Published: June 17th 2012June 16th 2012
We slept late, which was not really a problem. It was pleasant to not be rushed, but the challenge of leaving the hotel so late is that we end up needing to urgently find food as soon as we get out of the hotel. We settled on a café on the walk towards the Van Gogh museum and were pleasantly surprised that the service was much more efficient than the previous day’s lunch café. We walked on, passing through Rembrandt’s square (Rembrantsplein) and across the major canals to the Museumplein and the Van Gogh museum. It was a pretty walk, but we were now in a time crunch because one of our main objectives for the day (Poezenboot!) has opening hours only between 1pm and 3pm. After successfully arriving at the Van Gough museum on foot, a considerable walk, we opted therefore to buy tram tickets and take a tram back towards Centraal station to find de poezenboot and return afterwards to visit the Van Gough Museum. Poezenboot (the #7 attraction in Amsterdam according to TripAdvisor) is a cat shelter, housed on a houseboat in one of the canals – in short, a houseboat full of cats. This attraction had been
Andrew wanted to take this very nice kitty home.
built up to epic proportions and was sure to be the highlight of the trip! The proprietors seem happy to have visitors during open hours, although they did hang around to direct us away from the skittish cats and the “kooiekat” who apparently has a reputation for scratching visitors. (We’re not in Africa yet, but we’re still afraid of the cats!) Andrew selected a cat to take home, but was dissuaded by the amount of paperwork that would be required. After sufficient petting, ooh-ing and aah-ing, we disembarked and headed back to the Van Gogh museum. The kids are rarely enthusiastic about museums, but both were sufficiently familiar with Van Gogh to not object too strongly. Once again Sonia’s pre-purchased tickets saved us a long wait in line and we enjoyed an audio tour while learning about Van Gogh’s phenomenally productive, if brief, career as an artist. After the museum, we went back to museumplein, which we had rushed through earlier in the day. Andrew soaked his feet in a fountain and John climbed upon the giant, three-dimensional “IAmsterdam” sign for a photo op. Not to be outdone, Andrew got out of the fountain to also climb upon the sign
Andrew outside Poezenboot
A narrow fenced-in run on the canal-side of the boat allows the cats access to the outdoors for lounging.
and hopped from letter to letter, frightening his parents and at least one stranger. We trammed back to the hotel and enjoyed a nice siesta with a pound of Gouda cheese and wine and beer from the hotel bar. The open windows brought in fresh air, lively activity in the street below and the occasional whiff of marijuana. After a nice break we braved the tour of the red-light district. The area is actually quite beautiful with old brick buildings and a picturesque canal. We didn’t actively cruise the alleys but did see a few windows with the traditional red lights (uninhabited at the time we passed). We exited near the train station and took a tram back to Rembrandtsplein. On foot we visited the Tuschinski theatre and peeked inside to check out the remarkable art deco interior. We walked on to dinner, another recommendation from the guide book. One of the server’s personal recommendations was the eel. Sonia was intrigued, and eventually ordered it, but not after an extensive interrogation of it’s origins and lifestyle prior to becoming and entrée. The food was not as good as the previous night’s but the service was charming and the staff did
Stairs to the upper level are outfitted with a narrow ramp to allow the cyclist to roll his bike along as he climbs or descends the stairs.
their best to field questions about eel. Discussion turned to Africa as we got ourselves psyched up for the next day’s journey to Cape Town. The obligatory ice cream stop on the way home was followed by a lovely twilight walk back to the hotel.
There are more photos below