Already it’s our last full day in Amsterdam. So after delicious crepes for brekky (made even nicer with a visit from the restaurant’s cat) it was to get a look at the city from a different angle, by going on a canal tour. And what a fantastic day for a canal tour – gloriously warm and sunny.
It was a really interesting tour, too. Our captain, Henk, had a really good knowledge of Holland, and the way Amsterdam expanded throughout the years. And of course there were tons of pretty building to take photos of which is always a bonus.
With so many people in a city trying to share the canals at the same time, its inevitable that sometimes two boats will want to be where only one will fit. It seems like there’s two systems to managing the traffic. Firstly, you sound the horn, or radio ahead to say you’re going under a bridge or turning a corner. Secondly, you shout and wave your arms around and exchange, umm, ‘friendly banter’ with the other boats near you, until somebody wins. It was pretty funny to watch – especially when what looked like a bunch of, how do you say, rich and powerful dicks didn’t get their way. You know, like when you park your Honda in the spot the old Lexus driver thinks he was born to park in. Good work, Henk!! Toward the end of the tour things were getting hectic on the canal – we had to wait about five minutes at one point to let a whole bunch of boats through that were congesting the canals further up. Anyone who has a thing that floats was out on the canals today – all for the start of Sail, I guess.
Leaving the boat, we crossed the road to the Manneken Pis Frites – the best fries in all of Holland, voted No. 1, etc etc. But, to be honest … they weren’t the best chips ever, not even the best chips we’d had in Holland. The cheese sauce on them (one of about twenty sauces you could choose from) was delicious though.
Next up, we were on a quest to find the ‘IAmsterdam’ sign that crops up in so many tourist sites about Amsterdam. It was down near the Rijksmuseum, only about a 10 minute tram ride away. The place has heaving people – it was hard to get any kind of photo just due to the sheer volume of people milling around, but I guess that’s half the fun, and it’s good to see so many other people enjoying this city as much as we were. Also good to see was a whole row of painted Miffy’s – part of the celebration for Miffy’s 60th Birthday.
We took a tram a few stops back toward Centraal and checked out some of the tulip and bulb markets – none of which we could buy and bring back of course, but it was interesting to look at. Perry went back to the hotel, and spent a little more time looking for and finally wandering around the ‘9 streets district’ – said to be full of cool little shops. Maybe I should have covered all nine streets, because the ones I saw did have some nice shops, but many of them seemed to be just residential. Ah well, at least I can say I’ve seen it – or at least a part of it.
Dinner was Italian – the only Dutch peculiarity was a very good one – getting Frittesaus with our chips. I always maintained that eating chips with mayo is the best way to do it – and to basically have a whole nation agreeing with me on that is a nice feeling. These people are sensible 🙂
And that, as far as Amsterdam goes, was pretty much it. We leave early tomorrow to go to Athens, so that’s the end of the sightseeing, the shopping, the relaxing, the photographing, the wandering around … all finished, all done. Such a shame, I could happily have stayed here longer, but I’m sure the next parts of the holiday will be equally exciting.
I’ll miss the accent, the language, hearing “Dames en Heren…”. I’ll miss the ding ding of the trams, the well thought out public transport, the beautiful old buildings with their time-worn foundations leaning on each other for support. I’ll miss the easy-going air and friendliness of the locals .. OK that’s enough I think it’s safe to say I’ll miss Amsterdam just a bit.
Until next time, tot ziens!