No worse for the wear…Amsterdam keeps giving and giving…Boarding the cruise today…

Me in front of soldier statues. ” Rembrandtplein (Rembrandt Square) is a major square in central Amsterdam, Netherlands, … It was cast in one piece and it is Amsterdam’s oldest surviving statue in a public space.”  It was a very windy day!

 With many photos from Amsterdam yet to be posted we may save them to share at a future time, perhaps on the cruise on a sea day.  Today, we board the ship.  

Tom, arm-in-arm with the statues.

Checkout time is noon at the Eden Hotel (very nice, canal view) when we’ll arrange a taxi to take us to the passenger cruise terminal, a short distance from here.  We’ll be ready to go.
Diplomatic building with many flags.

Now, at 10:30 am, Tom is streaming a Minnesota Vikings pre-season game with one quarter remaining.  Since we never unpacked, only opening the bags to get out clean clothes and toiletries, it will only take 10 minutes to close the bags and be on our way.

There are 1000 bridges over the canals in Amsterdam.

Last night we had a great meal at Rain Americana Grill, walking distance from the hotel which added to our daily distance up to 3.5 km, 2.2 miles…a lot of walking for me.  But I’m thrilled I was able to do it, however, difficult it may have been and suffer no ill effects today.

Many of the huge estate homes have been converted to offices, apartments, and condos.

Tom needed some American food so we selected this spot. He had a burger and chips while I had a gluten-free, starch-free burrito using lettuce leaves as wraps and it was delicious.  I have been craving Mexican food for some time.   What a treat!

Menu of marijuana and other such products are available for sale to any adults who so desire to partake. We happened to walk down an alley to run into people smoking pot outside at the cafe.  From this site: “Cannabis has been available for recreational use in coffee shops since 1976. Cannabis products are only sold openly in certain local “coffeeshops” and possession of up to 5 grams for personal use is decriminalized, however, the police may still confiscate it, which often happens in car checks near the border.[citation needed] Other types of sales and transportation are not permitted, although the general approach toward cannabis was lenient even before official decriminalization.”

This morning we decided to wait until we board the ship to eat since they have such great options included in our fare.  Until I meet with the maitre’d to review my printed food list, we’ll wing it in the buffet.  There will be plenty of salad bar items that will work for me.  

The small park where this statue of Rembrandt is located is a popular gathering place.

During the day, I’ll drop off the food list and make a special order for tonight’s dinner until they coordinate my restrictions with the chef.  Most likely on this first night, it will be grilled salmon, veggies and Caesar salad (minus the croutons).  Fine with me.

Today’s photos continue from yesterday’s sightseeing along and in the canals of Amsterdam.  Unfortunately, as the boat moved along, I wasn’t able to recall the names of the structures in many of the photos.  

The Sea Palace Chinese Restaurant is located on one of the canals.

Also, I try to “live in the moment” and pay attention to the scenery before me rather than worry about identifying the buildings the next day when I prepare a post.  

And live in the moment we did.  The unique scenery continually enthralled us.  Everywhere one turns, there’s something magical to behold.  We both agreed we’d like to return to the Netherlands at some point and see more of this unusual country with design elements, unique to this country.  

There are approximately 2500 houseboats with permits to dock on the canals.  Utilities are made available for those houseboats.  Illegal boats can’t access city services.

We’d yet to see tulips (wrong time of year), windmills (not in the city) and stores selling wooden shoes, all very touristy but none the less, fun to see.  Yes, sometimes we behave just like tourists delighting in the all too familiar tourist traps and sightseeing expectations.

Various types of mallards paddle in the many canals.

So, off we go folks.  Our next post will be from the ship on a sea day.  We’ll share all the photos and excitement we’ll experience along the way.

Have a pleasing day filled with wonder.

Photo from one year ago today, August 11, 2018:
What a lovely scene on the Crocodile River as seen from Marloth Park.  For more photos, please click here.

Amsterdam doesn’t disappoint…We accomplished more than expected…Challenging but rewarding…Food photos…

We were impressed by the stunning historic architecture on both sides of the canals in Amsterdam.

