After our first nights sleep in a bed in Europe, it was refreshing to have a good night’s sleep. After the great shower, my wife and I met out friends for breakfast. It was a buffet at the hotel. We had a free tour with Viking early in the morning. It was the start of a day where we had may tourist events scheduled as well as getting the suitcase to our friends son.
The tour was a walking tour through Amsterdam. We bravely faced the traffic. The key our guide told us was to stare down automobile drivers and they would stop. The other was always be on the watch for bikers. The bikers have their own lanes, enough for three bikes to be side-by-side.
We saw a statue of Rembrandt and she (our guide) told us artist our revered in the Netherlands as it is one of the Country’s main claims to fame. She also told us that Amsterdam was built on a kind of a swamp land, so the canals. She pointed out one of the consequences was that buildings started to tilt. She pointed out some of the building leaning on other buildings. In Amsterdam the buildings on the block are all connected. She said then the owner has the expense of having the house lifted up. That would be an something I wouldn’t want to deal with.
Another thing we saw on the canal was boats on the side of the canal. People actually live in the boats which could be neat. However, these boats don’t come cheap due to availability and a licensed is required to have the boat in the canal. Which is ironic because it was poor people who started the trend decades ago so they could afford to live. However, so many boats were on the canal they needed some control. Thus, now they have to be license taking away some of the fun and adventure.
Our tour ended up at the museums which was a pleasant surprise as we had tickets to the Van Gogh Museum early in the afternoon. We had lunch at a little stand and went to a gift shop for the museums and my wife bought a few souvenirs. In Amsterdam I never saw an actual gift shop in a museum. We walked through a small garden and sat next to a small area where water came out of the cement to music. Like in America the kids were having a great time playing in the water. The simple joys work everywhere.
Next was the Van Gogh Museum. It was three floors which is a lot of paintings. I know one thing Van Gogh painted a lot of self-portraits. The main theme of the tour was how his depression affected his painting and his life. Also, other artists such as Monet had paintings displayed there. I am not a big art fan but enjoy the paintings and certainly enjoyed the museum.
One painting we didn’t see was “Starry Night”. My wife asked a museum employee if we missed it. He could tell from her accent where she was from so decided to have a little fun. He asked her where she was from. My wife answered, “The United States, Colorado”. He answered, “Why you have it”. Then he explained it was at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Next we walked back to our hotel and freshen up. We were in a bit of a crunch for our next museum the Anne Frank house. I was looking forward to this as I just read the book for the first time in preparation for out trip. So, I had recent knowledge of what she wrote about. For a young teen she tackled a lot of series issues in a very adult manner. It is something I should remember when talking to young teens. They have a lot more on their mind then they let on.
Lucky we had already bought our 48-hour tickets for the subway as it worked for the above ground transit system also. We took the train to down the road from the museum as close as we thought we could get. We had to walk a few blocks but made it in plenty of time. Our tickets were for a certain time period.
I visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. and with museums like these there hangs an overall mood of solemn and sadness. The Anne Frank Museum had this. It is one thing to read about it, but it is another to tour the museum. What I’m trying to say is the Museum made me feel the sadness and despair that Anne felt. It is well worth a visit if you have the chance.
Now, the husband of our friends had to go back to the hotel to get the suitcase. The wife had done research and talked to people who had been to Amsterdam and found a restaurant for us to meet. She was also communicating with her son who was taking the train to Amsterdam. I would be with the two ladies. After a few blocks we found the area the restaurant was supposed to be but didn’t see the Italian restaurant. We did see a pizza place that had pick up but only two small tables inside. However, there were other restaurants in the area, and we decided to just eat at one of those.
We were entertained as the streets were narrow and once in a while a small truck would come and have to make a turn. Even a small truck had to make a turn by going forward and backwards so as not to hit any buildings. In the restaurant across the street when this happened a little girl about 7 or 8 would come out of the restaurant to watch. She would talk to someone, and I could tell she was doing an analysis of the turn. She was speaking Dutch, so I couldn’t tell what she was saying but I am thinking she was an expert on analyzing those turns.
After a half hour in the area, I realized that the take-out Pizza place and the restaurant across the street was the same restaurant and probably the place we were looking for. The ladies didn’t believe me. I said let us go ask them. So, I went with our friend to go in the restaurant. However, we didn’t need to go in as the window had the name of the Restaurant we were looking for. My friend then asked for a table for five. The host said that he couldn’t do a table for five as that required a reservation and their reservation’s were booked for the night. He did say he could do a table for two and probably later a table for three.
So, we decided my wife and I would eat. We got a nice table for two outside by the door. Within 10 minutes after we were seated the husband (with the suitcase) and son arrived. They sat at a table for three at the other side of the door. It turned out to be a nice dinner.
Our friends wanted to go to the red-light district just to see it. However, we had already done a lot of walking and had a full day plan for the next day, so we went back to the hotel. They went to red-light district. They weren’t super impressed. However, the wife said she felt uncomfortable in one alley they had to walk through. We made it back to our hotel safely and turned in to rest for another busy day.