Sunday 9 February 2014

We love Amsterdam

I had a feeling Amsterdam would be about Mick's speed and I was right. It's not too crowded, the architecture is fabulous, and best of all he isn't uncomfortable going into a shop or asking directions because everyone speaks English! It has turned out to be a really good choice for a city weekend.

It was raining when we left the hotel this morning. The lady behind the desk lent us an umbrella which promptly turned inside out in the wind. We didn't bother with it after that. We went first to check out the queue at the Anne Frank Haus.  It was long.... too long for Mick to be willing to wait.

So, instead we went back to the railway station to check our rail ticket for Monday. When I printed it I noticed there was no departure time printed on the ticket.  At the service desk there was an older woman at the entrance who it turned out was supposed to find out what your business was and give you a ticket to be served. She was quite rude and abrupt and brushed us off saying the ticket was fine.... I just hadn't made a reservation and that's why the ticket showed nothing for time or seating. I walked away but still didn't feel quite comfortable about it so waited until she was busy with someone and snuck past her. At the counter the lady explained that I should have a ticket from the dragon bit it didn't matter she would help anyway. She said it would cost 8 euro each to reserve a seat but that train would be quiet so there was no need.  She explained where to get the train when we came on Monday and which platform. Very helpful.

It was still pelting down outside so we decided to do a canal cruise.  Just what you do when you're living on a canal boat..... pay to go on a boat in another city! We both really enjoyed the cruise and hearing about the city. The buildings along the canals are fantastic.  The rain stopped while we were on the boat so we decided to come back to the hotel for dry clothes before going out for lunch. We were pretty soaked from walking in the rain.

I made one more stop on the way back... the highlight for me!  I spent some time in the lovely quilt shop across from the hotel called Den Haan &Wagenmakers. It is surely the second best I've ever seen (second only to Threadbear!).  I had a lovely chat with the woman in the store and when I told her the shop reminded me of my favourite quilt store in Australia she said "Threadbear"?  Goodness it's a small world isn't it?  I chose a few fabrics to add to my quilt.  There was another quilt store next door that stocked lots of bright fabrics.  Not really my thing but I did find a quilt panel that I bought a few of to take home.

We had lunch in a bar / cafe and enjoyed people watching. We then made a second attempt to the Anne Frank Haus but the queue was even longer.  We found the narrowest house on Amsterdam and went the the enclosed courtyard of houses called the Begijnhof where the oldest house is.

I had seen some little model Dutch canal houses in a souvenir shop so we went back so I could buy a few.  Then we just wandered. We passed the flower market which at this time of year was filled with bulbs for sale.  We even saw a "grow your own" cannabis starter kit.  Only in Amsterdam!

On the way we made a final attempt at the Anne Frank Haus but this time the queue had snaked all the way round the corner. What a shame. I've been there before but Mick has watched the movie with me a couple of times and I know he would find it interesting. We will try again tomorrow.

The sun even peeked out for a while as we made our way back to the hotel late in the afternoon.  We bought some salads for dinner from the supermarket and have lined up a meal for tomorrow from a fantastic deli. We will go back there tomorrow to choose some goodies from their counter.

We didn't have the best sleep last night in a strange bed. There was a bit of noise from the street as the windows aren't double glazed. That's a bit surprising in a country that gets so cold.

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