Believe it or not, this time it was Mike’s idea to do an active trip. He decided that we needed a birthday trip and suggested that a Bike and Barge vacation might be just what the doctor ordered. (Pun intended). Basically, a bike and barge is where the “hotel” is a barge that follows the group as they ride bikes to the next stop. We’ve thought about doing one in the past, but it never seemed to work out until now. The only one I could find that was available during this week was a trip from Amsterdam, Netherlands to Bruges, Belgium.
The trip officially started on Saturday, so we decided to fly on Thursday night and spend Friday sightseeing in Amsterdam and adjusting to the time change. Everyone probably knows by now that something “interesting” seems to always happen when we travel…and this trip was no different.
On Thursday we rolled up to the airport at 3:30 for our 5:30 flight only to notice as we were dropping off our checked luggage at the ticket counter that our flight had been delayed until almost 7:00. Uh oh! …so I asked the agent what we should do because that delay would very likely cause us to miss our connection in Detroit –or even if we made it, our bags probably wouldn’t. Right away she said, “Oh, yes. You won’t make it. I’ll put you in a taxi to Detroit.” WHAT? Yep, she marched us right over to the taxi stand and arranged for a ride to Detroit. Just as she was doing that another couple were tossed in with us. It seemed to take forever to get to Detroit. Sometimes when we depart out of O’Hare, the taxi to the runway takes forever – so long, in fact, that we often joke with each other that the plane is simply driving to wherever our destination is instead of flying. In the cab, I leaned over to Mike and said – “This time, we’re really taxi-ing all the way to Detroit!”
After arriving in Detroit, we were back on track and the rest of the trip to Amsterdam went fairly smoothly.In the Amsterdam airport, we had to find the train station and buy tickets to the central station in Amsterdam. In the past, I’ve usually just gone straight to the actual ticket window at train stations because trying to use the ticket kiosks in Europe seems to be an extreme challenge for me. I said to myself –“Really, how hard can it be? Just follow the directions”. I so wanted to be a savvy international traveler by managing to make that darned kiosk spit out a ticket for me…but alas…it wasn’t meant to be. We followed each and every step, but it took a disliking to the credit card and refused to cooperate. Mike said, “Ticket window, now.” and we made the walk of shame. Our train to Amsterdam Central was uneventful other than Mike wowing the various onlookers with his feat of strength by bench-pressing our suitcases up into the overhead rack. Nevermind the fact that they were carrying what appeared to be child-sized suitcases and were probably quietly snickering at the Americans who had to pack everything they owned -and the kitchen sink- for only a week away.
We got lucky and our room was ready when we got there – always a blessing after being up past our Eastern Standard Time bedtimes. We also got lucky a second time because we were given a room with a view!
We settled into the room and regrouped for a short time before heading out for a walking tour of Amsterdam.
(Up next: A walking tour of Amsterdam)