Today our plan was to go into Amsterdam. It’s quite easy to get the bus into Amsterdam, but for 4 of us, it looked like it would be cheaper to drive as I had found a place we could park for 20Eur a day. Unfortunately, you had to book it in advance, and I hadn’t done that , so that didn’t go quite as well as I’d have liked. Regardless, we opted to drive in, as 4 bus tickets wasn’t particularly cheap.
We really didn’t have a plan of action, I just wanted the girls to see a bit of the City, and soak up some of the atmosphere, as we’d been to a number of small villages and Amsterdam is such a famous (or is that infamous) place.
We started out by walking up the Damrak which is very busy and touristy and not particularly nice. We ended up in this large square with lots of impressive buildings including the Royal Palace.
I was trying to get away from the most touristy bits, so we moved onto Kalverstraat, which is a shopping street, with very familiar high street shops.
Once we reached the end of Kalverstraat, we walked through a book and art market, in search of prettier canals and streets. I had a vague idea that we should walk towards the flower market, so that’s where we headed.
We did find the flower market, and I had been hoping to see lots of cut flowers, so I could take some pretty photos, but they mainly seemed to be selling bulbs in bags, which are nice but not exactly photographic material. Molly decided she would also like some slipper clogs, (or are they clog slippers….) and so we popped into a very touristy shop for her to buy a pair.
Having walked so far, everyone was getting hungry. But I had an idea in my head about where I wanted to eat. There were a number of large restaurants in Rembrantplein but I decided they were too touristy, so on we walked. Girls only complaining very slightly, as I made them wander, just a little bit aimlessly until I found what I was looking for.
We ended up at a small outside café, next to a canal. It was just right.
So, we had some lunch. My girls decided they needed familiar food, so they opted for burgers and chips. I had some gorgeous roastbeef on bread, Phil had a tuna melt, and Jolanda had scrambled eggs.
At lunch we had a little discussion about what we could do next, as we were operating without a plan and it wasn’t really working. the girls thought they would like the Van Gogh museum as they are both familiar with him (from Dr Who). It was a pretty walk over to the Museumplein
We walked through the Rijksmuseum on the way. This is nearly reopened and looked very impressive. Behind the Rijksmuseum is a beautiful garden, and some interesting sculptures.
Unfortunately, there was a 45 minute wait to get inside and none of us really fancied that, so while I enjoyed the walk, and it was nice to see the area, it was a bit of a wasted trip.
We rang Jane, who had finished working, and she was meeting a friend near the Central Station, so we decided to hop on a tram and head back to meet her. I’m not sure how far we’d walked, but I’m fairly sure there would have been a mutiny if I’d said we must walk all the way back.
Phil and I studied the map, trying to work out which tram to take, until Jolanda pointed out that we were right next to a tram stop, and we could just get on the first one with Central Station on the front….. So, that’s what we did.
Jane was at a canalside café, having just finished her lunch, so we ordered some apple cake and coffee’s and had a chat with her friend.
After our dessert, Jolanda headed home, and Jane took us on a ferry across to North Amsterdam to look at the eye museum, and see the views. The Ferry runs frequently back and forth across the canal, and it’s free.
And then, we headed back across the ferry and back to Monnickendam. I enjoyed the day, I’m not so sure about the kids. We did walk a lot, but that’s really the only way to get the feel of a place. I regretted not being more organised and pre-booking both the parking, and the Van Gogh museum, as I think the girls would have really liked that. But it just means we will have to come back another time.
We had a relaxing evening with Jane, John and Jolanda, and then Phil and I walked back to our apartment, and I attempted some nighttime photography. I didn’t havea tripod, so made use of the floor, tables, a bridge etc.