Day 8- Amsterdam

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Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam
July 4th 2010
Published: July 4th 2010
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We woke up early, that was one of the things that you do when there are 16 men sleeping in the one room, and had showers and made our way downstairs looking for breakfast. It was 7.30, and we were told that breakfast was served at 8, so Dad decided to go for a walk. We left everything in the hostel, and made our way towards the east of the city, walking through all the streets with the buildings falling over, and along the canals and looking at the houseboats where people still live. We walked wherever we felt like, looking at the sights of what makes Amsterdam, Amsterdam. We looked at our watches and saw that it was 8, so we walked in the direction that we thought our hostel was, but everything looks the same, all the old building styles sitting on the edge of the canal. We walked for 15 minutes before finding someone with a map and finding our way back to our hostel. We walked back, and because we hadn't taken our stuff with us, we had to proove that we were who we said we were.

Breakfast was in a cafe underneath the dorms. We had a choice of 5, with options such as a hot breakfast such as pancakes, or boiled eggs or french toast. We had some museli, with milk and apple juice. From there we went upstairs and packed up our stuff, brushed out teeth and checked out. We walked the short distance to the next hotel, and left our bags there. By then, it was quarter to 10, and we were going to pick Nana up from the train station at 11, so we decided to hire some bikes and ride around Amsterdam for a while. We found a bike hire company, which was in conjunction with a hotel, and hired two bikes for two hours. We had classic Amsterdam bikes, which are very upright, and only have 4 gears. We had to leave our passports behind as a guarantee that we would bring the bikes back. The guy behind the desk, looked out our last names: Geytenbeek, and noted that we were Aussies, and told us that it "was a very Australian name". He was being sarcastic of course, and he told us about the name and how to say it properly (because there is a proper dutch pronounication) and what it meant in dutch.

We took our bikes and rode in the same fashion to how we walked earlier in the day: wherever we felt like. We rode further out towards the edge of the historical Amsterdam, and around the edge. Then, as it ticked closer to 11, we had to get back to the central train station. The problem was that we had no idea which way to go to get there. We found a tram that was going there, because it was where all of the trams go, and followed the tracks, but the tracks split up and joined again. We didn't get there too late, only 8 minutes, and she was standing out the front with her red suitcase. We rode up and greeted her, and walked back towards out hotel where our bags were, with Nanas bag on the back of Dads bike, and the others bags were over our shoulders. We walked towards where we thought our hotel was, but then realised we were going the wrong way, and walked back again and found our way to the hotel, left Nanas bag there, and took our bikes back to the hire place, and walked back, which took us to about 12 o'clock.

Dad had a conversation with the hotel manager about the Football game later that day, which was between the Netherlands and Brazil in the FIFA World Cup. Dad had explained that we had been in England and France and Australia when they had been knocked out, so they were going to do the same thing here. Nana wanted to take us to the Rijksmuseum, which was a little bit out of the central Amsterdam, so we caught a tram, the no. 16, which took us to a park, where the football match would be shown later that day. We found lunch, which was at a small caravan. I had a hotdog, while Dad had a hamburger and Nana, a sandwich. We sat in the shade under the trees, because it was a very hot day, mid to high 30s, and we watched people for a while. Everyone was getting excited and nervous about the match, because football gets a lot bigger following in Holland than in Australia.

We made our way to the Rijksmuseum, which was a very short walk from the park where we had lunch. The Rijksmuseum is an art gallery, with lots of famous Dutch paintings. We walked through, taking more time to appreciate the art than in the Lourve because we had more time and were taking things more slowly. There was a whole range of art, with details explaining the history of Holland and Amsterdam, how it was a port and the divide between Catholic Holland and Protestant Holland. Alot of it was very interesting and we saw some famous paintings.

When we left, a crowd was beginning to build in the park, not big yet because there was still an hour to go, but not bad either. We caught a tram back to the central station and made our way bag to the hotel. I typed up the previous day's blog and watched the football from the hotel TV. Brazil scored first in the 10th minute and for the rest of the first half, everything was quite, the streets were quite, hardly anybody was walking along them and the only people that I could see out the window where those who were trying to get in the local pub.

Then Holland scored with an own goal from a free kick.

The streets when wild, and it sounded like a tsunami had engulfed the city. 15 minutes later, another tsunami came trough as holland scored again, this time by a header from Wesley Sneijder, putting them in from 2-1. The cheers and celebrations were mad. When England had been knocked out by Germany, we would never have known, but it was hard not to know. Late in the game, a Brazillian got a red card, and the third tsunami came through. And it wasn't the last. The biggest and the loudest came at full time, because, and we had spoken to several locals before and afterwards, they hadn't really thought that they could beat Brazil, but now, most of them seemed to reckon they could win the World Cup itself, and most of them wanted to play Germany in the Final.

From then on, Amsterdam was a sea of Orange. Dad and Nana and I went out for tea, eating at a restraunt, where I had a Chicken Schnitzel, which was quite nice. Then we walked through all of the Souviner shops, and I found a Dutch Football Shirt which had a number 10 on it and the name Sneijder, who scored the second goal in the match. Dad also bought a plain orange shirt.

We walked over to the peir and found a boat to go on a canal cruize on. This is what Nana had recommended as she had done it earlier in the trip. We drove through some of the canals and under some low and narrow bridges, scraping the sides, and through the locks. There was a commentary, which was over the PA in Dutch, German, French and English, explaining to us some of the buildings on the edge, like on the cruises we had been on in London and Paris. The boat had a route that it was following but we had no idea and if we were driving, we would have got lost.

There were heaps of other people celebrating the football win, on houseboats, or having a party in a small boat which had a small two-stroke engine. Some were jumping in and getting wet, others were drinking and having dinner, but everyone was celebrating. It was a real party atmosphere, more so than what we would have seen in Australia.

We walked back to our hotel, and watched the other soccer game between Ghana and Uruguay. Uruguay won meaning that they play the Netherlands in the semi final. Everyone in Amsterdam was really excited by that. After the match though, we went to sleep.

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