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Published: August 2nd 2018
Cycles and canals. Such a cruisy start to day 1 in Amsterdam. No nonsense this time leaving the airport. We found the train then a taxi to the door of our hotel. We had been warned about the steep staircase but wow…. what a mountain to climb! Fortunately the guy at reception helped us lug our bags up and offered us bottled water. We left the bags in his capable hands and headed off for our first look-see at the canals of Amsterdam.
We had an easy 3 minute stroll to the Westerkerk Protestant church which is located just alongside the Anne Frank house. One look at the crowds and we were pleased we hadn’t pre- booked a ticket. Even with a specific entry time those poor blighters were already heating up whilst waiting, waiting, waiting in the queue. We decided on a Flagstaff canal cruise instead. 1 hour, 2 friendly hosts and a couple of Heinekens made this a relaxed start to our sightseeing of Amsterdam. After this cruisy cruise we filled in another hour or two people-watching and having some lunch before finally the magic time had arrived - time to check into our room.
intending to have a rest then do some further exploration later in the evening - our bodies had other plans and we woke up somewhere around 3am. The joys of body clocks still being on kiwi time!
Day 2 - started with a pancake breakfast to compensate for no dinner the previous day. The blue/ white walled cafe was very picturesque and thankfully air conditioned as the temperature was already climbing to an expected high of 36 degrees. Thus fortified, we set out for the obligatory hop on hop off boat/ bus option. The first part of this canal trip covered a few of the same places we had seen the day before but with a different commentary so it gave us more information. We hopped off at the maritime museum, had a cold smoothie then headed inside. One of us found some of the static displays interesting especially the navigational instruments display, the other was not so impressed. We did experience life from the viewpoint of a shipping container but be warned - don't do this if you suffer from vertigo. And of course, the worst part of the hop on/hop off system is seeing the next boat
disappearing into the distance just as we get to the stop! Waiting in the soaring temperatures was not a good thing. Apparently there is an app to download which provides live updates on arrivals and departures but if you don’t have data this isn’t helpful. Completing the first circuit, we decided the best thing to do was find a cool place to watch the interesting and varied canal traffic. Thereafter it was time to adjourn to the oldest pub in Amsterdam where we met some locals, tasted the delicacy, smoked Paling, more Heineken (I enjoyed the wheat beer Brand). I was given an old photo taken sometime in the 1920s so I tried to replicate the same scene although I couldn’t access the building so it has a slightly lower POV. Intriguing to see that cycles are still a preferred mode of transport today as it was then. Of course no traffic lights and passing cars to contend with then either. An interesting look into the past.
Time for dinner and the inevitable clamber up the wooden mountain. We called it a day. It was still 32 degrees so lots of water and zzzzs.
Day 3: time to
complete the hop on/ hop off bus trip today. With the temperature still around 35 degrees this was challenging. No air conditioning on the buses, so we opted for a brief respite by doing the Gassan Diamond tour. One of us enjoyed glimpsing the glitter and watching part of the cutting and polishing process; the other of us was concerned there may be purchases! Definitely not at those prices though. Photos are less costly so that’s all the sparkle I got. I guess diamonds are not this girl’s best friend after all. Camera gear though - that surely is a more practical purchase?? Watch this space.
Enough of Amsterdam - next stop Bremen...
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