The only close to that experience I can remember is being in Prague in September :). So many tourists on the streets, it’s difficult to walk. Weekend or weekday – does not matter. Lot’s of people everywhere. Lots of bicycles. People, cars, and bikes are trying to get from point A to point B and back without even pretending they are following the rules :). If it were by me, I would choose different dates to come here.
The city tries to survive this tourist invasion. Honestly, I can’t even blame anybody. On the big scheme of things, that’s their city; it belongs to people who live there, not tourists. My local friend commented on the poor quality of service here in Amsterdam, and in Holland in general. And sadly, I have to agree with her. But once again, I can hardly blame anybody.
In addition to really wild traffic on the sidewalks, the next problem we’ve faced was the operation hours of most of the places where you can eat. Being not just American, but also from the North, and even for a person from the North an extremely early riser, not being able to get breakfast on Saturday before 9 AM was a real problem. I am up by 5 AM regardless of the day of the week, so you get the situation :). On Saturday morning, although my sleep time was adjusted for the previous 31-hour day:), I was up by 6-20. We tried both breakfast places recommended by our host, but one was closed till 9, the other one was opened by 7-30, but they said, that they might have some breakfast “in an hour.” A couple of other places where just opened (about 8 AM), but took our idea to have breakfast in such a time on Saturday as an insult :).
Finally, one place close to the central train station was opened and had decent food, good coffee, and even fruits 🙂
Most of the time we travel, we enjoy trying some local street food, and I have some “calorie budget” allocated for that. One very satisfying experience was baked potatoes:
We both arrived on Friday, on two different planes, 30 min apart. And we managed to meet at the Airport train station, though it was not easy:). I’ve picked up our Holland passes and the train tickets. It’s only 20 mins to the Amsterdam central railway station from the airport, and as I’ve already said, the apartment is not more than 10 minutes walk.
We were given a code to open the front door, and when we got to the fifth floor, the key to our apartment was right there in a keyhole, waiting for us.
This time once again, I’ve used VisitACity App to plan our trip, and the app decided that it will be best to do the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum on the first day. I tried to play with an app and move the things around, but it would insist :), and I obliged. I’ve been to both museums “in depth” during my previous visit to Amsterdam, so this time, my goal was mostly to show both of them to Boris.
But first, there was lunch. Retrospectively I think that lunch in the museum was a good idea, it was quality food at a reasonable price. The asparagus soup with mackerel sounded like something similar to the Finnish salmon soup, turned to be a pale variation of the latter, but still decent.
I’ve got some ginger tea with “Rembrandt selfie” macaroon.
Today is the third day of our Amsterdam vacation, but only now, by the end of the third day, I’ve got some time to write about it. Do not even know where to start :). First – a couple of words (and pictures, of cause!) of where we are staying.
This is a somewhat new experience for me: this is not a hotel, but also not a classic B&B, where you either have a room in the same house or apartment, where your host is staying, or the host is on vacation and renting their space. It’s an old house which is remodeled to be a family-style hotel. There are two apartments for rent on each of the floors, and at least two in the basement. We live in the attic, and thereby it is just one studio on our level. The note from the host advised us to take our shoes off when in the house since this way we generate less noise. The building is on the bank of the most inner canal ring, so it’s a pretty expensive property.
Here is me standing on the stairs which lead to the utility room half a floor above: