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canal cruising

We had a fantastic 48 hours in Amsterdam – the first stop on our whirlwind European tour – despite doing very little actual sightseeing. The primary goal for our jaunt through the Low Countries was to catch up with friends and eat and drink well, and we accomplished both aims in spades during our brief stay.

Due to a slight airline snafu that had prevented D from paying for the ticket he had booked, we wound up taking separate flights from Kigali. S took the “direct” KLM flight through Entebbe with Junebug while D and Munchkin flew through Nairobi.

Munchkin appears to have been the only one who got any sleep, so our first day in the Netherlands was a bit of a struggle. We wound up spending most of it at Westergasfabriek, Amsterdam’s rehabilitated gas works, which S had discovered on her previous visit to the city. Munchkin let off some steam at the petting zoo and “wild” playground while the highlight for us were the gin & mussels at the eponymous eatery.

Our visit coincided with the first pleasant weekend of the year, apparently, and our host ensured that we took full advantage of the nice weather by arranging a canal tour. Many of the cities we wound up visiting over the subsequent two weeks offered boat tours, but none quite like the one we did in Amsterdam. We booked a low-speed motorboat for two hours, which D got to pilot around the canals with a beer in hand while our friend did the navigating. Intimate and decadently enjoyable, this excursion was so pleasant that the crowded guided canal tours immediately lost their appeal.

In addition to our wonderful host, whom we hadn’t seen in nearly five years, we also caught up with S’s former exchange student, whom S has succeeded in roping into her last few visits to the continent.

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