July 14

Today was an incredibly wonderful one.  We were up and out early for the 2.5 hour drive to Amstleveen, a small town outside Amsterdam. We found a little house for rent on Air BNB in this adorable village along the Amstel river, complete with cows and horses and old Dutch windmills.  We arrived and put our bags in the house and the drove the car to the nearby tram stop.  We caught tram 5 into the center of Amsterdam.  Katha was a wonderful minister of food for the trip and had a Mary Poppins like bag, seemingly bottomless, of rolls with salami and homemade blueberry muffins.  We ate our way through the city and did not stop for meal.  We just wandered around (careful to avoid certain...districts) for nearly five hours.  
Amsterdam is just gorgeous.  I mean, once you learn to look down quickly when you pass a sex shop and once you get used to the secondhand smoke, it's really just incredible.  The buildings have been so well preserved and lazy delta fingers flow through the city, crowded with colorful houseboats. We especially loved the residential areas where adorable little Dutch ladies sat on their front stoops drinking tea and watching the passers by which included my endlessly friendly Eden and all her hellos.  

And the bicycles. Thousands of them maneuver thought the city. Literallythere is more bike traffic than car. And they're mostly these cool vintage looking bikes with big baskets on the font full of produce or breads or children.  I had several occasions whereby I waited a minute or two to cross the street be use of bike traffic.  

We finally landed at a little cafe for refreshments, which was delightful. After another hour of meandering, we caught the tram back to Amstleveen and had dinner outside at a little restaurant which sat on a courtyard. Hardy chased the kids around while Katha and I talked about the week and our hopes for future visits. When we finally arrived back at the village and by the time we had the kids down it was 8:30.

Tomorrow is the big day.  The day when my darling halfrican touches her first bit of The Continent.