Well, we made it to our last city on this fantastic trip, Amsterdam. We are here for four nights and 5 days. We left Rome this morning about 7:45 and the wheels on our luggage got a tremendous workout on the multi-block walk over basalt paving stones to the taxi stand. It is not a cheap trip to the airport, 50 Euros, but it is worth every penny in convenience. The traffic that time of day is horrendous in Rome and our driver took every back road known to man before finally getting on the freeway just 10 minutes or so from the airport. We were so happy to not have to negotiate that while driving ourselves and were grateful not to have to deal with buses/trains to get there by public transport. Some things are just worth the extra money….
After a few issues at the airport finding where we supposed to be checking in, all went smoothly and a few hours later, we were landing at the Amsterdam airport. The train from the airport to the center of the city is not expensive and is super easy to negotiate. We were getting off at the central station less than 30 minutes later.
Our Airbnb is in an interesting area. When you get off the train, you look for a sign for the ferry and then you take less than a 10 minute ferry ride (free and runs 24 hrs a day every few minutes) across the river IJ to Buiksloterweg in Overhoeks. The apartments is fabulous.
View from the living room to deck area. Building on the right of the picture is called the Eye, it houses a film museum, also a restaurant and bar .
Another view of this beautiful apartment.
We met our host’s son Jair, and he took us through the apartment and was gracious and welcoming. We dropped our luggage and went to go exploring.
Some of you may know that Jack lived in Holland from 1990-1993, working here and living in Utrecht nearby. He still speaks a decent amount of Dutch, which is fun but entirely unnecessary here. They rival the Icelanders in how well they all speak English. We rode the ferry back across the IJ and went to walk to an area called the Jordaan. This area was really sketchy back when Jack lived here but it is now the hippest part of Amsterdam, full of cool shops, restaurants and bars.
I had something else in mind, to find the little restaurant I had visited with my sister on my last trip here, Winkle’s, to have their amazing apple cake and mint tea. We found it with little trouble and were lucky enough to get a table.
Winkle’s is the while building with the striped awning.
Apple cake (appelgebakje met slagroom) with whipped cream and mint tea, oh my!
After our snack, we hit the streets again, went to the Dam (the main square), hit a fantastic huge high-end store in that area, the Bijenkorf, and then walked down some of the pedestrian shopping streets buying gouda cheese, bread, fruit and some other items for an easy dinner. Our hosts had left us a nice bottle of red wine that we enjoyed as well.
After buying our dinner items, we walked back to the station and our through the other side to the river and the ferries.
Here is the ferry approaching. The Eye museum is the while building on the left.
This interesting building nearby has a club at the top and they have a swing that goes out over the building. Crazy! We could hear these people yelling from the ground. Since this is a bar, I imagine there is a fair amount of hurling that happens here so standing below is likely a bad idea.
It is just great to be back in Amsterdam. It was a good choice for the end of the trip for a few reasons. One is that the weather is closer to what we will experience when we get home so it will help us transition from the 75-78 days in Rome. Another is that this is the least “foreign” place we have visited on the trip. The tv in our place is a great example, at least 20% of the offerings on tv are in English, many subtitled in Dutch. We feel comfortable here, it is super easy to communicate and we look like the people who live here, it is one place where Jack and I don’t feel unusually large. I can actually look in clothing stores here with an expectation that they will have a size to fit me, unlike in France or Italy.
Our plan is museums tomorrow, shopping and walking on Friday and then meeting Jack’s Dutch friends on Saturday to spend the day and evening with them before home on Sunday morning.