9/11 ARRIVAL IN AMSTERDAM

         I slept in a bit as I had been up until 2 am uploading Photos from the Tour and packing.  I lugged my suitcase out the door and walked to the Gray Line stop where they graciously allowed me to leave my bags while I grabbed a snack next door for the trip.  I browsed a few souvenir shops but saw nothing I’d buy and assumed I would be able to do that at the airport.  

      I returned, picked up my bags (he who packs lightest, travels furthest) and managed a front row seat with leg room.  Noel boarded shortly after and sat with me again.  He struck up a conversation with a lady behind us that was from Minneapolis, recently married, heavy Norwegian accent, and when on about her jerk of a husband who was seated on the other side by himself.  They were on their honeymoon and had been fighting for the last week.  Noel is a great conversationalist and a gentle kind person.  He travels a lot also but usually short trips alone and stays at Youth Hostels.  Now he is returning to London they on to Galway to visit his parents.  

      His flight left earlier than mine so shortly after arriving at the airport we said goodbye and I got my boarding pass, checked my bag, got a bite to eat and boarded my plane to Amsterdam.  

      I watched a documentary called ASH that was about the last major volcanic eruption that spewed ash for weeks and the people that had farms nearby.  Interesting stories how it took a year to clean the ash and restart their lives…some for the better and others lost all.
      We arrived in Amsterdam on time but my Chipkaart, that is used for travel in Holland , I bought a couple years ago, needed more money added on it before I could use it again.

 I recharged it and hopped the train for RAI station near where I was staying with Peter and Jeannette.  I exited the first and wrong stop but rather than wait for the next train I exited and took a 10 minute taxi ride to arrive at the front door on time.  
     Peter was waiting up to greet me with stories of Jeannette’s fall and her ending up in a convalescent home.  She had emailed me with the news but didn’t explain all.  She had a hip operation a year ago and was recently taking pain medicine for an infection that developed recently in her hip that was NOT healing and had broke the skin.  She then fell one evening and Peter could see she broke her leg with the bone sticking out.  He called the ambulance but they in turn called the fire department to carry her down the stairs and into the ambulance.  When she had X Rays at the hospital the Doctor reported the bad news.  She had broke her leg in two places, a bone in her ankle and on the other side…she broke her knee.  

     Peter drove us to the home she was now at in the city of Hilversum, a rich village about 1/2 hour away, where Holland Public Television has it’s broadcasting headquarters.  The home was posh and her room and bath private and well equipped to handle an invalid in a wheelchair with both legs in casts.  Jeannette was in good spirits and as a nurse herself, realized she faced many months of recuperation and therapy.

 Still there was the infection which was on the back burner now and being treated with antibiotics.  Her room was on the second floor with an open balcony to the gardens below.  This was a really lovely place to be and much better than any hospital could provide.  10 patients and 5 staff that I counted.  Not all the patients were like her.  Some mobile and walked on and off the grounds on there own.  Older with dementia but good medical insurance!  

       We visited a while before the staff assisted her to the bathroom then the wheelchair and down the lift into the garden where Peter and I joined her for some fresh air and a walk.  Peter handled the wheel chair and I directed the cars away from us while we took the backstreets around the mansions.  

       It looked like Beverly Hills movie star home.  Her home, the Benventa was built around 1910 and is all Art Deco stain glass, chandeliers, staircases, bay windows, sun rooms, inlaid wooden flooring, bronze wall and lamps, fireplaces, window seats, gardens, etc etc etc.  The architect was a famous Dutchman…Basel something or other. 
     We were headed downhill but when we turned to head back the front wheels didn’t reverse and when Peter tried pushing it, he tilted Jeannette off balance and forward so her outstretched legs almost hit the pavement.  It was stressful for her and for Peter.  We finally managed to get it right but the uphill climb was difficult for Peter to push , so it was done in short intervals until we returned to the garden.  

      There we relaxed with a glass of wine and some Hummus I purchased before we left for a snack while waiting for dinner to be served.  Peter and Jeannette smoke so choose to have our dinner served outside rather than in one of the private or group dining rooms.  I left my coat to be laundered with the rest of my clothes and were to pick them up that afternoon so was freezing though it was 65%.  Then a pleasant surprise, Sanna, Jeannette’s daughter arrived by train.  She got off work late so left her bike at the Central Station and took the train and Taxi to the house.      

We exchanged greeting and she, another smoker, joined us.  Shortly after we were served a Chicken Curry and rice with Salad followed by a fruit parfait and accompanied by another bottle of Sauvignon Blanc from Chile.  This is where I want to convalesce if I get sick.  It was after 7 pm when we declined coffee and bid goodbye.  They preparing for a classical piano concert in the parlour that evening when we bid Jeannette goodbye and Peter drove us home.  
     Sanna took the Tram back to Central Station and invited me to join her family Sunday near there home on the West side of Amsterdam.   Peter and I watched a bit of National Geographic story of WW I before retiring.  

          He rose early to go to his cottage and garden just outside of Amsterdam where he spent the morning checking his Hothouse Cacti and outdoor garden.  I slept until 10 am, picked up my laundry and had breakfast with fresh OJ and cappuccino at the nearby neighborhood cafe run by an Egyptian couple. Now I will sign out…and head for the Greenhouse Coffee shop to get some Hashish and Mulligan’s Irish Pub to see Miriam the owner and have a Pint at Happy hour.  It is Saturday so it will be crowded with the entertainment tonight.  I’ll check the venue for the week and pick an evening to return and hear the Irish Music.
        

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