Thursday, 7 May 2009
AMSTERDAM...... GOOD PLACE!!! GREAT VISIT!!!
The third staircase we lugged ourselves and our luggage up and down!
The view from our room!!!
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.