Years ago when we took a trip from Chicago to Rome, our airplane had a stopover in Amsterdam, Holland. We found out the plane was going to be in Amsterdam for about three hours. Fortunately, a friend of mine had told me that I should bring just a few dollars in local money that could be used in Amsterdam.
When the plane landed, we immediately left the airport and went and boarded a bus. We were not familiar with the city and we did not speak the language. When we boarded the bus I produced my Guilders, and we went to sit down. There was an American couple behind us who pulled out a dollar bill and the driver wouldn’t accept it. But this other couple said they thought we looked like we knew where we were going so they followed us. So I pulled out some more guilders and paid for their bus fare.
Our strategy was this. We did not know anything about Amsterdam except that we were going to spend some time looking. We thought we would go on the bus and travel until almost half the time was used up and then board a return bus back to the airport.
The bus took us to downtown Amsterdam in about 15 minutes. So we quickly walked through a portion of the downtown section, stopped at a bank and got a little more money to be used in Holland, and then looked at a canal boat. We carefully asked the tour director how long the tour was. He said it was exactly one hour and not more, and not less. We decided if we were going to be back in one hour, we were going to take the trip. So we paid our fare, got onto the canal boat, and took this one-hour tour of downtown Amsterdam. This can be done by anybody who wants to take a little adventurous trip in a strange city.
It was fascinating. We saw many of the unique homes in the area, including Anne Frank’s home. We passed under many bridges and enjoyed the multilingual descriptions by the boat captain. At the end of one hour we were back in our dock. We left the boat, went back to the our bus line, and caught a bus to return to the airport. The bus took us back to the airport in about 20 minutes. The moral of the story is this. Even if you’re only going to be in a strange city for a short time. you should arrive with some of the local currency.
When we arrived at the airport. We saw many of our fellow passengers standing around looking out the window and waiting for the time to go so they could we board the airplane. We did not see all of Amsterdam, but we certainly got a taste of it in just three hours.
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