Day 2 in Amsterdam was very nice! Seeing the city for a full day in daylight was nice.
Tip: You have to be more vigilant here than in any US city by far. Not for pick-picketers, but for bicyclists. They WILL run you over, and they do not stop. I actually got hit by 2 bicyclists, because I cross into what I thought was a sidewalk and it turns out it was a bicycle path only. They’re anywhere and everywhere – the postal people use them, there’s 3 people having off of some of them, people use them for groceries, other people talking on cell phone and texting. It’s a site to be seen but you always need to watch your back, because unlike a car, they sneak behind you and whiz by without any warning. The hotel has free bikes to use, but I honestly think it is a risk using them because the city is so congested, and instead of being able to pay attention to the sites, you’d have to constantly watch for other bikes and the tram cars – which I nearly got killed by, also. The public transport here, while plentiful, is poorly set up. Who thought it would be a good idea to put a train in the middle of a shopping thoroughfare, and there be no barrier to prevent you from stepping on the tracks? Bad idea.
After [hopefully] recovering from the jet-lag this morning, I headed down to breakfast at the Bluespoon restaurant. Most European breakfasts consist to the typical breads/pastries and cold meats/cheeses, but interestingly enough, my room came with breakfast consisting of ANYTHING off of the menu – and the waitress repeated that fact many times. I had a terrific fresh squeezed orange juice, coffee, pancakes with fruit sauce and ham. It was a great meal, that retailed for 29 euros…I certainly wouldn’t pay that out of pocket, but there you go.
After breakfast I headed to Amsterdam Centraal to purchase a round-trip ticket to Haarlem, a nearby coastal town 20 minutes away. The town is heavily populated with name-brand and pricey stores, but there’s a nice central plaza with an outdoor market (doesn’t even come close to Ventimiglia, Italy for those of you that have been there), church, and 2 museums. I spent the morning there and then headed back to Amsterdam.
After arriving back, I walked about 2 miles to the Anne Franke Huis (Anne Franke House), and used my museum card to gain “free” entry. This is a fantastic museum, and certainly well worth any admission fee you might have to pay. Inside, you’re able to tour the secret attic Franke hid in, and see the actual diary. It was a phenomenal museum, and very well done.
After leaving the museum, I headed back to the hotel for a short bathroom break before continuing on to the Rijksmusem, a huge art museum, that probably compares to the size of the Philadelphia Art Museum. Lots of Van Gogh and Rembrant paintings inside. After leaving there, I decided to walk to a pricey neighborhood nearby that is basically the Rodea Drive of Amsterdam, filled with name-brand no-one-can-afford stores. From there, it was back to the hotel for dinner. Ordinarily, I would have eaten again at the Bluespoon tonight, but I moved the reservation they booked for tomorrow, since I wasn’t in the mood for a huge meal. Instead, there was a bakery down the street with some good looking sandwiches and pastries, so I went there instead to grab a sandwich and croissant.
Here’s what’s on the agenda for Tuesday – a free concert at noon at the Concertgebouw, the Van Gogh museum, the Dutch Resistance Museum, the Stedelijik Museum, and the Oude Kirk.
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