Andrew and Donna's Road to the World Cup

Friday, June 16, 2006

Wednesday, June 14, 2006: Country #11

Note: Donna wrote this entry

Today we went to the last of eleven countries, Holland. We had one of our earliest starts (none competing with the 3:30 am start to Scotland) leaving around 5:30 am. We settled in for a four hour train ride from Hannover to Amsterdam and tried to catch a little nap on the train. During the few moments we were awake, I tried to find out if Andrew was excited about going to Amsterdam, but finally decided he was way too tired for that kind of emotion.

We arrived just before 11 and headed for the tourist information area to buy our I AMSTERDAM cards which got us into all the museums for free and provided free public transportation. There were many other advantages to the card, we just never made use of them. We were unable to check the weather before we left and were woefully unprepared for cold and rain. Andrew didn’t even have a long-sleeved shirt with him.

We made a plan for the day: 1) Find food. 2) See stuff. 3) Get a long-sleeved shirt for Andrew.

We decided to tackle the food situation first, because it seemed the easiest and gave us time to figure out what we wanted to see. I had brought a Top 10 Amsterdam book which we used to circle the places we needed to go and to chart our way.

Our first stop after lunch was Oude Kerk, the cities oldest monument and parish church built in the 14th century. The Oude Kerk happens also to be smack dab in the Red Light District. Andrew wondered why on earth I would drag him into the Red Light District after hearing the story of Emily and I racing through after being dropped off late at night when we were here in 2000. I explained that we were there at night when it is pretty scary (to me, that is) and that during the day it wouldn’t be as bad, plus some of Amsterdam’s best sites to see were in the RLD. I also think that you have to see it once in order to have an informed opinion on the area. Andrew’s opinion was that it was quite sad and that he didn’t like it. Even in the day there were prostitutes in the window’s and men smoking pot in the coffee shops. It smelled like urine, especially while taking pictures of the Oude Kerk. That was mainly due to a guy taking a piss on the street about 5 feet from where we were standing.

We continued through the RLD to see Waalse Kerk, which was founded in 1409 and was all that was left of the convent of St. Paul. We had a little trouble finding it since I had no idea what we were looking for, but after finding the exact address in the book we found it, took a picture, and got out of dodge (dodge being the Red Light District of course).

Next we headed toward Dam Square, and Andrew asked that I kindly stop swearing. He is a clever guy, isn’t he? In “Darn” Square, Koninklijk Paleis (town hall), Nieuwe Kerk (church), national monument, and many other tourist attractions are located. Andrew was in charge of taking pictures and was not interested in a picture of the large pole in the center of the square until I explained it was a national monument dedicated to the Dutch soldiers who lost their lives in WWII. He took a picture, but asked how many died. The book doesn’t have that answer, so I don’t know. I guess we should look it up.


After “Darn” Square, we headed to the Bloemenmarkt, a large floating flower market. Andrew contends that it is not indeed floating just because it is on pilings on the water. I still think it is neat. We got some pretty shots of the flowers and bought some tulips to plant at our new house next spring.

We finally tackled #3 on our list of things to do for the day and found Andrew a much needed long-sleeved shirt. Most of the tourist shops sold shirts with pot-leaves, and sayings that were not really that appropriate, so we had found it difficult to find anything. Also, they mostly only sold t-shirts, or sweatshirts; neither were on our list.

By this point in the day the rain had settled in and we headed for the museums so that we could be indoors. We went to the Rijksmuseum where we saw a lot of historical art from Amsterdam’s past including the famous “The Night Watch.” Then we headed for the Van Gogh Museum. I think it was around this point that Andrew and I both realized that neither of us were huge “art people” and wondered why we had gone to all of these art galleries and museums throughout Europe. I clearly don’t have a great appreciation, but I did think a lot of it was neat to see. Seeing the multitudes of portraits and the like, I decided it was really just the photography of the time.

Unfortunately due to some trouble with direction, bad weather, cranky attitudes, and time constraints we never made it to the Anne Frank House. This is twice I haven’t made it. I was sad not to make it, but now we have an excuse to have to come back.

We got back into Hannover shortly before 1 am and had to call a taxi for a ride to our hotel. Andrew still had some work to take care of on the computer and didn’t make it to bed until after 3 am. I don’t know if either of us was looking forward to heading out in the morning for Berlin, but like Bon Jovi says, “We can sleep when we’re dead.”

Andrew 1:21 PM

3 Comments:

What's up, Drew and Donna. I am not sure when y'all are coming back, but I am sure that I am the last to leave a message here. Yeah, I have no real excuse other than being wicked busy. Taking the asst. principal gig was a little more than I expected. Teaching at the same time doesn't help much either though. Anyway, I have to say that I am very jealous that you got to see a world cup game, but not if it was the one that the US got spanked. Horrible. I am hoping that they pull something out of their collective behinds to have a good showing tomorrow against Italy. From the site it looks like y'all are having a good time and doing seeing a ton of stuff. That's awesome. I am really looking forward to catching up with both of you at Bill and Kristen's wedding. Andrew, I am sure you heard by now about Bill's bachelor camping weekend. It was a good time, wish you could have been there. We will have to make up for it at mine. Well, I hope the rest of your trip goes well and it is safe. You're in my prayers. Take care.

Paul
I tried to resist commenting on this blog thing-but the soccer widow entry just cracked me up! What a testimony to the beauty of marriage you two are! It's like watching "He Says, She Says"-a movie that you are probably too young to remember. Anyway, lovin' the blog-missin' the authors ;)
-Lisa
thanks paul - you are not the last...my mom hasn't "had the time" either

:-)

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