For my partner's 50th birthday we went to Italy. For mine, not satisfied with one single country, we toured 3. Our initial plans were to arrive and depart form Brussels. However, each time we searched the Internet for flights the price went up and up and up until it reached unaffordable status. Finally, in desperation, we looked at fares to Amsterdam. Not only did they cost several hundred dollars less, the flights were nonstop. Even though KLM planes are well kept and immaculately clean, riding in the center section of a jumbo jet with your knees and elbows making near constant contact with the people on either side of you is an experience that cannot end soon enough. Flying across half of the U.S. and the whole of the Atlantic takes 7 hours; each way.
We arrive in Amsterdam at the absurd hour of 7a.m. and make our way, via train and taxi to our hotel, a large, venerable canal house. Since our room would not be available for several hours we leave our luggage with the hotel and step out into the early morning streets.