Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Our European Journey 2014 - Amsterdam - Oct. 2nd

Amsterdam – Oct. 2, 2014
We arrived in Amsterdam around noon, jet lagged and exhausted, to find our hotel room would not be available until two.  As often as I have traveled to Europe, you’d think I would have booked for early arrival or even have paid for the night before.  I don’t sleep on planes and I don’t manage exhaustion well.  Further, I wasn’t too happy about the general look of the hotel.  I thought it wasn’t perhaps the best of neighborhoods until J pointed out that our next door neighbor was the palace, the official residence of the Dutch Royal Family.

Amsterdam Royal Palace (photo courtesy of VirtualTourist.com)
We sat at an outdoor cafĂ©, breathing in cigarette smoke from neighboring tables and exhaust fumes from passing cars and listening to the clanking of trolleys, while watching in disbelief the hordes of cyclists passing by, until the desk clerk took pity on us and showed us to our room.  It was worth the wait.  Rarely have I had as well appointed or comfortable a room.  There were good mattresses and down pillows.  No sound of street noise seeped through to us.  There was a lovely bathroom with a walk-in shower.  

We fell into our beds.  J slept but I was too hyped up to sleep.  Three hours later we went out in search of food.  We had a satisfactory if not memorable meal and decided to take a walk around historic Dam Square in front of our hotel.  We shouldn’t have.

We had been warned about the cyclists before we left home.  But nothing had prepared us for what happened.  We were crossing the street.  A car was parked on the curb, and there appeared to be nothing coming.  

The rest I know only because I was told later.  What I felt was something like a brick wall
Bicycles of Amsterdam
hitting me and finding myself flat out on the street with no knowledge of how I got there, unable to move and with a terrible pain in my head.  J said she had been knocked down also, but she was standing by the time I focused on her.  She had a bad nose bleed but she was up and moving.  A passing doctor was at my side almost immediately and an ambulance was called.  Somewhere along the way someone told me it had been a cyclist who hit us, traveling fast, and not seeing us until too late.  He had swerved around the parked car.  The young man was contrite and apologetic and said he was “in deep trouble”.

I remember someone asking if I could get up and answering “not possibly”.  Then I remember two huge horses with their police riders, blocking the street around me to keep me from getting run over.  And I think I kept saying over and over “My head hurts, my head hurts”.

The ambulance arrived and two paramedics took over.  They loaded me into the ambulance and put J into the front seat and proceeded to kindly and efficiently assess our conditions. 
The consensus was that I should be taken to the hospital for a CT scan.  The ambulance stopped by the hotel so J could pick up our documents.

If the treatment I received is anything to go by, the Dutch medical system is very good indeed.  Within the next two hours I was seen by the emergency room doctor, who turned me over to a neurologist who examined me and arranged for the CT scan, and then saw me to discuss his findings.  I had a large area of external swelling on my scalp, but apparently no damage to the skull and no internal bleeding.  With a warning not to fly for a week we were discharged around midnight.

The whole event from start to finish took only four hours.  Of course, the recovery is taking much longer.  I’m still suffering from headaches.  We are both bruised and battered.  But we are soldiering on, relieved that the diagnoses weren’t worse, and that we can still travel.
Every member of the hotel staff asked us how we were during the next two days.  The word had spread quickly.

But if you want to know more about Amsterdam than just about its medical system, you will have to wait until we return there on November second.  All I can tell you now is to beware of the cyclists.  They own the road.

Following are my own published novels. Go to my Goodreads page, to find more details about my books, and all the reviews of books that I have read.  
To purchase one of my books, just click on the book cover below and select the vendor of your choice.

COMING SOON!  Romantic Road, is a romantic thriller set in Europe.  It is due for release in late 2014 by Wild Rose Press!  Stay tuned.

Romantic Road ~ Takes you on a chase across Europe with our heroine who finds herself in a series of precarious situations.  She encounters a handsome stranger, but is he helping her, or is he dangerous?  This story has hair raising suspense, romance and a sprinkling of humour


The Memory of Roses, Blair McDowell
 • The Memory of Roses ~ The story of a secret and how it impacts two generations of the McQuaid family.  It unfolds on the beautiful Greek Island of Corfu and is a tale complete with beautiful and passionate women, handsome and fiery men, and an intriguing mystery.

"The Memory of Roses by Blair McDowell is simply an incredibly lovely story. It’s also a love story, and a story about finding yourself, and about closure. The theme running through the book is “all’s well that ends well.”  --  Marlene, Reading Reality

Delighting In Your Company, Blair McDowell
 • Delighting In Your Company ~ Delighting In Your Company is a paranormal romance set on an exotic Caribbean island, featuring a handsome ghost and an adventurous heroine who travels back in time to solve a mystery!

"Delighting In Your Company is a unique paranormal romance that brings together island folklore, history, and mystery with an unlikely romance between the past and present that had me going through a torrent of emotions and made it impossible to put down." -- The Romance Reviews

Sonata, Blair McDowell
 • Sonata ~ Sayuri McAllister has just arrived home to Vancouver to find that a robbery has taken place at her family home, and it is being investigated by her old flame.  She also has a new stepmother with a charming brother who is intent on bedding and wedding the rich and beautiful Sayuri. It’s a confusing and difficult time for Sayuri, especially when dangerous accidents happen to her father and herself – or are they accidents?

“I found Sonata to be a charming novel that left me laughing out loud in parts and gnawing nails in others. It was a delight to read.” – Night Owl Reviews


Abigail's Christmas, Blair McDowell
 • Abigail's Christmas (short story) ~ An enchanting tale of love and romance, with a magical touch of fantasy.
"Abigail’s Christmas is a sweet and special story that honors both love and the holidays."  -- Sizzling Hot Books  

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Blair McDowell