Arctic but a little sunshine

A busy breakfast room this morning, clearly everyone was putting off going out into the biting wind. But it had to be done. We trekked off to the bus stop (roadworks outside the hotel means the nearest bus stop is out of action) and one came along very quickly. I love the automatic clock that tells you when the next bus will arrive….and they do!

Our first task of the day was to go back to the transport office in the station to get our bus tickets. 25 euros bought us two 48 hour passes for bus, tram and metro.

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Back down Damrak to C and A for Lou to do a bit of shopping. He didn’t, in the end, but did have a successful foray into the Swatch shop. New strap fitted on his old watch and a free battery. I got a birthday present too!

Then the exploring began. A few twists and turns and we found the Begijnhof, a quiet grassy square surrounded by lovely old buildings with a church in the middle. I offered to take a photo of three french girls but it was unsuccessful. The camera was a very old poloroid and twice refused to spit out the photos I took. ”you broke it’ Lou told me as we left. I do hope not.

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From there we wandered around taking photos and avoiding bicycles and trams. The sun was trying to shine which cheered things up but had no warmth in it, sadly. We tried to spot which canals we had cruised the night before but it was not easy.

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I’d googled loads about Amsterdam so had a lunch venue in mind. After some map consulting and a lot of instinctive guesswork, the cafe was found. Google hadn’t been wrong and we enjoyed our lunch, especially being in the warm.

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Bracing ourselves, we set out to discover the area known as jordaan, celebrated for its quirky boutiques and cafes. The canals became prettier I felt as we walked westward, still dodging cyclists. A young couple asked me to take their photo and this time it was successful, phew!

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We passed Anne Frank’s house, the cheese and the tulip museums and lost ourselves in the alleys.

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We found trees in tubs outside front doors and garden benches chained to house walls. Every so often we turned a corner and were buffeted by that dreadfully cold wind. Time to get inside again.

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I had bought tickets online for the Huis Marseille photo museum so, after a bit of canal confusion, we found the right one and after a few minutes walk were back inside in the warm again.

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No problems with my printouts this time and no need to prove we were over 65 and entitled to our discount. We must look very old. In the bus last night, a young couple got up and gave us their seats!

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The museum is in a beautiful canalside house with magnificent ceilings and a secret garden behind it. I sneaked photos of it and its neighbours.

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We climbed up and down exceedingly steep staircases to reach the maze of rooms. The stairs in our modern hotel are steep and not very deep, is it an Amsterdam thing?

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After that the last thing I hoped we’d see was the floating flower market. Oh, what a disappointment. I had romantically imagined a market full of glorious sights and perfumes bobbing on the canal. Wrong. Stall after stall full of tourist tat, admittedly with endless bags of bulbs but not the market if my imagination. I toyed with buying a ”delft blue’ pot with lid but told myself I didn’t need it so put it back.

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A shop window of ‘decent’ delft that was NOT in the floating flower market!

Eager to leave the ugly place we spotted a tram going to the central station so managed to catch it just in time. Our new tickets made a satisfying ding ding as we waved waved them at the machine for the purpose.

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And so back to our fourth floor nest, a nice cup of tea and the end of the Milan San Remo cycle race. Now it’s the final match of the six nations. Well, we are old and need our rest!

 

 

 

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