Nancy, Hannah and I have successfully and uneventfully made it to Amsterdam.

Nancy’s birthday was celebrated, dogs dropped off at the kennel, dinner cooked and cleaned up passport check, and off we went whizzing down US-12 to Detroit Metro Airport. We were 2.5 hours early expecting lines to check in and lines to clear security, and nothing. 15 minutes later we were waiting at the gate to board our bird to fly over the “pond” to start our adventure on Place Making. The whole point of this adventure is to learn all we can about the international movement called Place Making

The whole point of this adventure is to learn all we can about the international movement called Place Making an annual conference: https://www.placemakingweek.org

In hopes that we can bring the ideas and success stories back to Clinton for adaptation and incorporation into to Rural Midwest village of Clinton, Michigan through the Clinton Arts Center.

Flight time from DTW to AMS was 7 hours. Arrival was smooth and flawless. We cleared immigration with no problems. I was asked what I was going to do in Amsterdam, I replied Drink beer and spend money. Which way to October fest? I was informed I was not only in the wrong country but a week late. But they let me in any way. We grabbed our bags and went through the “nothing to declare door” and were on our way to the Meeting Point – follow the signs to the train ticketing wickets and we can’t miss it: https://www.schiphol.nl/en/facilities/meeting-point/

They were right – we did not miss it.

Our driver was waiting for us with his S class Mercedes Benz. He was shocked and made no bones about informing us that we had too much luggage. Three women, three carry on bags, and three modest sized suite cases for two weeks abroad. I, from my American vantage point, thought modest. Our Driver did not. We did get three women, three carry on bags, and three modest sized suite cases and one driver into the S class Mercedes Benz and started our 30 second drive to Prinsengracht 604, Amsterdam, Netherlands. My goal is to learn to say the name of the street before the end of our trip.

The view from the living room of our AirBNB:

The view out the back of our AirBNB:

After being introduced to our Amsterdam home, we learned that “start” and “stop” are the same in English and Dutch, clothes dryers have condensers like dehumidifiers that need to be emptied regularly, trash goes out on Tuesday and Thursday nights, and no shouting indoors because the neighbors can hear it.

Feeling in command of our home life, Hannah and I sent out on foot to explore our new neighborhood, find some lunch and lay in provisions for breakfast. Nancy did the tourist thing and took a nap.

I am fortunate to have my personal Scandinavian interpreter with me: Hannah. She spent 5 months in Copenhagen, and thus knows many of the customs observed here in Amsterdam. First she made sure I did not walk up the middle of the street:

I was on a sidewalk – no – this street is shared by cars, bicycles and pedestrians alike. Bicycles outnumber cars about 30 to 1.

 

Everyone rides. There are cars, mopeds, and motorcycles, and pedestrians, however, bicycles have the right of way, then pedestrians, then last but not least, motorized vehicles. I am very pleasantly surprised how to quiet downtown Amsterdam is. Bicycles everywhere.

Cars have their own personality here:

Hannah also saved me from falling into someone’s front door:

More later. We are heading out to find more essentials: a pharmacy, pancakes, and dinner.