Amsterdam: Day 5 – 31.01.17……………..We like to go a wandering!
It's airport day, but our flight is not until 20.55 so we have a lot more sightseeing to do. Will our feet and aching backs sustain another day of intense walking we wondered......only one way to find out.
We woke reasonably early, left our cases with the hotelier and walked off in the direction of Anne Frank's House to the Pancake Kitchen which was next door. As we were wandering along we came across this little art shop that had some locally painted paintings in the window that happened to catch Maice's eye. Unfortunately the shop was closed......it seems that the Dutch don't like to open too early as we've noticed a lot of shops don't open till about ten in the morning. 'We'll come back later when it's open' we said to ourselves as we took stock of where it was.
We were really looking forward to our pancake breakfast, we even had our discount vouchers to hand but when we arrived they didn't take cash, only credit cards. Have you ever heard anything so ridiculous! We came across this in one of the local supermarkets too, so it must be a national thing. So, out of sheer pig-headedness we decided that we weren't going to be beholden to such a rule so we headed off to the cafe on the corner, albeit the corner was a couple of blocks away, where we enjoyed coffee, croissants and mini pancakes.......and we paid cash! We walked back to Anne Frank's house and picked up our one hour boat cruise which took us round the canals, into the Amstel river and back again. It actually took almost two hours, but we were quite pleased as it meant we could sit down and rest our already weary legs. Just before we disembarked we sailed past the Canal Boat Museum so felt we needed to go check it out, which is exactly what we did and afterwards we went off to the art shop to purchase Maice's picture. Well could we find it. We retraced our steps, we regrouped, we went round in circles, a local woman on her bicycle even stopped and asked if she could help but she couldn't think of any local art shop nearby. We must have walked for about thirty minutes until we gave up and in the end Maice bought a woolly hat instead!!!!
It was now lunchtime, but where to go? We went in search of one of the lovely cafe's we'd seen on our travels but ended up at the cafe we breakfasted at on Sunday morning. No worries, we decided to stop here even though it did go against Maice's rule of not going back somewhere twice. We had a lovely lunch of coffee and panninis which gave us the burst of energy we needed to get ourselves to Body Worlds - The Happiness Project which is an exhibition by Gunther Von Hagens and features more than 200 anatomical specimens of real human bodies (dead ones of course). We got a €2 discount when we booked but ended up giving it back in locker fees. For some reason, although we had locked it, we decided to change our small locker to a bigger one not realising that when we opened the locker we couldn't close it again so we lost our €2 coin. Other places gave it back but not this one, so we moved our stuff to the bigger locker and paid again. Anyway, the upshot was, it was an excellent exhibition, most interesting, and believe it or not, the exhibition started on the top floor and worked its way downwards. We are now going to be continually happy as it says we'll live longer if we exercise for just twenty minutes a day. Works for everyone, apparently. So there you are, do your twenty minutes exercise a day and you will be eternally happy!
We went back to the hotel, collected our luggage and walked to the station. It took just ten minutes, a bit different from the forty minutes it took us on the first night. I think we finally got our bearings today as we didn't even consult our trusted, battered and now torn maps to get to the station. The train to the airport took just ten minutes, it was very quick, unfortunately I can't say the same about getting ourselves through airport customs. We were both pulled over this time and can you believe this, we both had our umbrellas searched, opened and shaken, with Maice being informed that hers was 'now safe to use' !!!! Didn't realise we'd been walking round with an unsafe umbrella all this time. Thankfully they are now both safe.....well, that's certainly put our minds at rest! Of course, after this little episode we needed some refreshment so found a cafe and enjoyed some wine, then bought some cheese and pringles for the plane and went and sat near to our gate, gate H3. When we went downstairs to join the queue, there wasn't one. Where had everyone gone, we wondered. A few more people eventually joined us. The clerk checking our tickets took one look at Maice and told her she had to put her handbag into her case. Then when Maice scanned in our boarding cards from her phone we were told we were at the wrong gate. We should be upstairs. So we went upstairs and found we should be at gate H1. They had obviously changed this after we had wandered off to gate H3. With twenty minutes to go we joined the long queue at H1 and as it was a full flight our hand luggage cases were taken away and put in the hold of the plane.
It was an uneventful but quick flight back to Bristol and we landed on time only to be welcomed by typical British weather .........torrential rain! Ah, how quickly our five days have gone, but we have had lots of laughs on the way.....which, according to Dr Gunther also means we'll live a long and happy life.
We can certainly recommend Amsterdam, there's plenty to see and plenty to do. Be sure though to take a good map and expect to regroup often, it's definitely the way to go!
Until our next holiday, this is Angela and Maice saying....
'Tot de volgende keer' x