There’s no doubt I’m struggling to walk.  I am hoping this pain will dissipate as I continue to wean off the awful medications but a part of me is terrified it won’t go away.  It takes everything I have to walk a block, let alone navigate stairs and ramps.  

We wished we could post the identity of all of these amazing highlights but it wasn’t possible as the boat moved along.

My heart doesn’t struggle or so it seems.  It’s just the legs which could be entirely from the statins I stopped a few weeks ago.  Here’s the data on this situation from JAMA and here’s the link to the report:
“Results  The mean (SD) duration of statin therapy before symptom onset was 6.3 (9.8) months. Resolution of muscle pain occurred a mean (SD) of 2.3 (3.0) months after discontinuation of statin therapy. Six patients (13%) were hospitalized for the management of rhabdomyolysis; 2 had reversible renal dysfunction, and 1 with preexisting renal insufficiency subsequently began lifelong dialysis. Hospitalized patients developed myopathy more quickly after initiating statin therapy (1.3 vs 7.1 months; P = .048) and were more likely to be taking concomitant medications known to increase the risk of statin-associated myopathy (P = .03). Thirty-seven patients received another statin after an episode of statin-associated myopathy; 21 (57%) reported recurrent muscle pain, whereas 16 (43%) tolerated other statins without recurrent symptoms.
Conclusions  Patients with statin-associated myopathy experienced full resolution of muscle pain on cessation of statin therapy. Although no deaths occurred, 13% of the patients required hospitalization for rhabdomyolysis. Recurrent muscle pain was common on statin rechallenge.”

The covered canal boat.

The above-highlighted comment about full resolution in 2.3 months makes me very hopeful.  Now, as we begin this big journey in our world travels I do everything I can to stay engaged in our activities and avoid complaining to Tom.

The tour couldn’t have been more enjoyable.

He’s so helpful, guiding me across the uneven pavement, through crosswalks, up hills, and steps. Today was a real test of both of our resolve and determination as we walked almost 3.2 km, 2 miles, on the streets of Amsterdam, reveling in every moment which was a good distraction for me.

What did we see and do?  Firstly, all of my sandals and shoes to wear on the cruise had recently fallen apart.  Plus, the one pair of high wedge sandals I had were a thing of the past and I left them behind in Ireland.  My two pairs of long-wearing black and beige Clark sandals literally crumbled with pieces falling off in the suitcase.  I’d been wearing them for almost seven years!

There’s a large hook hanging from the gables remains in place.  Since most of the buildings in Amsterdam are so narrow, which resulted from a tax base determined by the width of a building, its impossible to get furnishings up the narrow staircases.  Subsequently, these large hooks on the exterior of buildings are used to hoist the items to the appropriate floor.

Knowing we had to find a shoe store within walking distance was a daunting task but I knew to try to walk would be better than taking a taxi forcing us to be out and about seeing a bit of this exquisite city.

Each building has its own unique design.

After a very long walk, of which we stopped for breakfast along the way, we found a few shoe stores and I was able to purchase two pairs of comfortable flat shoes, one a dressy flat black sandal and another, a very comfy pair of Sketchers slip-on shoes.  I was thrilled.  

Surprisingly, the shoes weren’t more expensive than they’d have been in the US.  Everyone talks about how expensive it is here.  Yes, the hotel was twice as much as we usually spend but we had accumulated points to use which softened the blow.

Many elaborate former homes from the 17th and 18th centuries have been converted to governmental and diplomatic structures.  Not this building’s construction year of 1843.

Dining out is comparable to the US from what we’ve seen so far.  Last night we dined in the upscale hotel restaurant, Brasserie Flo which turned out to be rated #720 our of 3736 restaurants in Amsterdam. I loved the food…Tom did not.  He’s not the gourmet kind of guy.  Here are a few photos of our meals.

Tom’s veal and mashed potato dinner.

This morning we had breakfast in a pub we encountered on our walk.  They didn’t make eggs with butter or healthy oils so I ordered a chicken Caesar salad which was excellent.  Tom had a ham and cheese omelet which he said was “just OK.”  

