Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Amsterdam Adventure -- Part 1

 I flew to Amsterdam, including having my credit cards -- see the previous blog about that. My seat mate as a young man crossing the Atlantic for the first time. He was excited.

I got to to the Citizen M about noon, and decided to just hang out until 2:00 rather than pay an extra 19 Euro to have my room early. The first floor of this hotel is like a living room so it's a good place to hang out. Around 1:30 a staff person told me I could have a room without the extra charge. Hurrah!

I took a 2 hour nap and then headed off for the city. I couldn't make any of those painfully obtained credit cards work in the machines to buy train tickets -- although the ATMs work fine. I went to the service center and got a ticket, but have to pay an extra 0.5 Euro more. Got into the city without any difficulty, and elected to do the obligatory canal boat tour -- something every tourist does. I haven't been into the city for many years so things are really changing.

Walking out I found myself in one of the many bike parking lots -- a scene that I believe is unique to Amsterdam or at least the Netherlands. Almost got hit by a bike today too. I was crossing a street with the green walk light and heard a man say something in Dutch which certainly seemed to indicate to Look out! Bikes must have a right turn light too, for this one was really ripping around the corner.

The tour went first into a what I'll call a working canal.

 Here is a boat pushing a barge -- a scene somewhat like what I see on the Mississippi River.

Behind the Central Train Station there are various ferry boats to carry people across this large canal to the residential area on the other side.

Here's a police/security boat.

Somewhat in this same area I spotted a building with a Chinese look. The photo below is not very good. I was hampered by clouds during this part of the tour. The tour narration said this is the Sea Palace, and it is supposed to be the largest floating restaurant in the world. That surprised me for I always fancied that Hong Kong, for example, would have many. Perhaps they are there, and just smaller.

In another location I saw taxi boats, but couldn't get a photo fast enough.

It's a hard life, but somebody has to do it. The tour narration said there are 2500 houseboats with permits to be on the canals. We saw many of them.

This resident obviously loves plants.

There were many beautiful canal scenes.

The canal view below I found later while walking.

Of course we saw the Ann Frank House. This is quite changed from my memory of seeing it some years ago. The modern ground floor structure was not there. At 6 PM there was still a long line of people waiting for a tour.

Our attention was drawn to the house above in the center, for this is one of the oldest houses in Amsterdam. The stone over the door carried the date of 1529.
After finishing the tour I went walking a bit, trying to get oriented for what I want to do tomorrow. I stumbled onto this sign of Euro 2012 in Amsterdam.

By 7 my energy was fading, although I wasn't really sleepy so decided I'd best start my journey back to the hotel at the airport.

The Central Station really look lovely in the late afternoon sun.

I walked into the station and found a directory of departing trains, but was puzzled. My heavens -- the Dutch railway company has a real person station near this directory to answer questions for lost persons such as me. I was directed to a train going to the Hauge that happens to stop at Schiphol. Returned without any problems.

Now as a I stop writing on Mid-Summer Eve ways up at 53 degrees north -- I can report it is a few minutes after 10 PM and still daylight out!

So things went very well today -- after the crazy yesterday I had!

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