Amsterdam: Day 3 – 29.01.17 ……………It's too dark, can someone put the lights on!
We both heard the 6am church bells tolling and both thought we'd get up at seven, except neither of us heard the 7am bells and we both woke at eight! By the time we had sorted ourselves out, faffed around in our bijou room, regrouped a number of times around our battered and torn map and deliberated about what we were doing today, it was 9.30! We stepped outside into a deserted road, what a difference a Sunday and no street market makes and headed south and came across a lovely little cafe on the corner of the road opposite a canal. A cheese toastie and a cappuccino later and we headed off to museumsplein.........we had decided that today we would visit all the museums due to all the famous ones being in the same area. As usual, we walked. My poor feet, particularly my little toes are suffering so I've had to wrap cotton wool pads around my toes to act as a cushion!
Using our iamsterdam card for free entry we joined the Van Gogh Museum queue, got to the entrance and was told we had to join 'the queue over there' to get our actual ticket! So we queued again 'over there' fortunately it wasn't a big queue and then rejoined the previous queue we had just left. Hurrah we were in. We decided not to queue up to put our coats in the cloakroom but carried them with us.
We decided to go against tradition and started at the top of the building, so we walked up four large flights of steps and worked our way down. As you now know, Poppies are my favourite flower but my second favourite is the sunflower so it was really interesting to see Van Gogh’s famous vase of sunflowers up close. An amazing artist with such a troubled and sad life......so much talent cut short at the young age of 43. Before leaving we wandered around the huge shop and I purchased myself a pair of yellow sunflower design glasses. Well, a girl can't have enough glasses. I think I have ten pairs now, although I can only find the one pair.
Hobbling around (cotton wool pads don't seem to be working) and feeling thirsty we decided to visit the Diamond Museum next door. Another interesting museum, thing is, you learn so much when walking around and then forget everything when you get out! We were in need of a coffee and a sit down so walked for another ten minutes and stumbled, literally, upon a corner house cafe and ordered nachos with cheese and a couple of glasses of wine. Well, we are on holiday after all.
Having regrouped over our wine, we had circled on our map the photographic museum which we wanted to go to and somehow we found quite easily, only one regrouping required. Well, it's just as well we have our iamsterdam pass card, because we were totally unimpressed with the museum. It wasn't a museum at all but an exhibition of works by some man called Salisbury. Not our cup of tea and we had expected a museum not an exhibition, never mind we are going to the Foam Photographic museum tomorrow, so hope we'll have better luck there.
We decided to go in search of the Piano museum, which isn't far from where we're staying but despite regrouping a few times and the fact that it had started to drizzle and our feet and backs were aching we found our hotel street instead of the piano street and thought we'd go up and have a little lie down and freshen up before our ‘Dinner in the Dark’ later on.
Unfortunately our lie down didn't last long as we realised, having looked on the map to see where the restaurant was, that it was further than the museumsplein, and that took us an hour to walk there. The tram it was then. However, neither of us could work out the tram system so went in search of our hotelier to ask for assistance. Being told we needed the number 3 tram we cut short our lie down, quickly got ready and off we went in search of the tram stop. We walked around the block, not intentionally but because we got confused where the tram stopped. Finally on the tram, the next trial was which stop to get off. We had our trusted and battered map in hand and were trying to match each stop on our map, but our map, not being to scale made it difficult to match up. We did know however, that if we crossed the big canal we had gone too far. So as you can imagine, the tram crossed the big canal and we had to get off at the next stop and walk back over the bridge to find the restaurant 'Ctaste'.
Surprisingly, we found it quite easily without having to regroup once. Inside, we were given a locker and an electronic key and told to put everything in it, which we obediently did and closed the door at which point Maice realised she’d locked the locker key inside the locker!
We entered the restaurant holding hands with our blind waitress walking one behind each other and sat down at our allotted table. To say it was dark was an understatement. It was absolutely pitch black. We thought our eyes would eventually adjust to the darkness but they didn't. It was really weird because we could hear other diners in the room but didn't have a clue where they were.
Our three course meal and wines were served and we had to feel and smell what we thought we were eating. We had to forgo eating with our knives and forks as every time we put something on the forks it fell off so we resorted to eating with our fingers! The biggest surprise for both of us was not realising we had eaten raw salmon as a starter.....we knew the texture was of something slimy and squidgy but would never have guessed at salmon. The bizarre thing was it didn’t taste like salmon. I also thought I was eating pork medallions when in fact I was eating beef. How could I have got that so wrong! The overall experience was illuminating, so to speak, and definitely an experience. It just goes to show that we eat with our eyes, so to speak, rather than our palette. We wasn't so keen on the feel of the food which to be honest was rather gross, sticky and slimy but it was all part of the experience.
We managed to make it back to our hotel on the tram without any mishaps and not having to regroup once. Hey, I think we're finally getting the hang of this! We've a busy day ahead of us so hoping to make light work of our map reading .........fingers crossed xx