My rack of lamb on a bed of assorted mushrooms was delicious.
Please understand, I am traveling the world with a picky eater but then again, he has to live with all of my peculiar dining options.  We figure it out as we go.  It’s not perfect but we’ve learned to live with these limitations, and now…others.
This seafood platter for two looked appealing but Tom’s not a big fan of most seafood.  It didn’t pay for us to spend Euro $125, US $141 for this for me alone.

After we had breakfast and walked the distance to the shoe stores, on the way back, as we walked along one of the 100 canals in Amsterdam, we spotted a canal boat tour starting in 15 minutes. This was ideal for us.  

As we walked down the narrow street exploring and looking for a shoe store.

We’d hoped to tour the canals today anyway and this avoided us going back to the hotel for more walking, only to find our way back to another tour boat.  It had been raining off and on all morning.  It was sunny when we left the hotel.

The clock tower building.

This particular boat was fully enclosed with big glass windows we could open when the rain stopped.  We were grateful that a few minutes into our tour, the sun came out once again and we were able to take many photos, more than we can ever share here today.  

Ornamental pillars at one of the 1000 bridges in Amsterdam.

More photos will follow in tomorrow’s post which we hope to finish before we head to the ship at noon.  This is all happening so fast!  This time tomorrow afternoon, we’ll be situated in our cabin and hopefully unpacked, ready for the cruise fun to begin.

Have a fantastic Saturday night wherever you may be!

Photo from one year ago today, August 10, 2018:
Tom’s excellent new haircut.  She cut his hair this time as opposed to using the electric clippers.  Cost with a tip?  ZAR 130, US $9.35 (includes tip).  Wow!  I love the beard!  For more photos, please click here.

We’re in Amsterdam…A world apart…Wow!

We’re hoping to go on a canal cruise sometime tomorrow.

This morning, returning the rental car was somewhat of a hassle.  We’d chosen a company, Easirent, based on good pricing for a new car which we did enjoy during the three months in Ireland.  

However, there were two drawbacks, one; it wasn’t conveniently close to the airport, located in an obscure office park and two; they required a huge sum to actually be charged to our credit card for damage possibilities.  

In, our case for three months in Ireland they took Euro 2677.80, US $3000.  I guess they like having free use of our money, especially since we won’t get it back until 20 days from today.  Believe me, we’ll be checking with the online credit card app frequently to ensure it was returned.

It was well worth paying a little more for this view.  Also, we used two free nights we’d accumulated from here on our site.
After considerable effort we finally were able to get the SIM card working on my phone making it possible to find the place.  Once we checked the car in, damage review was done (none) we were on our way to the Dublin Airport in a large shuttle bus provided by the car rental company.

None the less, we arrived at the airport three hours before our flight (Tom, the worried early bird) but found a comfy spot in a restaurant to park ourselves for the wait which is when I began writing this portion of today’s post to be completed once we arrive at our hotel.  


Oh my, oh my, oh my!  We’ve arrived in Amsterdam and we’re in heaven!  What a beautiful city with so much wonder and excitement at every turn.  Our hotel, Eden, is located on the very busy Amstel canal and we have a canal frontage view. 

The photos posted here today are those I took moments ago through the glass of our hotel room window.  I could spend hours looking out at the canal.  But the reality remains, we will only be here 36 hours until we board the cruise, leaving little time for much sightseeing.

If you look closely you can see a person in the left window of this permanent houseboat on the Amstel Canal, as seen from our room.  Check out the owner’s means of transportation.

We’re trying to decide what we’d like to do that will be most fulfilling while we’re here…a canal cruise…a ride on the Hop-On, Hop-Off  Bus or grab a taxi to drive us around the city.

As much as we enjoyed the cruise on the Seine in Paris, perhaps after a day of wandering about the stunning city, a dinner cruise may be in order.  Tonight and tomorrow we’ll pack everything in that we can since on Sunday we’ll be up bright and early to pack and get checked in for the Baltic cruise by noon.

Today was a day including lots of walking although we’d arranged a wheelchair for me.  There was no way I could manage the long walks on the tarmac and in the terminal.

