Through Amsterdam, without the crowds
Last year I´ve won two flights to Amsterdam for an Instagram post on KLM´s site, so my husband Dirk and I use them for a two-day stay in the harbor city. (Zum deutschen Blog.)
It is not our first stay here, so the main tourist attractions we have already seen. By chance I came across the guide “99 x Amsterdam wie Sie es noch nicht kennen” (99 times Amsterdam as you do not know the city) by Silke Heller Jung and Hans Zaglitsch.
Walking through Amsterdam
We actually start at the number 1, as the first parking garage for bikes is located at the main station. For the moment we take the ferry to the NDSM shipyard, where our hotel, the botel Amsterdam is moored. (I have reviewed it on tripadvisor.) At the airport we already bought a two-day ticket for public transport, so we can drive as often as we want without worries.
From a distance, we see the no. 2 of the guide book, the Ronde Lutherse Kerk, which has a round outline, as the name suggests. Every now and then we see the no. 7, vending machine fast food restaurants, but we have no sense for such a fast food restaurant. We prefer to eat a really delicious ice cream later in the no. 43, in the Monte Pelmo Ijswinkel ice cream parlor. It has always unusual creations. I eat a green ice, it tastes a bit like Basil, but really delicious!
The no. 21 gives attention to a gable stone of the seat maker Andries Tenck. Two chairs can be seen and the (translated) inscription: Nothing is perfect. This makes us curious of other gable stones at the old houses along the canals. Again and again they can be seen.
We roam along the Singel canal and soon face the no. 25, the Torensluis. It is the widest and oldest bridge of Amsterdam, at former times, a prison was housed in its base.
On the way to Nr. 26, the tulips museum, we watch a colorful parade, probably these are Sikhs. Why they go through the city we so not know. The sky darkens more and more, so we are glad to arrive at the small museum. Here you can learn everything about the history of the tulip and why many people lost all their belongings because of a few tulip bulbs.
Almost next door is one of several cheese museums. We’re going in, it’s more like a store where you can try for free many different cheeses, of course to buy it then already airworthy packed. In the basement there is a bit of information, how in former times the cheese was made.
I’m a bit k.o. from all the walking and so we decide to make a canal cruise. From the botel I took various discount coupons, which are really worthwhile.
We take the “lovers canal cruises“. The boat is quickly full, because now it’s really raining and all want to be in the dry somehow. The explanations are made through provided headphones in many different languages. An hour we are cruising and see many beautiful houses and get some suggestions on what is still worth seeing.
Unfortunately, the rain does not stop, so we use our ticket. We take the tram 2 to Vondelpark where we actually want to look at the no. 62, a huge concrete sculpture by Pablo Picasso, but then we go past the flower market where we jump spontaneously from the tram that stops there. So many flowers! And then the countless tulip bulbs. We like to take some with us. It is worthwhile to walk past all booths, because the prices are quite different.
The Vondelpark we won´t visit any longer as it rains too much and I’m hungry. The decision where to eat will be at the no. 18, the giant Sea Palace Chinese restaurant. Not exactly a typical Dutch food, but we will try it.
We are both tired, so we take the ferry after lunch and drive to the botel. After a nightcap at the bar we go to the cabin.
Unfortunately the second day begins as rainy as the first has quit. What do we do? On the Canal Cruise, we drove past the Hermitage. It is a museum, which is housed in a former retirement home and hosts various exhibitions. Since it is a bit off the usual tourist routes, it is very quiet here and few visitors are here except us. So we can watch the exhibition of the “Golden Age of Amsterdam citizens” at leisure. I have rarely seen such a well-done presentation. So several hours pass in a flash. The audio guide informs us about the pictures and stories of the persons portrayed in the pictures.
In Hortus Botanicus
Now even the sky has some understanding and gives us a rain break. That we use, to visit the Hortus Botanicus, a botanical garden just around the corner. In large greenhouses and outdoor we find magnificent and rare plants. However most beautiful is the walk-in butterfly house. One of the fragile beauties rests on my head. That tickles, but am happy!
By tram we go to no.14. The former main post office is good for shopping now, in the basement we rest with coffee and cake at the “Grand Café Ovidius”.
A few numbers out of our book we still want to manage before today in the evening KLM will transport us back to Hamburg. From the outside we have a quick look at the no. 53. The title “Where Mata Hari once celebrated her wedding” makes me curious. It is the old Hotel American Leidseplein.
From here we drive to the Haarlemmerdijk where the no. 45 and 46 are waiting for us. That’s a candy factory, that produces customized requests. A friendly employee offers us a couple of sweet treats and Dirk and me can´t resist, we have to take a can! Directly opposite is the Tea Bar, a small tea shop, which features special creations, like tea with cucumber and its customers can choose the tea of the month, which is offered then at a reduced price for 4 weeks.
Slowly it is time to walk towards the railway station, because our flight will go soon. “Unfortunately,” a few doors down the way leads us past one of the many small boutiques, that has beautiful clothes in the shop window. There is still that much time to try on one or the other dress and to buy one. Quick we get another ice cream next door in a chocolate factory and then it’s really back home.
I am very excited about this “other” Amsterdam, of the many absolutely friendly and helpful people who live and work here. This guide also shows the experienced Amsterdam visitors corners that can be easily overlooked. There are still many numbers of the guide book left over, so I’ll probably have to come back 😉