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  • Writer's pictureAngela Louie and Allan de la Plante

First Stop, Amsterdam

After what seemed an eternity in the air, we arrived in Amsterdam ready for an adventure. It started on the taxi ride to pick up the RV we had rented for our stay in Europe. Some of the roads looked just wide enough for one car. There were broken lines on each side of the road. I thought this was to mark where the car was supposed to drive. Wrong. The single-laned road was meant for a car to go each way. Each car had to squeeze to the edge of the road to let an opposing car by, all this at speed. The broken lines were bike lanes for each direction. If you didn’t have to avoid the oncoming traffic, you needed to be between the broken lines to get around the bikes. And if that weren’t enough, Allan was re-acclimatizing himself to a manual transmission. He stalled our rig right in front of an oncoming bike. Yikes!

The Metro or commuter train to Old Amsterdam was an easy 5-minute walk from our campground. When we got off the train in center town and up on the surface, my first bucket list item was right in front of the Metro stop. I was finally at Stephen and Penelope’s yarn shop! Tick.

Old Amsterdam is so cool.

Lots of pedestrians and bicycles. Narrow streets. Few cars. So many canals.

We walked for about 5 hours that first day. We must have seen a dozen Argentinian steak houses.

What we didn’t see were grocery stores. What was hard to find: toothpaste. What I didn’t want to leave without doing: an open boat canal tour.

The extra surprises which also turned out to be highlights were finding a funky little bar to hang out in and having a round of drinks with a young watch dealer from the UK. We also ended up chatting with a young Scottish couple on the last day of their vacation at an intimate little Italian restaurant. Intimate as the tables were only 2 inches apart!

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