals, and innumerable furniture hoisting hooks on the buildings. Kent wanted a drink, so we stopped in the corner café, Ylonda. Kent ordered a coffee to go, and the proprietress checked her surprise and gave us our drinks in plastic cups (I had apple juice), plus she gave us a package of crackers.
|Hotel Groot room|
|Azië restaurant bill|
Next: Amsterdam II.