53 Audrey Avenue, Oyster Bay, NY 11771  •  Phone: 516.922.4700

My friend, an experienced traveler and recently retired educator just keeps on checking off destinations on his bucket list....so many intriguing experiences in his blog! It's really easy to book transfers, hotels (from 2-4*) and sightseeing in and out of the city limits using Travel Bound!

 I am here in the beautiful and quaint city of canals (those DAM canals), cannabis, and sexual curiosity.  And at my age, I am DAM curious!!! But the DAM canals, the DAM cannabis and even that DAM sex are not the point of this DAM note.  After two days here in this DAM city, I am impressed with the  pace of life.  The hustle and bustle of a New York or a Paris is not here.  The energy in the streets is different, DAM different.  People are more relaxed, more calm and more satisfied with a slower pace.

  The only time you see people rush is to avoid the DAM trams at the intersections or the DAM cars that ride on sidewalks (since they can't drive in those DAM canals).  But even that is tamed by those  traffic lights that say "don't even think of crossing this street until the light turns green". DAM bicycles out number cars, house boats are all docked on the sides of those DAM canals, and coffee shops sell everything except DAM caffeine.

                                                                                           Rembrandt Monument

 Last evening, around 9 p.m., I sat on a  bench and watched three young men play bocce on an outdoor court outside a DAM outdoor restaurant.  The only  Dutch word I recognized the entire time I was watching the game was "f---". I was confused as to why this game would start as the sunset was nearly complete.  But the DAM sun fooled me.  It was dusk for another hour and a half. The bocce balls were distinguishable by color for each player.  These were young men in their middle 20's (I remember those DAM days) and they approached the game with civility and fun.  But it wasn't the players with whom I was impressed.  It was with the total relaxation I had in watching that  game which lasted over an hour.  I caught the AmsterDAM rush, or should I say - the lack of that DAM rush.  I was caught up in a different DAM world for an hour. and walked away refreshed and ready for bed. Life around the world is different, DAM different.  Each place has its own DAM signature.

.But like signatures, these are personal and individual.  AmsterDAM has its signature, Marrakesh  has its, Hong Kong has its own DAM signature.  But New York has its too.  And one that meets the needs and wants of the people who live there.  Never to judge who has the best signature - always remembering to admire and appreciate the  penmanship of the other DAM guy.  This is the result of traveling and of living in a city that has as many signatures as the DAM world. Tomorrow I venture out of the city to the countryside.  I will experience more - DAM more.  My world will grow.

There is more to Amsterdam than......  than a real dam and the river Amstel. There are some curiosities about this city. For example, no matter where you start to walk - from your hotel, from a department store, even from one of those coffee houses, if you walk for about one to two hours, you always, yes ALWAYS wind up back from where you started. And it doesn't matter in which direction you travel. I can't explain it. It just happens. If you don't walk to the side on sidewalks, you will definitely be killed by a car or a bike. Cars run on the sidewalks because they can't swim in those canals. I can't explain it. It just happens. But then again, in New York, we park in a driveway and drive on the parkways. I can't explain it. It just happens

. If you go to a nice restaurant, be prepared to spend the night. Service is leisurely and polite. It takes three hours at least to go from appetizer to coffee and if you want desert, add another hour. I can't explain it. It just happens. The country is called The Netherlands, locally known as Holland and the people are Dutch. I can't explain it. It just happens. Amsterdam is unique, and like I said in my previous note, has its own signature.
Venture out of the city to Delft or Haarlem and it is the same. Two beautiful cities only one hour out of Amsterdam for Delft and less for Haarlem (and to get to Haarlem from Delft, you have to pass through Heemstaed). Harlem and Hempstead right here in Holland. I can't explain it. It just is

. But this is the beauty of Holland. The cities visited and the towns yet to be visited - all part of the history of the city in which I live. The Royal Palace in Amsterdam has a large marble impression of the world (embedded on the floor) - as it existed in the 17th century and there we are - New Amsterdam. And within that town is Wal Staat, Broeklyn, Bushwick, and the Hudson. And within those are Schermerhorn, Nostraand, Flaatbush, Styvesant and Paedergat.

And within those are the people who make up New York City, many not even aware of their roots right here in Holland. This is our city's ancestral home, not England. We fought a war to be free of England. We can never be free of the Dutch experience. Just take the "A" train and look at the names of the stations. I am actually here in the arms of a warm and loving grandmother. Her name is Holland. The people of this country admire us, love our freedoms and yet question our attitudes about many things - questions that need dialogue both here with our cousins as it does back home with our brothers and sisters.
When you come to Holland you see a microcosm of a mindset that encourages tolerance, patience and understanding.

Of course, I do not have the privilege of seeing below the surface - the day-to-day stresses and conflicts each Dutch Person experiences by the everyday routine of his or her personal and professional life. But i do see something we, the ancestors of this culture, can carry with us. I can't explain it. But let it happen.
I hope you enjoyed my notes from the Mother Country. Thanks for reading. . Peace my friends. And as we travel throughout our lives, may it transform us into better people, more civilized and understanding as possible with a self-fulfillment that we can experience for the remainder of our lives.