Subject: Amsterdam in April
Hello!

I live in Amsterdam, but I just moved here last July so I have not experienced April myself. I am greatly looking forward to the flower market season!

There is a lot to do in and around Amsterdam. Others have already mentionedvisits to nearby towns &cities (it's all nearby - The Netherlands is very compact) like Den Haag, Delft, Utrect, Leiden, all of which are easily & quickly accessible by train. There will also be many half day - full day guided bus tours. Just enquire at the tourist office (located in the Centraal Station or on Leidestraat near Leidesplein).

I would add the Paleis Het Loo in the town of Apeldoorn, about a 1-1.5 hour train ride from Amsterdam Centraal Station. The palace was built in the 17th century as a summer hunting lodge for the Stadholders (head of state, The Netherlands did not have a monarchy then) and was then owned by the royal family. It is called the Versailles of The Netherlands for its architectural simalarities and great beauty. I visited over the Christmas holidays and it snowed!!! (The first time in 3 years!) Big, fluffy flakes blanket the courtyards &gardens - it truly was a winter wonderland. I am also planning another trip for the Spring when the flowers are in bloom. http://www.hetloo.nl/

Also, regarding canal boat tour. It is a touristy, but still recommended. It's a great way to get oriented and see the architecture. Normal ones are about 1 hour long. I highly, highly recommend the evening wine &cheese boat trip. The wine &cheese themselves are not that great, but the night view is not to be missed! The tour is about 2 hours, you see more, get a personal guide rather than a tape recording, and there is a stop at a typical brown cafe (not to be confused with a coffeehouse, which generally due not sell coffee. Coffeehouses are where one goes for pot or magic mushrooms).

A few words about the weather. Expect rain. All the time. I highly recommend a rain jacket with a hood or a separate rain hat. Or, if it is warm enough, just get wet. Umbrellas are annoying &too much trouble. Only tourists use them and then quickly discard them. (Trash cans are often full of them).

If you have any other questions I'll be glad to help if I can. Enjoy!

Erina Amsterdam, The Netherlands