Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Wed 25 Apr 2018. To Amsterdam

Wed 25 Apr 2018. To Amsterdam
Anzac Day in Australia - vale Uncle Allan...
Weather still going down, 9° this morning. Last morning of fruit salad and croissant from the bread bus. Packed and completed all tasks on park’s “departure checklist” (put all dirty linen in pillowcases, cleaned fridge and set it to 1 etc). We deserve a discount!
Good drive to return hire car but ran into trouble at service station nearing Schiphol Airport. Pump gave us 4 worth then cut out. Frustrated, BoyRob went into station - and they called him a thief and demanded he pay for fuel he’d “left without paying last time”! This of course did not go well and there were threats to call police before the manager came out with evidence from their camera - which clearly showed a much younger man at the pump!! Checking the time, we pointed out our plane hadn’t even landed in the country - obviously the previous hire car driver had skipped out on paying as he returned the same car hours before our arrival in the Netherlands. “Sorry, sorry, free coffee??” Took the paperwork with us to Avis who promised they would book the previous driver rather than us (but we’d be wise to keep an eye out for our next statement!)

We decided to stay in Amsterdam now rather than on way back to Holland - far easier without our big vehicle. Took taxi to Boutique View hotel, three story narrow-fronted building overlooking canal. We were too early, so left luggage for staff to haul upstairs (no lift), and went off to explore the city. Disappointing to find no tickets left for Van Gogh Museum or Ann Franks’ House. Bought tickets for hop on/off canal boat instead, and enjoyed the relaxing loop so much, stayed aboard for a second round... 

Presumably houseboats pay rates?

17thC gabled houses

American Hotel

BoyRob just wasn't interested i the Museum of Bags and Purses

The Skinny Bridge

Train station built by same architect as the Rijksmuseum

Disembarked and ate bagel deli lunch at cafe next to the Ann Frank Museum and Westerkirk Protestant Church, enjoying their Baileys hot chocolate and raw mint tea. 

Ann Frank's House

Rembrandt is buried in Westerkirk

This car can park in a bicycle space

Back to hotel booked in, changed, straight out again to have dinner in Red Light district (It was our son's suggestion) (Really). What an eye-opener: small red-lit rooms each containing an almost naked woman ran in narrow concentric circle alleys around a decommissioned church - such juxtaposition was bizarre! Oude Kirk is the oldest building in Amsterdam, and now runs art programs and meditative/reflective exhibitions. Appropriate shops and services abound in the district: alcoholic drying rooms, Hempsterdam icons, condom purveyors, sex shops, tattoo parlours... 

Repenting sinners??
Oude Kirk

The grocery store had less offensive costumes for sale for Kings Eve tomorrow than some of their neighbours. Had pizza and cider dinner in pub enjoying lively crowd. 

Royal Palace/Town Hall - Dutch Classicism
War Memorial Dam Square

Made it back safely to our hotel room (tram to and from was clean, cheap and efficient). The room was at top of exceptionally tiny winding stairs, dark, poor lighting, crocheted light fitting – we expected the worst, but delighted to find the room larger than expected, with a comfortable king bed (from which we finally figured out the wall mural featured a trumpet player's hands....)

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