061207 - Pool time

061207 - Up in the am and in to work with Arno. Fast day and then heading out to a pool hall with some of the guys at work. It was a nice place and we played for about 4 hours. We played one game that was quite fun and the shots that were being made were ridiculous. One fellow, Erik made 4-6 miracle shots in a row. AMAZING and fun time. Back to Amsterdam on the train and then tram to the hotel. Called L and sounds like the work on the roof is almost done. I got to talk to Jack for the first time during this trip, I was glad he finally talked to me as I miss them all terribly.

061206 - Movies

061206 - After the tour we met up with Arno and had a good American meal, McDonalds! It was good but not quite the same. They had a sandwich called a 'McKrocket' it is a deep fried patty filled with chese, sausage and spices... I don't see it coming to America anytime soon. In good Americanstyle we at as we watched a movie 'The Big Leboski' and had lots of good conversation. Spent the night listening to the water and wind on their lake house.

061206 - Batavia

061206 - After the grocery I got the night tour of Lelystad. We stopped by a replica of the old ships that made the Dutch a world power. It took 15 years made all by hand tools and volunteer work. It is HUGE. Next to it they have started a second ship and the construction is amazing.

061206 - Lelystad

061206 - Fast day at work then headed to Lelystad with Gwen. We hit a Grocery store for some snacks and drink. The groceries are quite different with loads of fresh bread, cheese and everything else you can imagine. Another really neat thing is the Christmas trees. As you can see here they are all smaller and they are balled ready for planting after Christmas. This is just one more example of the European mentality of less waste.

061206 - UP TOO EARLY

061206 - Well today it the first day I am taking the tram/train system all the way to work so I was a bit nervous. Thus I got up and was ready in plenty of time. The tram ride I thought would take a half an hour only took about 10 minutes so I was even further ahead of schedule arriving about 1 hour before the train into Almere. So I hung out had a coffee and sandwich and watched the peole moving about. Very interesting how smooth everything runs. Ahndi and Gary showed up and we jumped on a train, not the one we planned to take... They thought they would be able to teach me how to transfer trains... But thankfully the train we jumped on was direct to Almere. After a short walk we are here again at the office ready for another fun and exciting day!!!

061205 - Ice Skating

061205 - After dinner we went ut and walked around the Leidseplein. This time of year they had a skating rink set up in the center for people to use, much like they do at Rockafeller Center in NYC. There we some fols on it but I thought it best I not give it a try and retreated to the hotel.

061205 - Dinner with the Scots

061205 - After making it back to the hotel I got refreshed and then headed up to the Leidseplein to meet Gary and Ahndi for dinner. They being Scotsman needed to find a place to watch the soccer match, so we ended up in a Scotish pub for some VERY dark beer, food and soccer, which I have no clue about... But very good food and conversation.

061205 - Train Ride

061205 - Up in the AM and Niall carried me to work. Didn't have much on the schedule today but for sure kept busy. At the end of the day I went with Ahndi and Gary from Scotland to the Almere Centrum Train Station. They showed me the walking path and how to buy a ticket. We then took the train into Amsterdam where they again showed me how to use the automatic ticket machines to buy a ticket for tomorrow. I then headed out to catch my tram to the hotel. I am getting good at this and it really is an easy way to get around.
Lori talked to my Mom and the report on Grandma Winger is that she is regaining function and speech, but still can not swallow properly...
061204 - Up in the AM another interesting ride to work with Niall... Got there and had meetings and training pretty much all day. The day went very fast. Nial carried me home and I ventured out again to find a resturant and ran across a chinese one where I could get some sweet and sour pork, very dutch eh! But it was good and tehn I went back to the hotel, surfed the internet a bit and tried to catch some good sleep. Funny thing is, nearly everyone I know has called me in the last 1.5 weeks from home in their evening, not realizing I am in Amsterdam and they are waking me up at 1, 2, 3am.... I guess I should be thankful for all the friends ;-)

061203 - Downtown

061203 - Made it back into town through Central Station where I took some time to figure out how the ticket machines work, I think I will try it tomorrow... Then I strolled through the rain, with the hundreds of others to pick up some souvenirs and some new shoes. I went into a shopping plaza and they had a huge Christmas tree. Headed back to the hotel, walked around the area to find some restaurants and a grocery. Hanging out in the room, preparing for the week and to update the blog tonight.

