Thursday, 7 May 2009


The third staircase we lugged ourselves and our luggage up and down!

The view from our room!!!

Singel canal

Seven bridges off the Gentleman's canal

Tulip field from the train outside Lieden

I'm back and have had a lovely time.
Amsterdam is a lovely and interesting city.The down side was our appalling accomodation. It was up three flights of the steepest stairs I've ever had to drag a suitcase. It smelt of smoke and cannabis, neither of which Jenny or I had an interest in! The only thing that can be said about the room was the bedding was clean. Jenny, being a well travelled woman in Europe had brought along the travel kettle so when we did have to spend any time in the hell hole we could at least be hydrated there!

On Saturday we were wired to the mains after we got there, and walked miles trying to orientate ourselves. As time went on we slowed down, and went on a jaunt in the morning, lunch somewhere lovely, back for an essential afternoon nap.... well lunch time wine needs sleeping off! Then back out for the late afternoon activity and dinner.

Going back to the hotel then for a disturbed night, as in young stoned men going up and down the stairs till very late, which resulted in my best yelling and swearing at 3.30 Sunday morning. Only then to be reawoken at 7am!!!!! by the builders outside working. They then by the time we'd got our acts together seemingly finished about 9.30 am!!! There was a bread shop three doors down so getting fresh croissants all three days was bliss and set us up for wherever we went to.

The weather was kind to us, except Sunday morning when it poured so meant a 5 euro spend each on a brolly. Which was just as well, as we then had to queue in the rain for 1.30 hours to get in Anne Frank's house. In fact the lovely French couple behind us were just getting drenched so I lent them my brolly and Jenny and I huddled together under hers, as it was a cold morning.

Anne Frank's house is difficult to talk about, it is a sad and profound place. Seeing the preserved pictures that young girl stuck on her wall to cheer the place up. Seeing her actual diary. And knowing that she died in March 1945 of Typhus a few days after her sister in a concentration camp,when liberation was so close.

What was wonderful was the obvious importance to so many people of so many nationalities who were happy to wait for that 1.30 hours, Americans, Germans, French, Chinese, Japanese, Irish and English were just some of the people around.

Other things we did were going on a canal trip, which was amazing when the boat went from the nice safe canals into the 24 km North sea canal, which is a major shipping lane. It allowed us to get a perspective of where Amsterdam is in relation to the sea, not available when you're in the actual city.

We went in the red light district, which to two feminists was tacky, disturbing and sad. We discovered the flower market, which was lovely, and we had to work hard at resisting buying loads of flowers to bring home. We got on a train and went to Delft, the train journey passed through the tulip fieds at Liedon, which was an unexpected bonus. Delft is a really pretty town with a huge central square with cafes all around, for yet another delicious lunch

We were staying just off Dam square and on Monday was the Dutch Rememberance Day, celebrating their liberation by the Americans and Canadians, so we were privileged to witness part of that, but since we needed feeding, we missed the appearance of the Queen with her wreath from the Nation.

We of course did some retail therapy, and OK so I didn't need the purple leather jacket I bought, but it was too beautiful to pass by..... And it so goes with the majority of my clothes!!!

The places we found to eat were great,the food and service were really good. It is a very friendly city, even though the Dutch people can seem a little abrupt in the first instance.

My last observation for now, it there is a Dutch national costume worn by women of a certain age..... leather jacket, white jeans tucked into knee high boots. Very odd so many women were wearing this combination and not a particularly good look unless the arse and legs worked well in tight white jeans.

We've planned next years weekend, it will be a tough one as we are planning on going to Auschwitz, so to counterbalance that we will definitely need a comfortable and well appointed hotel.


Mel said...


Crappy room, withstanding--I WANNA go.

Been to Auschwitz.....very sombering journey.....

lakeviewer said...

I have never been to Amsterdam. Now I want to go, even with your hotel woes. Thanks

Helen said...

Wonderful travel tale ... thank you!

trousers said...

Haven't read the post yet but I've looked at the photos and they're fantastic!

I'll come back and read properly soon - but, a couple of points: don't you just love the fact that you lug your luggage (re first photo) - I love those two words in conjunction with each other.

Secondly (and I'm sure I'll find out the answer when I read it) I hope you didn't spend too much time in certain cafes smoking jazz cigarettes...


Dark Side said...

I do love Amsterdam and pleased to hear you had a wonderful time...what is with Hotel rooms there appear to have been some real dodgy ones around blogland just recently.

Thankfully the one I stayed in in Edinburgh at the weekend was just fine...

Hope Al is on the mend still too?..xx

trousers said...

Just read the post - shame about the hotel, I do recommend earplugs since they do help when people are stomping about on the stairwell etc.

Sounds like you had a fantastic time and did as much as possible in such a short space of time - great stuff! Good to put the emphasis on that rather than let some shoddy accommodation ruin your stay.

I've conjured with the idea of going to Amsterdam from time to time - as yet, never been. Maybe when (if?) the exchange rate is a little less crazy...


Merry ME said...

I'm reminded of a trip my sister and I took to Amsterdam in the mid 1970's. I think it was like the 700th anniversay of the city or some such thing and we had to change hotels every day! One was the finest the city could offer, another not so fine! I think at one place she and me and my Navy husband (which is why we were there) all shared a bed. Maybe not, perhaps the room was just so small it seemed that way. It's a l ittle disheartening to think that in all these years people are still touring the red light district. But I guess if that is what a place is known for, why change it. Still, I'd like to think the "girls" would have put a stop to it all.

I remember we went to a "command performance" cocktail hour hosted by the Dutch Navy. They served sherry to the women, who knows what to the men. My sister and I remembered our Grandmother sipping sherry so we embibed. Good Golly Miss Molly, we got good and drunk! Guess Grandmother knew when to stop!

Good memories! Thanks for reminding me. I'm not sure there is anything more glorious in the world than a tulip field.

Lizzy Frizzfrock said...

I love Amsterdam!!! It has been 30 years since I was there & I'd love to visit again. What a grand city!

raxx a day in the life said...

Hi there! lovely to meet you, Amsterdam.................... so marijuana is legal huh, wonder how that is working for them, lol!

Sounds beautiful though, I think I would sob real tears if I visited Anne Frank's home, my father read her diary to me as a chil. He really felt for her.

Picsie Chick said...

What an adventure! Your next trip will have a great hotel room, too. :-)

Welcome home and thanks for the comment already!

Hugs and butterflies,

nitebyrd said...

Amsterdam sounds like a really interesting place. Lots of contrast. I'm so glad you had a good time.

Walker said...

I'd go for the tulips and other plants that may not be as colorful but can color your world just the same, but you knew I;d say that LOL
I love tulips and livng in Canada we get ships full from Holland for our contribution in protecting their monarchy during the world and helping to liberate them.
In fact we are having our tulip festivale as i am writing this

Sorrow said...

see! I knew there would be lovely photo's to come and ooooo and ahhhhh about!
these were great!

anya said...

Living in Europe seems just so cool, Mandy. So many different cultures to experience so close to one another. So many interesting places to visit that aren't all that far from home. I've always loved Europe and visiting there.