Well, no trouble getting on the WI-FI at our hotel in Amsterdam (Die Port van Cleve) which is located quite nicely near the center of all the action. Our adventure actually started yesterday with 17 of us leaving by bus from RBG at 1:30 pm to head to O'Hare for a 6 pm departure. We met five others at the terminal that drove independently to O'Hare and we all boarded the eight hour direct flight to Amsterdam. With the six hour time difference (the Netherlands are six hours ahead), we arrived at 10 am their time and met Marianne (our Dutch tour guide) and Ron (our bus driver) and took a nice tour of Amsterdam prior to spending some time at other destinations. We streched our legs and walked thru a floating plant market that sold a wide range of plants, seeds, bulbs, knick knacks, etc. It was amazing in scale and the two images below give a taste of that experience. While it was supposed to be rainy all day, we had sunshine and highs still below 50 degrees F. It was certainly interesting to see such a strong "flower prescence" everywhere (retail and fresly cut). We did quite a bit of touring by bus today and kudos to Ron (our driver) for competing with all the bikes, walkers, vehicles, etc. It is certainly a bike friendly city but having said this, we were told to be wary of walking in front of any bikes as pedestrians don't really have the right of way. We had a couple close calls and I think our group of 25 has learned to look both ways. Included below are just a couple of the many canal shots that I took today and it is such a nice setting with so much great architecture and history as well. It was also interesting to see all of the house boats as well. Our Dutch guide, Marianne, is very knowledgeable and gave us plenty of history today as well. Aside from the flower market, our only other horticultural stop was at Hortus Botanicus. This is one of the oldest botanic gardens in the world (over 300 years old) and has over 4,000 varieties of plants out in the gardens proper and in the greenhouses and conservatories. I had a nice chat with their head gardener and we were able to spend a good hour there or so. I took many pictures (as seen below) and the group seemed to enjoy the visit as well. Although small at 2.5 acres, this garden packs a punch with sheer variety. Below are just some of the many highlights we saw today. Further down, note the checkered fritillary (Fritillaria meleagris) and the severe pollarding of that london plantree.