061203 - Leidseplein

061203 - Found my way to the Leidseplein from the park and past a monument on the way. This is a small monument with 2 glass teardrops. It is placed at the site where the Nazi Gestapo use to have a firing squad wall..

061203 - Walking around in the rain

061203 - By the time I got done with breakfast it had started to rain, but I ventured off on foot through Vondel Park heading towards the Leidseplein square.

061203 - Amsterdam Sunrise

061203 - Up early and it looks like a great day in Amsterdam

061202 – Lost

061202 – Well I walked for a long time through shops and streets and all over the place. Then I realized I had no idea where I was. This is a picture of a canal I took while roaming around. I tried to find my way around but in the rain it was no fun. So I jumped on the first tram I saw and took it back to Central Station. There I caught a #2 tram and headed for the Hotel. I got to the hotel and dried off a bit, then back out to meet Arno, Gwen and Niall at an Irish Pub. I was actually able to find it on my own. Arno, Gwen and I then went to a nice place to eat and had some good conversation. Then back on the tram to the hotel and straight to bed!

061202 – Anything you want…

061202 – While shopping I began to realize that you can buy anything you want here. This picture is in a souvenir shop. It is a wall display of bags full of marijuana seeds and other devices to grow and use it…

061202 – Shoes

061202 – Europeans are known for their shoes. They have almost more shoe stores than any other kind and the selection in each store is amazing! This is a wall of shoes, I saw many other stores with these kinds of displays.

061202 – Shopping

061202 – I head out of the Dam and down one of the many streets covered with shops. There are people EVERYWHERE…

061202 – Dam

061202 – From the Red Light District I make my way to the Dam, the city center. Here there are many impressive old building and a WWII monument. It is fun to just walk around this square and listen to the noise of the city and the many different languages being spoken here. People from all over the world are taking pictures and enjoying this city. This is a picture of the Royal Palace.

061202 – Bull Dog

061202 – One other amazing thing about the red light district is the legality of drugs. This is a shot of one of the famous ‘Coffee Shops’ in the area. Yes you can get coffee in these shops but any kind of drug you want is on the menu as well…

061202 – Red Light District 2

061202 – While heading out of the red light area I snapped this photo. The odd angle is because I had to act like I was talking on the phone. Photos are strictly forbidden in this area and they will take your camera or phone if they think you are taking pictures of the ladies…

061202 – Red Light District

061202 – Headed into the Red Light District for some pics during the day light. It looks very much like every other part of Amsterdam, with families walking around etc. But while I was taking this picture a man offered me cocaine, which is legal in this section of the town. All with a couple of police officers only meters away… If you look down this canal you will notice red lights over some of the windows and doors. Those red lights signify that there are ladies, of ever shape, size and color waiting for their next customer…

061202 – Heading out

061202 – This is the Central Station from the main road, Damark, leading towards the city center, the Dam.

061202 – Central Station

061202 – Jumped on a tram outside the hotel and rode it all the way in to Central Station. This is a HUGE place with trains coming and going all the time. I walked around a bit to check the place out.

061202 – Super Friends in Amsterdam

061202 – Up and getting ready for a big day in Amsterdam. I have my buddies that Howdy and Jack sent along to protect me on this rainy day.

061201 – End the night

061201 - This is Tom and Niall checking out a place to have a drink. We stopped in for a minute and got out of there just as fast. We found an Irish Pub and hung out until about 3:30am… then caught a cab back to the hotel.

061201 - Full Day...

061201 – Up in the am had another day of training. Had a very productive meeting with Niall and Arno. Leaving work with Niall and we almost got hit head-on by a driver that entered the wrong side of the roadway, pretty scary… We followed Tom to his flat and checked it out. I love how they make use of every inch of their space. They had a very efficient kitchen and I took pictures of it to show L for remodeling ideas. Niall then dropped Tom and me off at my hotel. I dropped my bag and we headed for the Leidseplein. Niall met us there in a bit and we had a nice dinner. Then we struck off on foot, past the Royal Palace and into the Red Light District… I was very afraid these guys may pull some stunt there with the obvious American tourist they had with them. But they didn’t and we had a good time walking around. It is truly an amazing place… I snapped a cautions photo as cameras are not aloud and they will come after your camera if they see you…