Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Losing track of day numbers, but we are in Amsterdam

We left Dublin on an 11.30 flight. After a nice big breakfast at the Radisson Blu (farewell black and white pudding, farewell delicious soda bread) we went by taxi to the airport. It is astonishing how many people are travelling. Although procedures are streamlined, like self checkin and bag drop systems, the crowds and security check lines make it quite gruelling. For a one hour ten minutes flight, we really did need to be there at least two hours beforehand. I wonder how many people are in airports and in the air at any one time. The scale of it is boggling.

The flight was uneventful and we arrived at Schiphol, collected our bags, and found the airport shuttle which drove us to our hotel, the NH Barbizon Palace near Central Station. We aren't in the main part of the hotel, but in a small apartment in a house around the corner, right on a canal. Fortuitously we are on the ground floor. There is no lift and the stairs are precipitous. It is a charming spot. Our building is on the right.

Our corner room is right on the canal and in the picture above those are our windows on the ground (water?) floor. Here are some of its views out of the windows which are the only air conditioning. (There is heating but with these heat wave temperatures up to a sizzling 21 we don't need heating).


Our media centre is serving us well, and all the gizmos are getting their ration of juice as needed. Thanks to Julie for her suggestion of the power board.

We have done a few sight-seeing walks, and bought some supplies. Our room has kitchen facilities so we bought bacon, eggs, bread, cheese, cherries, strawberries, a six pack of Chocomel (chocolate milk which brings back memories of my previous trip here in 1971) and some chocolate. Breakfast is covered.

On our first day here Michael navigated flawlessly to the Jan Six house, where we are booked for a visit on Thursday morning.


A few snaps were taken along the way there and back.

On our next morning we took a canal tour, which took all morning and into the afternoon. Very crowded, very hot in the sun, and I felt distinctly queasy. Michael is amused telling me I am seasick on a canal boat. Perhaps he is right. I don't like boats of any kind. How will that affect our plans to go cruising in our dotage?

I didn't take too many pics on the cruise - too many people in the way. But it was interesting and we saw lots of things you don't see from land.

Later that afternoon we caught a tram to the Concertgebouw to buy tickets for a concert on Sunday night. Mahler's 4th and Schubert's Unfinished. Our tram driver was extraordinarily good humoured and helpful. He is a good advertisement for the Dutch.

We caught the tram back to the Dam, where I wanted to go to Desigual, based on a choir-buddy recommendation. It was a successful visit. The streets are thronged, and festooned with soccer balls.


There are lots of Argentine steak houses, but this is the only Uruguayan one we saw, so we snapped it for Gladys.

On our first night in Amsterdam we ate at the restaurant across the corner from us, the Het Melkmeisje. It was a lot of food but it seemed like a long time since our breakfast in Dublin and suddenly my big steak and potato and vegetables were all gone. I had a hankering for some Asian food the next night so we went down the road a few steps to a Malaysian restaurant and we both had Lakhsa. Delicious. We are right on Chinatown so restaurants are easy to find.

Speaking of steps, 23rd June - 9661. 24th June - 7161.






















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