So, we survived our visit to Amsterdam…
...though at times it was seriously touch and go :-) There are no less bikes around than the last time I visited half a lifetime ago – in fact, if anything there are more – but the owners have definitely got bolder. 4 times we witnessed people being struck by cyclists, and twice the victims went sprawling. One old dude hobbled away limping and cursing everyone in sight... it was hard not to laugh, but laughing would be dangerous, because then you'd shut your eyes and be run over for certain.
We lived in fear – fear of inadvertently straying into cycle paths (for cycle path, read psychopath) and being run down by a deranged bell ringing biker… and also fear that in frantically leaping out of their way, we might end up being squashed instead by one of the ubiquitous trams which appear to come from every direction with alarming regularity and speed - unless you are waiting for one of course.
Far safer, we found, were the canal boats which lazily cruise round the waterways giving you a relaxing commentary in every language (something which had us chuckling often over certain words which kept being repeated in English, there being no equivalent word for translation). Once we’d heard a funny word, the mounting tension of waiting to hear it again, and the uncontrollable guffaw when it eventually came struck us as so funny that we became completely overcome with our own mirth and could do nothing but giggle helplessly while our fellow passengers looked on in baffled bemusement – no doubt imagining that we’d spent the morning in one of the town’s many ‘coffee-shops’ ;-)
The flip side of the coin was our visit to Anne Frank’s house, which had me tripping in my tears and Carl all misty eyed by the time we left. Massive queues round the building had had us praying it would be worth the long wait in the rain. It was. Indeed, I'd go so far as to say it’s not something either of us are ever likely to forget... Even after all these years, the horror and sadness prevail. It was without doubt an incredibly poignant experience but something I’m glad we found time to do.
We walked miles round the town. Miles...
We covered so much ground, and did heaps of stuff over the three days we were there. When you only have a short time you just have to cram it in, don't you?
Other highlights were the SEX Museum. OMG! What can I say? Lol!! :-D
The Torture Museum (yep, we are that gruesome!)
The floating flower market and shopping.
Leidensplein at night... (See those pesky bikes everywhere?)The beauty of the lights on the water after dark - even amid the tacky seediness of the Red Light Area.
Nice meals out, from traditional dutch peasant soups to gorgeous spicy exotic dishes and juicy steaks
The warm hospitality and cosyness of the old old Brown Café on the last day, where a charming be-whiskered landlord insisted on pressing delicious lumps of heavily saltl and peppered dutch cheeses upon us to go with our drinks, which we sipped in the corner and watched the world go by for a couple of hours.
Oh...and the double decker train!! Yeah, just like kids we loved it! Never even seen one before, never mind rode on one… but as they say – little things please little minds eh?
The weather was crap pretty much all weekend but we never let it keep us in. So we came home exhausted... and skint. What's new?
Looking at the pics we look like two wrecks... lol. Terrible hat hair, bundled up in coats... freezing most of the time. But it was a laugh... So,thanks for the weekend girlies, these pics are for you!
More later jk x