Then yesterday evening I met the rest of the tour group at our first meeting. I nice bunch of people, just like the last ones. (Rick Steves tourists tend to be mostly like that, I think.) They include several couples (including a cute young pair about to get married, and their moms) and a few singles of all age ranges, 21 people in all. We immediately went out for a brief guided tour by a local, who gave us great info on the local architecture & history, along with some good jokes. Then we had a great dinner together at--of all places--an Indonesian restaurant! (We were a bit surprised but it was very good.) Afterwards some of us went to one of the many pubs around the square and tried a few Belgian beers (better than the Dutch ones). Yes, I had recovered enough to to a bit of tasting (in the name of international relations, of course).
Next morning my little travel alarm didn't go off and I nearly missed the group's guided trip into Amsterdam where we first went to the Anne Frank house (very moving), explored a bit, had lunch in a V&D food emporium, a quick look at the Rembrandts of the Rijksmuseum (their National Gallery), and a brief rest stop at a cafe before taking a canal cruise. The sun came out by then and it was very pretty.
Then we all went back and split up to have dinner in small groups, including 3 girls, my roommate Larry and me. (Turns out Larry snores like a buzz saw and, to help me out, is getting his own room from now on so I can get some sleep-- rather decent of the chap, I think.)
Then I had a last late-night gelato and a chat at a cafe in front of the cathedral with one of the girls. The square was almost empty and it was very quiet; not a bad way to start the tour.
Anyway tomorrow we finally board out tourbus and head into Germany for the historic town of Bacharach (google it). See you there!