Today we are in Amsterdam. My first impression is that it is the dirtiest, littered city that I have ever visited. Our boat docked at about midnight Friday. We exited the ship at 8:30am, got on a bus and was at our hotel, the Modenpick at 9:45am. Unfortunately, rooms weren’t ready until 3pm. At around 11am our walking tour began.
Our guide was a little guy with a pace that would make Secretariat envious. The first leg of the tour was near the harbor where we saw: the Cafe Delirium (that about sums it up), an herb garden store, a digital entertainment place which gave an optical illusion of a shape of a ship, the Conservatory of Amsterdam, an example of art in public places, and a floating Chinese restaurant which was designed to hold 900 patrons.
The city is chock full of bicycles. The stair steps even have bicycle rails. The majority of the riders have a suicide wish, pay no attention to traffic signals or pedestrian crossings, and will gladly mow you down with a smile and obscene word or two. It makes it hard to concentrate on your guides narration when one has to have a defensive posture with bikes.
Next we saw the Central Rail Station, St. Nicholas Church (our Santa), a statue of the founder of the Dutch Salvation Army (Alida Bosshatdt) “the Major”, the Chinese section of town, a flea market, stores with 3 liter buckets of Nutella stacked in their windows, a building that was once the female correctional facility, arms with furniture lifting pulleys, an attachment to an interior corner of two building which prevented male urination by splashing it back at the perpetrator, a square with a war memorial for those killed in combat, and lastly, the royal palace.
The walking tour over, we stopped for a coffee before we began our 2+ mile walk the back to our hotel. We ate lunch in the hotel lounge, me an over done hamburger and Babs shrimp and cheese croquettes.
When we arrived in the room I was beat!
We had tickets for the 6:15pm tour of the Anne Frank house. I told Babs that we would take a cab and on the way back find a trolley and purchase a 24 hour on/ off ticket. When we got to the Anne Frank house we were glad we had bought our tickets for a specific time while we were on the boat. The line to buy tickets stretched around the block.
After the Anne Frank tour, where photos inside were not allowed, we stopped for dinner at a little café. I had a bacon and apple crepe and Babs had a beer and Dutch Beef Stroganoff.
While walking to a place where we could catch a trolley and purchase our tickets we saw more sights: canal parties, boats, house boats, and the New Church.
Babs shot these sunset photos from our room around 10pm.
Tomorrow we will be here in Amsterdam for another day of fun.
Babs Says: Go to Amsterdam if you like pot, beer, sex, packs of young men, weird individuals, trash in streets, smoky bars, filthy canals, pick pockets, and killer bikes. In case you can’t guess, I was not impressed on our first day in this city.