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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Trip to Amsterdam

I attended a meeting at work this Wednesday and while I was there I booked another trip. I went to Amsterdam Thursday. It's only an hour flying time but of course the waiting time is rather long. I arrived in late afternoon and took the train in to the city center. I walked down the main street and did some shopping pretty soon after getting there. I got a top at C&A, which is a rather cheap clothing store (it's also in Germany). The souvenir shops sell all kinds of things relating to typically Dutch items, for instance clogs, windmills and tulips. I walked to the hotel further south and checked in. The standard was acceptable and I got a good room facing the back of it, so it was quiet. I rested a short while and then went out for dinner. I ended up at Hard Rock Cafe, which turned out to be situated close by the hotel. The hickory ribs and chicken combo was very tasty, and it was the first time I had that at HRC. On the way back to the hotel I bought a waffle with chocolate. The bakeries seem to have many incredibly sweet goods to sell there.

Friday I got up early and walked to the Rijksmuseum. It opens at 9 and I got there a few minutes later. It's a newly renovated museum with some famous paintings. One of them is the Night Watch by Rembrandt. It's a very large painting, guarded by two people in uniform. I was particularly interested in the 17th century paintings and looked at some by Ruisdael, Vermeer and others. I also walked through the other galleries with 17th century dolls houses, Delft porcelain, old coins, furniture and many other paintings. It was a huge museum and I couldn't see all of it. What I did get to see was interesting, though. I walked further south to a market street and spent most of the afternoon looking at the goods for sale. It was everything from fresh fish, fruit and cheese to scarves, clothes, souvenirs and toys. There were three stalls where they had plus size clothes, and those stalls also had the stores behind, so you could try the clothes on. I bought some tops here, some of them at a very affordable price. On the way back to the hotel I had a meal at a pancake house, a large pancake with icecream and strawberries. Pretty good. At the hotel I rested for a while and then went back out again to look in some other stores. I found a shoe store with large sizes and was amazed by the 25 racks with my size, but sadly the shoes were not wide enough for me. My feet are both big and wide, which is a problem. In the evening I had a nice pizza with smoked salmon in a small and very noisy restaurant in the tourist area.

Saturday it was time to return home. I got up early and walked up the tourist streets to the train station. When I got there I saw signs saying the trains to the airport were cancelled due to construction work over the weekend. The instructions on how to get to the airport were not the best I have seen, but in essence I first had to take a train to another station and then go on replacement bus. So there was no bus service from the main station, which is remarkable considering the amount of tourists in Amsterdam. I'm glad that I'm used to travelling because I could figure this out. At the airport, getting through the security checkpoint was an ordeal, to put it mildly. The lines were very long and it was not a practical arrangement. I remember hating this airport already in the 1990s, when I had to change planes there to go to the US, and I'm sorry to say that it is still how I feel about it. It was not a pleasant experience. Of course the gate was as far away as it possibly could be also. I finally arrived back home in the evening, pretty tired. 

My visit to Amsterdam was rather nice but I was not impressed by much (Rijksmuseum excluded). I have been in a lot of cities and Amsterdam was not a surprise, since it resembled Copenhagen. The large number of canals made it difficult to cross over to the other side, if you saw a store you wanted to go to. The trams and the huge amounts of bikes made it a special place, and the night life seems to be very hectic. I can understand the appeal to some extent, but I think this was my first and only visit to Amsterdam.

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