Today has been a busy day as we tried to take in everything that we still wanted to see here in Amsterdam. We enjoyed an excellent buffet breakfast in the hotel dining room and then began our day. The first thing on our list was the RIJKS museum. We purchased tickets from the hotel concierge yesterday evening. Now that we had trolley passes, we hopped on the trolley that normally has a stop a block (a half mile in Dutch) from the museum.
Unfortunately, there was a very large marathon being run today (about 36,000 folks) and the marathon course surrounded the museum, even running through it at one point. We had to walk about two miles thru a park and over a bridge to get to the museum grounds.
During that walk, we passed the Van Gogh museum and there was virtually no line, probably because of the marathon traffic. However, because we had already purchased the other tickets we continued on.
The line at the RIJKS museum was also non existent when we arrived. The person taking the tickets suggested starting on the second floor where the most famous artists works are featured. That is where we began our visit. These are some of the various paintings and art pieces we saw:
Because of the marathon, we couldn’t seem to find an escape route. After walking seemingly forever we finally found someone to help us and we threaded our way through thousands of marathon participants and boarded a trolley near the Opera house.
It was around 1pm and we were getting hungry so we hopped off the trolley in search of a restaurant. We found a restaurant named Luxembourg with an outdoor table that was in the shade. Babs tried her third type of beer and ordered what she thought was a grilled cheese sandwich which turned out to be just a cheese sandwich. I ordered a coke and an Ox Sausage (raw) sandwich on dark rye bread, yummy!
Next we headed off in search of the red light district. This turned out to be a very long walk. We had been looking for a place to have raw herring since we had arrived in Amsterdam. The guide on the first days walking tour had mentioned a place located on a bridge where you could purchase some. We stumbled upon it by accident and gave it a try.
Not bad, but my hands smelled of fish even after a liberal application of hand sanitizer.
After a couple of wrong turns, we found the red light district and ventured down a side street off of the main drag. There we saw young ladies in various states of undress sitting or standing behind glass doorways. No photos allowed! I guess they thought that I was selling instead of buying. I make that assumption because although they knocked on the glass as others walked by, no one knocked at me!
Having seen enough of the red light district we began another very long walk back toward the Central Rail Station. Along the way we passed several pot stores. You could get high by just standing on the sidewalk.
Our route took us through the alternative lifestyle section of Amsterdam which was adorned with rainbow flags. Walking passed this unusual shop, we noticed this display window.
We passed this waffle shop and decided to try a waffle which our son Chuck had told us to put on our list of things to do.
Part of our Anne Frank ticket price included a canal boat ride. The dock for the boat company was right across from the Central Train Station so we got in line for a canal boat sightseeing tour. Three boats, 300 people later, we were in the front seats behind the boat’s Captain with a not very good viewpoint. The Captain was very entertaining, which I’m no sure was connected to the fact that he was enjoying an Amstel Light while conducting the cruise. Admittedly, he did an outstanding job negotiating some very low, narrow bridges.
We saw a sailing “tall” ship with a cool masthead, house boats, houses which leaned against each other, other interesting houses, house boats, and a tall building with two things that looked like slugs on its roof.
After the tour we had another long walk and ride back to our hotel.
Tonight we had dinner at a restaurant named Zouthaven which was 150 feet from the hotel. Babs had the special, a bowl of crab and shrimp bisque that looked a little scary but tasted good, coupled with baked cod. I had the veal ribeye steak which was great!
The restaurant was uniquely decorated and there was tango dancing in the lobby of the restaurant.
After dinner, we went back to the room and set the alarm for a 3am wake up, with a backup call from the front desk.
Tomorrow we board a vehicle for the Amsterdam airport and our 7am flight.
Babs Says: Go to Amsterdam if you enjoy amazing museums, art, beautiful architecture, walking, fresh herring, waffles, quaint sidewalk cafes serving good food, and good cheap beer. Day two in Amsterdam left a much better impression.