We're skimming over the 28th because there aren't many photos.
That is the day we all traveled to Amsterdam. We ended up on different trains (though I would have been in crap class and Chris and Pat in first class even if we were on the same train so it didn't matter too much)
I was going earlier and headed to the station in a taxi because I don't like to get lost. We left from the Gare du Nord (North Station) on one of those high speed trains. I was in a set of facing seats at the end. The 2 across from me were a mother and daughter and beside me (I had the window) was a girl who was part of a family of five who had the set of seats across the aisle. Everyone was very pleasant and the woman across the way even let me text from her mobile when it turned out that the virgin mobile phone I'd gotten was shite as they say in Scotland. It did not work once we left France. Nice. I won't be going with virgin again.
Anyway, I needed to contact the owner of the apartment since it seemed that once we got to Belgium the high speed direct train turned into the slow speed milk run. Something about there being new tracks and their train not able to run on them. You know, they probably knew that when we all paid for our tickets but nothing could be done about it anyway.
The scenery along the way was lovely!
I get to amsterdam 2 hours LATE and didn't know if anyone was still waiting to let me into the apartment. It took me about another half hour to get a call through as the phones didn't take coins...the pay phones. Only special proprietary cards. I finally found one that would take a credit card for international calls and ended up having to call the US and bounce off an exchange there and back to Amsterdam to a place about 15 blocks from where I was standing. It was expensive but I learned an important lesson...don't get a virgin mobile phone. I got there and Jan, a friend of the owner, Hans was waiting for me (oh, and my taxi driver spoke about 8 languages! cool). Jan was very nice. Approximately 7 feet tall and blond and middle aged. I was pretty wiped out and just checked in and learned the ropes (how to work the key and what not...more complicated than you'd think as there wer 3 locked doors between me and the outside world).
The apartment was EXCELLENT.
Given that I was so late and I knew that Chris and Pat couldn't call me, what with the shite phone, I walked over to their lovely hotel and had the desk call. No answer. I walked around a bit and tried again. THEN they say "Oh, they haven't checked in yet"...well, that would explain why they didn't answer the room phone. So, I left a note that I was there and they could try me or we'd meet in the morning in their lobby at 9am.
I asked where I could get food. No real answer from the receptionist. It had been too long since I ate and I was grubby. I figured C & P's train must have also turned into the milk run and I figured by the time they got in, we'd all be shot. At least I would. So I walked around and headed back to my apartment. Turns out there was a little organic grocery store across the canal from me so I grabbed some foodage and went up to my apartment.
I made some potato soup (from potatoes and an onion) and enjoyed some lovely fresh bread and salad and tea and chocolate and washed my hair.
Never did see C&P but possibly was washing mjy hair when they came by.
SO on the 29th, we hooked up at their place. A very nice hotel. Hotel Pulitzer.
We got together, had some breakfast and headed out to see the sites.
Pat gave me the stroopwafels that were in his room...very nice. They are two thin waffles (very thin) stuck together with sugar syrup. Very sweet. I brought some home for gifts too. All mooched from Chris and Pat's hotel room
We did the houseboat museum, some shopping, some touring around and of course some eating. The food in Amsterdam is as amazing as the scenery.