The Dutch have a word - and philosophy called "gezellig" (heh-ZEL-ick) - it actually refers more to an environment that allows for good times to happen, but it also refers to the general thought of 'take your time to enjoy life'. The Dutch are known as extremely hard working, but their social time is equally as important. When work ends, work ends. Meals are meant to last for hours. Waitresses do not bring a check unless asked. Its a foreign concept to Americans.
So while the thought started on the way to the Anne Frank house (which was closed), it intensified as I walked around the neighborhood looking at the taverns and restaurants, looking for someplace to eat. I found myself in "Lieve", a Belgian restaurant having a long and amazing meal, and it all crystallized for me. Gezellig was a message for me. I'm rushing this trip and not enjoying it - at least that was the case with Amsterdam. This is a rare opportunity to be over here with no hard commitments dictating when I return, and nothing limiting the number of days other than budget. And the airfare was covered from the Olympics gig... I worked hard during the Olympics, this is my time for Gezellig and to make sure this trip is something I have few regrets about.
So its a change of plans. I went back to my room and called Delta to see what the change fees would be. At first, it didn't look good. I was originally flying back on the 13th, she could only get me on the 14th or 23rd. ouch. I hadn't thought about days being a problem, just price, which she said would only be the $100 fee. She asked if I could hold while she checked something else. After a few minutes she came back and asked if I minded holding longer, my ticket was complicated but she was checking on some things. Sure, why would I mind?! In the end, she managed to get me on the day I wanted, and for only a $29 tax to fly through Paris (which she was actually apologetic for!). I extended my stay here in Amsterdam one more night and moved my reservations in Berlin, and added another night in Munich and Rome to my planned itinerary.
I also realized something else during dinner - this blog is not only a narcissistic journal, but it also keeps me from feeling lonely while traveling alone. I tend to average between 50 and 100 hits a day, so someone is reading. For those of you who check regularly or even occasionally, thank you for the company.