We were up very early this morning..... maybe not early in our life back in Oz but certainly early for us these days! Andy and Sue from nb Festina Lente kindly offered to drive us to the station in Stafford. Although it wasn't actually raining when we left it had been in the night so it was a great bonus to not have to traipse through the mud in the marina field. It also meant we didn't have to leave quite so early. Thanks very much to you both.
Our trip today went very smoothly. There was just a short wait for our train at the station, there was nothing to do at the airport except go through security (all of 10 minutes) so we had coffee at Costa, there was a 15 minute delay before the flight left but in all it was a breeze. There was a fair bit of turbulence and the wind was so strong when we arrived at Amsterdam that they sent the plane off on a loop to fill in time and see if it eased. I was expecting a difficult landing but it went well.
We hadn't eaten since 6.30am and by this time it was heading on for 3pm Amsterdam time. We toyed with the idea of eating at the airport but decided to wait until we got to our hotel and dumped our bags.
We bought our train ticket to the city and walked straight out to the station. There was a moments alarm when we saw nothing at all saying which lines went to the central station but we asked a pair of young women who were going there too. They directed us to the platform and warned us to beware of "pocket pickers". There was a bit of light rain when we emerged from central station but we didn't have all that far to walk... much less than a mile.
The hotel is very nice. Smallish room but it has everything we need and we really couldn't ask for a better location. As we walked we saw plenty of places to eat so after checking in and putting away our bags we headed straight out again. We chose a Japanese restaurant that offered "all you can eat" on the proviso that you actually eat what you order. There was an extra charge for uneaten dishes and you couldn't take them away with you. We had a leisurely meal which we enjoyed. Delicious sushi and freshly cooked hot dishes. Pricey but a good treat. It was so late that we won't be needing dinner.
We had been directed, by the very helpful reception staff, to a supermarket just a couple of doors down. I had a request for the favourite Dutch chocolate sprinkles for Tamara, my German friends daughter. It was a big supermarket and we picked up a few bits and pieces for breakfast provisions. Mick checked out the Dutch beer (thanks Gil and Malcolm!).
I have a Dutch quilt shop on my list of things to see while we were here. We have now walked past it three times and it looks like a really good one but I've been dragged on by the hand. It will have to wait til tomorrow.
I had to laugh when we got back to the hotel later and Mick went into the bathroom for a shower. He called out that they had a shaver in the bathroom. When I went to see what he meant he picked up the the nozzle of the hair dryer and got the shock of his life when it blew air at him. Not quite what he expected. I had tears running down my face laughing. I must admit it was one of those with a square box and it doesn't look much like a hair dryer and on the box is a lift up flap that hides the shaver point so it had a sticker on it saying "shaver". I felt like I was sharing a room with Crocodile Dundee in New York.
Tonight we went out for a walk. We couldn't come to Amsterdam and not walk through the red light district. What an eye opener that was! And there is no missing the wafting scent of marijuana as you walk around this city. It was actually a lovely evening when we went out and the city was very pretty with lights sparkling down every street.
No photos for a few days but at least we have free wifi in the hotel. I've been taking plenty of photos though.