The hour-long flight ended up taking our entire day.  We arrived at Dublin Airport at 10:30 am and arrived at our hotel in Amsterdam at 1750 hours, 5:30 pm, thinking about freshening up to head for happy hour and a nice meal. 

Since I’m too pooped to walk to another restaurant we’ve decided to dine in the hotel’s highly rated French Bistro.  This upscale restaurant is pricey, as is most venues in Amsterdam but the menu looks enticing with many options for each of us.

Last night’s dinner at the Crown Plaza in Dublin was good along with the ambiance.  We’re hoping for as good, if not better experience tonight as we had last night.

Dear Readers, hang onto your chairs…a lot of excitement is on the horizon.

Happy day!


Photo from one year ago today, August 9, 2018:

Little Wart Face, who’s name we later changed to “Little often napped in our garden.  He was so at home with us.  I’ll always miss him.  For more photos, please click here.

On the road again…Dublin, then Amsterdam, here we come!

Goodbye, Ireland.  Thanks for welcoming us and for being so beautiful!

We’d decided to prepare the post after we arrived in Dublin for the night.  This was a good way to keep the morning free to finish last-minute packing, organizing and putting things back in their place in the house.

Most often, when we move into a new property, we move some of the furniture to suit our needs. We make every effort to move everything back to its original location before we leave, which we did this morning.

Eileen, our thoughtful owner, stopped by to say goodbye.  It was a pleasure working with her for the past three months.  Over the years we’ve been fortunate to have been hosted by excellent property owners and managers and, of course, we’ve made every effort to be good guests.

Currently, we’re in Dublin.  On our way, we stopped in Oughterard for Tom’s teeth cleaning appointment.  Previously, we’d made an appointment for me to do the same but decided to wait a little longer prior to having any dental work.

The total 3½ hour drive was seamless using “Maps” using the SIM card on my phone which got us here without a hitch.  Once we arrived in Dublin there were a lot of turns and roundabouts but somehow we never made an error. I often wonder why “she’ll” suddenly say, “Make a U-turn” when we’re on the freeway and there’s no need for a U-turn.  Go figure.

We’d decided to stay overnight in a lower-cost hotel close to the airport, the Holiday Inn Express Dublin.  The rates were reasonable compared to many other nearby options and after seeing our room, we were satisfied with the amenities and cleanliness including free Wi-Fi and breakfast.

This hotel doesn’t serve meals other than the included breakfast.  Next door is a Crown Plaza with a decent restaurant according to reviews online.  The main dining room is being renovated.  We’ll dine in the bar.   Tom walked next door and brought back a menu to ensure there would be suitable options for me. There were a few.  

I’ll have plenty of food options once we board the ship on Sunday.  Their chefs are always accommodating my dietary needs with enthusiast and precise care, often making beautiful meals the other guests at our shared table drool over.  

It will be nice to have someone else doing the cooking for a while.  After 15 months of Tom or I cooking and the three months in Ireland, I’m looking forward to the usual good food and service.

Tomorrow morning, we’ll use the hotel’s shuttle to get to the airport.  At the moment, Tom is dropping off the rental car, hoping to get a ride back to the hotel.  Tonight, we’ll walk to the restaurant next door and although my walking is still sketchy, its a relatively short distance.

How am I feeling?  Tapering off the heart medications is taking its toll on me.  It could be several more weeks until I begin to feel the benefit of being off the dangerous drugs with many side effects, which include being on the drugs and… getting off of them.  

But at least for now, I can keep my head up and eyes open during the day.  I’ve gone several days without a nap and have slept through the past three nights, a major improvement.

Like many of us seniors, a good night’s sleep is an elusive thing.  Six good hours without awakening seems to do wonders. Tom sleeps even less, getting up at the crack of dawn and going to bed late.  I don’t know how he does it.

Well, folks, that’s it for our last post from Ireland.  Tomorrow, late afternoon, we’ll write a short post from Amsterdam.  Our hotel room is situated overlooking the canal.  Photos should be good.

Happy day to all!


Photo from one year ago today, August 8, 2018:

Dad and his offspring posing for a photo we’d taken on a drive in Marloth Park.  For more photos please click here.