Monday, August 13, 2007

Back in Amsterdam, Holland

After a train trip that included a surprise transfer (everyone got off in Köln -- we thought we'd be lucky enough to finish our trip in a private carriage until a helpful passenger explained that our ride wasn't going any further), we arrived in Amsterdam.

Yes, that's Case sitting atop the 'a'.As our trip is beginning to wind down, we've treated ourselves to a stay at the Radisson. This morning, after a very restful sleep (no bugs in the bed) and a sumptuous breakfast buffet, we headed out on the town. Our first stop was the Rabobank (U.S. branches to be named Rob-a-bank? .... They say that in Amsterdam anything goes -- I guess it's true!) And good thing, too, because we were headed to the diamond factory.
Among other things, Amsterdam is known for its diamond trade...
... and there are any number of fine establishments offering free tours of their cutting-and-polishing operation that always seem to end in their showroom.

So here's where Jolene got lucky! While in Italy, one of the tiny diamonds encircling my wedding band had somehow fallen out. (Or maybe Case hocked it to buy more gelatto.) Unfortunate, of course, but it did give us the chance to make a memory by buying a diamond in Amsterdam!

Our salesman gave us a quick and very bored-sounding tour of the cutting-and-polishing operation -- given our well-traveled appearance, I don't suppose he thought we were likely to double his sales figures for the month -- then took us to the showroom. I can't say he perked up much when we showed him the ring and asked for a matching stone. I guess when you're an Amsterdam diamond merchant, 0.03 carats isn't enough to bring out your sparkly personality. But perhaps I do him an injustice; for all I know, it was just that today was the day he chose to switch to de-caf...

In any case, he did a fine job of getting us through the process. This included much examination of the ring and its remaining stones, phoning of the diamond inventory room (connected to the showroom only by pneumatic tube transfer system -- I had visions of an underground vault), and shuttling of the ring to-and-fro to the jeweler .

In the end, I had my ring back polished and complete with all its stones! (That's our salesman on the phone. I think he's calling Starbucks for a venti, quad-shot espresso. Or if he isn't, he should, and then take it IV.)
With that little purchase & repair done, we were off to see the Rijksmuseum, where we view ed works by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Hals, and other Dutch masters. (Sorry, photos weren't allowed, but their web site is very well done.)

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