A Travellerspoint blog

Planes trains and canals....

Getting there...
As we woke Thursday morning I was conscious of what clothes I decided to wear as I realized these would be my only options for the next two days. We had about a 7 hour flight to Amsterdam, a 15hr layover there to explore, another 8 hour flight to Nairobi and then since we wanted out of Kenya early due to some uneasy news we had been getting from there we were taking a shuttle for 5 hours straight to Arusha in Tanzania....sheesh! But first we had a two hour car ride with my mom to JFK airport. She is the best and we are truly thankful for her bravery and time put in as our airport shuttle service xoxoxo. As we waited in the airport we decided to indulge in a beer and burger at Shake Shack and it was there that my heart sank as we saw across the news on a tv about the Malaysian airliner full of tourists and civilians leaving Amsterdam was shot down over Ukraine. I have no words only sadness in hearing this. Even as I try to write now I am still in a bit of shock trying to process such a thing. Trying to keep my already heightened nerves calm during this journey would prove to be a bumpy ongoing process and my stomach was taking the brunt of it the whole way.

Moving on because that is what you do. So I totally underestimated and forgot about time differences when it came to our physical body time clock on this journey. In my mind and on paper it seemed awesome. Sleep a little on the plane and then have all day to walk around stretch our legs and then sleep some more on the way to Africa. Only problem is our bodies thought it was 11:00 p.m. when we landed at 6:00 a.m. Amsterdam time...ha! But whatever we can sleep more later....

So first we headed to the trains where I got us a round trip ticket to central station and back for the day. No problem except of course that when we walked down to the platform all the trains that come every 15 min were all on hold because of a fire or smoke in one of the tunnels. Sound familiar patco and NYC transit people :-)
Luckily it wasn't too long of a wait for us and we were finally on our way.

Now I had been to Amsterdam before for a couple of days but it was over 10 years ago. I was prepared with 9:00 tickets to the Van Gogh museum but no map on how to exactly get there..ha!
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It was early in the morning and the streets were quiet so wandering around the city using city posted maps was confusing since we couldn't come close to pronouncing half the street names but the walk itself was actually quite lovely and peaceful.
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We made our way to Museumplein - Amsterdam's Most Convenient Park dominated by an expanse of grass bordered by the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum and Stedelijk Museum (currently under renovation and located behind Centraal Station).

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When we finally arrived at the Van Gogh Museum we were some of the first ones there which was great and didn't have to wait in any huge lines which formed very quickly soon after. The museum was completely renovated since my last visit. Our visit was truly inspiring and educational! We saw paintings neither of us had seen before, learned historical information we did not know and Thom felt that for him it was a very important part of his life - VERY inspiring!!! An amazing man, a gifted artist- much can be found from this one man's story.

So our bodies beginning to fade from standing and time differences we made our way to a "coffee shop" recommended from a friend. Chilled out over some milkshakes and then off again. We walked through most of the neighborhoods seeing Dam square (which disappointingly they had what looked like a beach volleyball tournament set up in the middle of???. Bleachers surrounding a center court of sand???). We took a stroll through the red light district although it is pretty quiet during the day. We walked through busy crowded shopping areas...

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...markets and passed hostels busy with young travelers ready to party their brains out for their whole stay. Not being my scene in general we headed more towards the quieter side of town just outside of where Anne Frank's house was and sat at a table under an umbrella near a canal set by a lovely cafe.
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OMG we were soooooooo tired and worn down already. To make it short we split a lovely sandwich and eventually wondered up past all the boat houses and eventually back to central station and the airport. We were sweating and tired and honestly done for the day. We were running on two- three hours of sleep. I did manage to get in some poffertjes - mini fluffy Dutch pancakes with powdered sugar, before we left.

Posted by Kelly Rose 05:09 Archived in Netherlands Tagged amsterdam

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Comments

Can't wait to read more! You guys were our first thoughts when we heard about the Malaysia flight. Very glad you're both safe and sound!

by Dave

Terrific! You are amazing...Kelly, you could be a newscaster or commentator for any organization and win over the masses. What delightful tales you tell. Can't but help feeling that I am the fly on the wall, or the bug in the bonnet, and taking part in all that transpires throughout your journey. Sadly the news does put a cloud over your travels, but as you say you move on for that is what has to be done. I would imagine your flight over to Amsterdam was a pleasant one and you certainly have enjoyed all aspects of the city. Good for you with the inter-travel you manage no matter where you go. There isn't much you miss. Thom, your heart must still be beating in a rhythm of wonder having been through the VanGoh Museum. The power of God given talent must have been overwhelming for you. And Vincent himself would have loved to be a co-hort with you in sharing the creations of the day. You are now in Africa I know and I hope it is all that you would have wanted it to be, but have a sneaky suspicion that it will prove to be just that and more. Enjoy and keep us apprised of the exciting sights and sounds of one mystical, magical arena. We love you and pray for health and safety as you travel. God has blessed.

by Mom and Dad McLaughlin

So love your narration of your trips! Jason and Laura arrived there as you were leaving. This is a small world! Enjoy and please keep blogging!

by Trudy Lockspeiser

Glad you're enjoying your travels! A little anxiety is normal....it's going to be a great adventure so take a deep breath and relax. Love the pictures...can't wait for more.

by Aunt Lori

Looks and sounds amazing. The colors in the pictures are so vibrant! Still can't believe you are a world away with just two flights on a plane! Thanks for the posts. Have fun!

by Chris

Looks like something from a movie / postcard. Great pictures so far looking for more as your trip goes on. Stay say and of course enjoy your adventure together. We'll stayed tuned for more of your blogs.

by Craig Petitdemange

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