Now it’s time to cross the big puddle and we save up all our Alaska Air miles and splurge for First Class.  It’s actually called Business Class on Delta, but to me it will always be First Class.  My feet can’t even touch the chair in front of me!  But an old lady sitting right across the aisle puts on a full bottle of Old Lady Cologne and the whole section stinks to high heaven.  In fact, she stunk so bad, we gave up our precious seats and asked for Second Class–the flight attendents found us two more Business Class seats far from this Old Lady Cologne.  From then on, it’s smooth sailing (or flying as the case may be):  Filet Mignon, a nice California Red and my Sony noise-cancelling earphones belting out Beethoven’s Opus 111–his last and best piano sonata.  And we’re flying to Amsterdam.  Life is grand!


In Amsterdam, we stay with a Norwegian named Arne who puts us up for three days–a very nice guy but he is a Norwegian after all.  He shows us around the canals and lends us his two bicycles.  We’ll stay with Arne when we return in April as we didn’t scratch the surface there.


We discover Maison Erard, a vintage piano shop specializing in Erard Pianos.  They are straight strung (all strings parallel) and boast a pure resonance–very sweet to play and in spite of their 200+ years old, they are quite responsive.  The owner, Fritz Janmaat, offers us a glass of white wine and I almost buy another piano.


Fritz is considered one of the leading experts on French pianos.


It’s back on our bicycles to explore Amsterdam.  And while this is the best therapy for my recently broken leg, my behind sure aches from this bike seat.


We train over to Karlstadt where our friend Udo lives.  After two nights we jump in his BMW and the four of us visit Sud Tirol……stay tuned.


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