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4 women in Amsterdam and Paris -- lovin' life

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4 women in Amsterdam and Paris -- lovin' life

Old Aug 22nd, 2009, 07:21 AM
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4 women in Amsterdam and Paris -- lovin' life

Four women taking Amsterdam and Paris by storm--that was how I described it to friends before we left. And that’s pretty much how it turned out.

We saw more fabulous sights in a little over a week than even I--whirlwind planner that I am--had imagined possible: the Anne Frank House, Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, Red Light District, Louvre, d'Orsay, l'Orangerie, Cluny, Carnavalet, Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Rodin Museum, Napolean’s Tomb, Sainte Chapelle, Notre Dame, Sacre Coeur, etc.

My key takeaway, though, is that the MasterCard commercials have it right: it was the time spent with family and friends that was priceless. My fondest memories will be lunch with my daughter at “her” sandwich shop from her semester in Paris, dinner our last evening on a corner in Montmarte with my daughter, sister, and friend, the ferris wheel ride with my daughter next to the Louvre, and our evening singing “Que Sera Sera” and other old-time American favorites with locals in a Red Light District bar in Amsterdam.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. This trip started as an idea for a week in Amsterdam with my sister, Kathye. When a friend, Shirl, asked if she could join us, I decided to invite my daughter, Julie (28), and make it a foursome. We added Paris to the itinerary, booked our airfare, and the trip was a go.

Before I delve into the details, I want to thank all of you who contributed to our itinerary and my wardrobe plans (two pants one capris was the decision) before we left. Fodorites are the the best! (Here, by the way, is the link to my photos: http://kbutler1122.zenfolio.com/f59544591
but I plan to insert links to individual pictures or groups of pictures as I mention them.)

By a stroke of luck, we all ended up on the same flight to Amsterdam, although we came from all over the country--me from Baltimore, my daughter from Berkeley, and my sis and Shirl from Denver. Delta had the best deal for all of us, and we met in Cincinnati. Julie had tight connections in both Salt Lake and Cincy, and my connection was tight in the latter, so we all decided to take only carry-on luggage. As it was, if the Cincinnati flight hadn’t been late, I wouldn’t have made it because we were an hour late getting out of Baltimore (luggage issues). There were smiles and hugs all around when we met up at the gate--we were on our way!

The flight was fine. The food was pretty bad, but we ended up in two rows, one behind the other, with no one in the middle seat--giving us a little extra room to stretch out. The seats had individual TV screens. We arrived safe and sound, with only one stretch of turbulence in the middle of the night (I hate turbulence!).

The Amsterdam airport is easy to negotiate. Directions are in English as well as Dutch. ATMs are handy. We got some Euros and headed for the train into town (4.20E). Coming out of the train station seemed a little daunting--we were tired, it was crowded, trams were coming regularly on multiple tracks, and we didn't know how to use them (more later on that--they're easy). We decided to walk. Our hotel was only about 20 minutes, and the walk gave us a great introduction to the city. We strolled down a bustling main street with shopping and restaurants and crowds of people, turned left at Dam Square toward Jordaan -- and there it was, Hotel Nadia, just before Westerkerk (church). We were all glad we'd packed light.

The stairs to the lobby were daunting! I’d never seen anything quite like them. We ended up loving this place - the rates were reasonable, the people were nice, the location was good, and our quad room was clean and cheery, with a great view of Westerkerk. (The first 10 photos show what I’ve described so far:
http://kbutler1122.zenfolio.com/p989...4d218#h194d218 - click on the photo in the upper right corner to move forward or use your right arrow key.)

We decided to settle in and take a nap before venturing out...

And I’ll leave it at that for now and continue later. Please let me know if you have questions.
Karen
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Old Aug 22nd, 2009, 07:35 AM
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I'm planning a similar trip next spring. Looking forward to your report!
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Old Aug 22nd, 2009, 07:44 AM
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I have stayed at the Nadia 2 times. Its a great place.
I loved your Amsterdam pics and cant wait to hear more.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2009, 07:46 AM
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I forgot to say that I cried when I saw the stairs at the Nadia. I paid a man to carry them to our room.
We were 54 steps up and friends were 72. !!!
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Old Aug 22nd, 2009, 08:19 AM
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My daughter has somewhat of a phobia of stairs and I was worried about her, but she managed fine. The hotel offered to take our stuff up/down. From the lobby, we were one additional floor up. What blew us away was how steep the stairs were! And each step was narrower than the length of your foot (and I don't have big feet)! We got used to it, though, but that first sight - I know what you mean - I didn't cry, but felt a little like it!
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Old Aug 25th, 2009, 03:36 AM
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Looking forward to more of the report. I enjoyed your pictures. Thanks for sharing.
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Old Aug 25th, 2009, 03:56 AM
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Looking forward to the rest of your report. I'll be travelling to Amsterdam and Paris in October with my husband and a friend, and we'll be staying at the Hotel Nadia, also.

Robyn
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Old Aug 25th, 2009, 09:24 AM
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My husband and I are going to Amsterdam and Paris in October also, so really enjoying this and looking forward to more. It will be our first trip to Amsterdam and our third to Paris.

kay
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