Saturday, 31 August 2013


 We arrived in Amsterdam at 8 o'clock on Monday morning, having got up at some ridiculous hour of the morning. By the time we'd figured out how to get from the airport into the city and then to the hotel it was actually quite late though. We were in the NH Schiller hotel in Rembrant Square, which was lovely, much better than anywhere else we saw in the three days we were there.

After breakfast we headed for the Anne Frank house, but the sign half way along the queue said '45 mins from this point' so we decided to come back another day. Instead we found the Van Gogh musuem. A lady told us the queue for that was only 45 mins. She lied. We waited 1 hour and 20 mins; by the time we got in our feet were killing us. The paintings were interesting, but Caitlin thought the Dali museum in Spain last year was better - it was more interactive.

We had a late lunch (Subway) in Dam square, did a bit more sight-seeing, went back to the hotel for a bit then it was dinner time. We found a pizza place which was nothing special. Then we went for a walk around the Red Light District. It wasn't yet dark, but there were plenty of ladies standing in thier windows in thier underwear. Caitlin was faintly amused by the whole thing, Ellie didn't know where to look, and Carl said, 'That wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be.'

 On Tuesday we arrived at the Anne Frank house before it opened and got straight in. It is a very well presented museum - and strange how everyone is so quiet walking around. Everyone talks in whispers.

After that we found a bike rental shop where a very abrupt woman served us. We spent two hours cycling around the city streets. Ellie nearly ran someone over, crashed into some tables and chairs whilst pushing her bike, and nearly gave me concussion trying to get her bike out of the place we chained it up when we stopped for a drink. Cycling around Vondel Park was nice. My legs ached by the time we got back though.

We had to check out of hotel no.1 after that and make our way to hotel no.2, the Dutch Design Artemis Hotel, miles out of town and practically at the end of the tram line. It was nice, but too far out really. We went back into the city for dinner that evening, in an Irish pub. We sat outside under the heaters.
Wednesday was a boat day. We had a free canal tour from the hotel so we did that in the morning. It was the 100 Highlights Tour. I don't think there were really 100 things we saw, but it was interesting. For lunch we went back to Rembrant Square and had a picnic on the grass for the second day.
In the afternoon we walked around and did a bit of window shopping before heading off to Central Station where we caught the ferry to the other side of the harbour to catch the Pancake Boat. We had a one hour cruise up and down the harbour and an all-you-can-eat pancake buffet. Each of us only managed two pancakes. We were second to board the boat and got a spot right at the front, so we had good views. I persuaded Ellie to come out onto the top deck with me on the way back, that was good too, but the others were being boring and didn't want to. After that it was the long journey back to the hotel for packing.

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