Amsterdam: Day 2 – 28.01.17…………..Gong Xi Cai!
We woke to the peal of church bells announcing the time to be 8am. We wanted to be up earlier but I suppose our bodies were telling us they needed a lie in after being on the go the previous day.
It was sunny, so we got ourselves ready, walked out of the hotel and into a street market, which apparently they hold here every Saturday. We were starving so headed to Piqniq for our breakfast and enjoyed a very nice scrambled egg in a glass with a wonderful cup of coffee.
We were off to Anne Franks House at 10.45am so not wanting to get lost we set off in search of it early, so we knew exactly where it was. With our trusted map in hand we headed off in what we thought was the right direction. The fact that the pair of us couldn't agree on where we were on the map didn't bode well until a local man on his bike stopped us and asked if he could help. Pointing us in the right direction we walked along the canals admiring the houses either side, not realising that we were dawdling in the bicycle lanes! How there aren't more tourist injuries beats me but fortunately, although we've had a few near misses, we remain unscathed!
We came across the Cheese Museum and thought we'd go inside and have a little look. It was free entry so in we went and sampled all the different kinds of Dutch cheeses as we went around. It must be the tiniest museum in Amsterdam but we manouvered ourselves well, having now had some experience with our hotel room! Next door was the Tulip Museum which just happens to be Maice's favourite flower (in case your curious mine is the Poppy, just saying) so in we went, had a look around the shop and then noticed it was €5 euros to get in. As we're here on a budget and have an iamsterdam card with free entrance to certain museums, we weren't going to pay extra, so we left.
We arrived at Anne Franks House at our allotted time, stood in the queue for about ten minutes and in we went. I must say it's a wonderful museum particularly in the way the story is told, the wall art telling the story in a very simple way. As you can imagine, it's a very emotive and thought provoking museum and we thoroughly enjoyed the experience but when we came out we needed to be cheered up so we consulted our trusted map for ideas. We had booked wine and cheese tasting at 5pm and the time was now 12.15pm, so almost five hours to kill! What to do, where to go?. We decided to walk up and down the canal structure as suggested by our hotelier. We're staying in the Jordaan Area which is quite posh apparently and the houses reflect this. So off we went, dodging bicycles as we wandered along. We got ourselves in a pickle on numerous occasions, having to regroup for map consultation each time we came to a bridge. Needing sustenance we popped into a little Turkish cafe and shared a spinach pie and a bottle of water. Regrouping once again, we checked out our iamsterdam map of what's included in the cost of the ticket and realised the Tulip museum was included, so as we were still in the vicinity, or so we thought, we decided to return. Twenty minutes later we found the museum, which I must say was very interesting. Did you know that the Tulip is not a native of the Netherlands but stems (no pun intended) from the northern foothills of the Himalayan mountains......who'd have thought it. So, we spent a very interesting hour in the museum.
Leaving the museum we had three more hours to kill before our wine and cheese tasting so we went to find it first and then went to the Oude Kerkes Plein (gothic cathedral) which just happens to be in the famous red light district. Regrouping once again and pouring over are trusted map we followed the directions and came across shops with scantily clad women sitting in the windows. Finding it more by default than by our map reading skills, we had obviously entered the red light district. I must say, even in daylight it's rather seedy. We'd seen enough and made our way to the cathedral which sits slap bang in the middle of the area. As cathedrals go, it was rather bizarre and very contemporary. Like falling stars from a forgotten universe, there are broken mirrors lying at various spots on the ground. In the Lady Chapel, white swathes of cloth form a labyrinth that you step into and disappear amid semi-transparent waves.......luckily we had our map with us when we entered! And then there are the sounds, the sound of breaking glass reverberating around the cathedrals monumental space, evoking violence as the falling pieces crash to the floor and the other sound is the sound of 178 trees blowing in the wind, their leaves rustling and the birds are squawking and it's all getting louder and louder as the wind becomes more tempestuous............. Mmmm, all rather strange and totally unlike our Wells experience of the day before. After this experience we felt we needed some refreshment so went in search of a coffee shop (one that sold real coffee and not ‘the other stuff’) so we left the red light district and found a very nice cafe-bar and ordered cappuccinos and two glasses of wine. By this time our feet were aching and on fire.......we had literally walked our socks off and it was still only 4.30pm! Would we ever make it to our cheese and wine tasting session we wondered..........!
We finally made it to our cheese and wine session where we shared a table with the Miserable Family from England. We had introduced ourselves to them when they sat down and even though we were well behaved they totally ignored us. Never mind, it didn't put us off our cheese and wine which was very tasty. We're not really fans of Dutch cheese but think we may now be converts after today's session.
Feeling weary and slightly tipsy we decided to eat in and went in search of a supermarket to purchase our provisions. Bread, cheese, wine and olives......can't go wrong with that. Having regrouped outside the supermarket to consult our trusted, now rather battered map, we arrived at our hotel at 7.30pm, changed into our pyjamas, got into our beds and had a picnic, it was all very Morecambe and Wise-ish. We had to laugh though, here we were, Saturday night in Amsterdam and we are watching Dutch TV and having a picnic on our beds. We certainly know how to live it up!
So, on that note, it's now 10.30pm and time to turn the lights out. We've got a busy day ahead of us, more walking, more map reading, more tired and sore feet.........I tell you, this sightseeing isn't for the faint hearted!