WE MADE IT! Our flight left Seattle 15 minutes after scheduled take off, as the weather meant we would arrive too early in Amsterdam (must have been tail winds) and we were still here a bit early. The pilot just slowly cruised from the North Sea to Schiphol airport to use up a bit more time. Wonderful friends Caro and Rob (and 4 legged friend, Paco) met us at our easy, and early morning arrival. After a quick (and very typical Dutch) coffee, we headed to their home in the Hague. We are enjoying their hospitality in their very spacious, urban apartment - new to them. After a brief rest, we headed out for a walk. Along a nearby shopping street, we headed into the Haagse Bos. This is an 'off-leash' park and the dog thought he was in heaven. We wandered past one of Queen Beatrix's palaces and she was at home. However she did not invite us in for tea.
Today dawned bright and clear (although the clouds have returned - very Seattle-like). We enjoyed a relaxing breakfast and took the tram into the center of the city. At the tram stop we were 'greeted' by a Draaiorgel (caliope) - memories of a bicycle trip through Haarlem. We walked through the Passage, an exquisite shopping arcade dating from 1884. On our walk through Binnenhof,we noticed increased security [compared to the U.S. it was nothing more than some well- dressed men with cords running from their ears] Apparently there was a meeting of some members of the Dutch cabinet (government). A few press were there, as were we, along with one policeman sitting in his car. Various cabinet ministers arrived, including Wouter Bos, Deputy Prime Minister.Of course a coffee stop with appelgebak (apple pie with whipped cream) was required. More walking, enjoying the spring flowers and marvelous architecture and then it was time for lunch. We are doing a few things beyond eating, but you know how vacation time is. After lunch it was more walking, including the Queen's working palace at Noordeinde, just down the road from a quaint hofje of perhaps 6 apartments.
We did a bit of a hunt searching for a 1/4 inch foot for Caroline's Pfaff sewing machine, but the only store we could find didn't have any. Alas! On the tram ride home, I didn't manage to 'hop up' quickly enough and so I missed the stop. Lucky for me, it did stop again in about 4 or 5 blocks and I just added to my walking total for today. Helps to work off all those delightful calories. Oh how much I like this charming country.