Today was our day to move living locations within the city. By mid-morning we had packed our luggage from the hotel near the airport and we were moved to our condo in the main section of the city.
When we arrived to the Central train station, we simply got on the metro train that was immediately outside the building. In the rear car of each metro trolley is a tiny ticket office and you pay your fare there in euros. We bought a multiple day pass, which allowed us access to the entire city public transportation system. It's great to walk around in this beautiful city, but you never know if it's going to start raining or just get tired of walking. The pass is also useful in order to get around quickly and see many of the interesting historical sites.
We quickly located and reached our condo. It was in the Jordaan neighborhood of the city (west side). It's mainly a quaint residential area with some small businesses in between. We had a small canal outside our doorway. Our condo was on the second floor. It was modern, spacious, clean and fully equipped. It had large windows facing the street and we kept them open all the time to enjoy the charming outside canal and tree view.
There are many colorful amber trees along the canal and being that it was the Fall season you could see the leaves changing into the brown and red colors. It's quite picturesque to see the leaves on the trees and spread in the canal and over the small boats. It's moments like these that I wish I had the talent of drawing and painting scenery. I would have definitely painted this charming view.
The primary sounds you hear just outside are the occasional bicyclist passing by and ringing their bike bells.
We learned that it rains throughout the year in the Netherlands. The highest temperature in the country is in July when it reaches 72 degrees. It stays just above freezing temperatures through the winter months. They receive two hours less sunlight, as compared to Southern California, during the winter months. The Netherlands is on the south side of the North Sea and thus receives the flow of cold chilled winds. The city of Amsterdam is inland, so it's a bit warmer than the coast city of Rotterdam, where we have to travel to in order to board and begin our cruise ship in a couple of days.
We started to look closely at the residences and notice that some of the building in the area were crooked. Yes, we had had some wine but not that much! They seemed to either leaned sideways or forward. Apparently it's because there is no firm ground. The city was actually built on reclaimed swampland and the canals still keep the water levels under control. Understandably, these buildings require constant inspection, reconstruction and maintenance. In spite of their age, they are very well maintained. One can see that the residents love their city.
Our traveling partners, Rosemary and Jesus, and we, took off our well-worn walking shoes, sat down to relax and enjoy the ambiance. We opened another bottle of wine and we sat around reflecting on our travels to date.
Our two-bedroom condo included free Internet connection so we spent a few minutes checking with family back home. It seemed that everything was fine, so the rest of the day we just sat back, converse and enjoyed each other's company.
We have traveled a great deal with our friends but this was the first time we were sharing the living space.
Before going to bed, we made our plans to visit multiple historical sites in other portions of the city. We wanted to enjoy our last day here.