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Trip Journal, Amsterdam

November 19, 2016
This was our fourth time in the Netherlands, and our third time in Amsterdam, so we didn’t make this a long stay.  Just kind of a leaping off point for our first week of vacation hopping from city to city.

We stayed with a great host from AirBnB, sharing his beautiful appartment on the west side with him and his funny cat, Fritz.
We really only had the one day in Amsterdam, since Thursday was functionally a travel day all day.  We left Chicago at 11PM after a two hour delay due to us not having a pilot (which was announced just prior to our scheduled 8:30 boarding time).  For the first time, we weren’t able to get an upgrade to business class due to United’s new upgrade list vastly deprioritizing people using miles if they don’t also have status.  It was fine, I’m not one to complain, but I do find it interesting that I get more comfortable seating on a domestic Southwest Airlines flight than I do on a transcontinental United flight.  I’ll have to try a different airline next year – Virgin looks promising.
Due to our delay, we would miss our self-booked connecting flight on British Airways from London to Amsterdam.  A few phone calls and I was able to rebook us on a later flight, which we made with plenty of time to spare.  However, in the end, instead of arriving at our Amsterdam apartment between 2 and 3PM as expected, we instead rolled in around 6.  So a quick stop down the road for supper, a nice chat with our AirBNB host, and we were done for the day and in bed by 9.
The weather necessitated us finding indoor things to do.  First up, a nice brunch near the apartment, then we hopped the tram to visit the Heineken Experience.  Yes, it’s big tourist trap, but I’ve done pretty much every major brewery tour you can do, so why should this be any different?  As far as brewery tours go, it isn’t one.  It’s more akin to the Guinnes Storehouse tour – a tour that has simulated brewery elements, goes over the history of the company, and includes a tasting.  You’re not touring a brewing facility, you’ve visiting a Heineken museum.  That said, it was fine.  Anything that ends with a tasty beer at the end is going to be just fine by me.
Once that was done, we rode across town to the Brewery ‘t IJ, a small craft brewery next to an old windmill.  This tour was recommended by our AirBNB host, and I thought it would make a nice contrast to the big Heineken dog and pony show.  Once the bar opened, we plopped down at their bar, bought our tour tickets, and started sampling their beers (all very good).  The actual tour was just like every other small craft brewery tour I’ve done – a brewery employee standing in front of the brewhouse, giving a history of the brewery, an explanation of how to make beer, and details about their process.  Exactly what I expected.  One interesting thing about this particular brewery is that they use the same yeast for every one of their beers.  They brew a “plisener style” beer calls Plzn that’s made with this yeast (an ale yeast), the same one they use for all their Belgian style beers as well.  It’s interesting – there’s a common taste across their beers due to this.
Following the tour, we made our way back to the city center and walked around for a while, before heading back to the part of town we were staying for some dinner.  After dinner, we adjourned to the apartment and spent the rest of the evening chatting with our host.  It was a great day.
Today, we’re on the train to Cologne.

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