Sunday, June 25, 2006

Playing tourists in Amsterdam

Finally, I took the time to go through the God know how may pictures Orange took.

We took an Easyjet flight (that finally cost us more than if we had booked a Swiss flight a week later!! Tsss!) on Friday afternoon from Basel to Amsterdam. We got there on time (5:30 pm) and Brenda and Harry were already waiting for us. We had to rush – Holland was playing against Ivory Coast at 6pm - but there was a lot of traffic on the road. Thank goodness, Harry and Bren know their way around, so we got off the highway and found another faster way to get us home for the match. We called a delivery service for dinner during half time (a very good one, too) Anyway, I guess is that you all know by now that Holland won the game.
So, OrangeX and I were both very tired and went to bed quite early. We did have a very busy schedule for the next day. We were – for the first time – really going to play tourists in Amsterdam! Yay! And you know what? My credit card did not suffer from the many, many stores and shops all Saturday!

We got up around 8:30am and had some coffee and a bite to eat, and waited for Jaap and Patricia to arrive. We had set to meet up at Bren and Harry’s around noon and then take the 7 minute train ride from Diemen to Amsterdam. We arrived at Amsterdam Central Station around 1 pm and started walking through this gorgeous city. We made our way through Damrak (one of the main streets leading to the centre from A’dam Central Station) to Dam Square to have our first stop for a snack (Bittergarnituur) and a drink (okay, we had 2 drinks) at a very friendly coffee house called “Majestic”. After the break, we walked onto Rokin, around to Kloveniersburgwal, crossed the Red Light District by day and then back to Station Square.

We planned to take one of these tourist boat rides, but wanted a boat that was open (either in the centre, or even better, in the back part of the boats) – it was just too hot to be in any closed cabin!! We found a first boat and stood in line, like most cultured folks do, and then, we all got very pissed off! A group of tourists stood in a separate lane with their rented bicycles (!) and had the guts to tell the captain’s assistant that they were told that they can go in first and take up the uncovered deck!! (although it wasn’t true because we were right behind them when we bought our tickets). We ended up taking the next boat and had our peace and quiet.

After the boat ride we got off again at Central Station and crossed over to the Nieuwendijk and yes, what a surprise, we came across a McDonald’s where made a quick stop for ice and burgers (well, the men had burgers). After the short stop, we got thirsty again and dropped down on the first available terrace for another drink. We continued our way to cross the Dam Square for the second time that day to continue our walk through Kalverstraat, through the Heilige Weg leading via Koninsplein to the Leidsestraat. The Leidsestraat ends at the Leidseplein, known for the many terraces in summer. On the Leidseplein, we were lucky to find an empty table, well almost empty, to sit down and quench our thirst again. We enjoyed the setting sun while chatting and watching the people going by.

We had planned to have dinner at the Casino, not far from the Leidseplein, so after our drinks we made our way to the Casino and arrived there around 19.30. We went in, paid our entrance fees and reserved a table for 20.15. Once our table was ready we sat down and looked at the great menu. A dinner in the Casino is not very expensive, the choice is excellent and the portions are huge.

We walked back through the Red Light District (this time by night) to Central station to catch a train back to Dieme.

We slept like babies that night. Hey, after all, I think we walked about 25 km that day! On Sunday, we drove by Orange's Ex for a coffee and then drove off to Ma & Pa's for lunch on Father's day. Guess what we had... Freshly made Risolles! What a treat!

I wanted to upload a map of what we walked that day, but Blogger doesn't take PDFs (a normal JPEG would not have shown enough) :-(

And because Blogger is rebelling again and not letting me post pictures, you’ll find all our trip photos here. Make sure to read the captions. You'll find more detailed information about most pictures.

I'll try to post a few again later (if his Highness Blogger permits!)

Anyway, we once again had a wonderful time with family and friends!


xmichra said...

wow.. you guys sound like so much fun! I envy your ability to tracel. it must be just awesome.

Going now to see the pictures..

CanadianSwiss said...

Xm: We're just lucky that we have so many countries and cultures to visit that are quite nearby and affordable. :)

Ginnie said...

I loved this little travelog of such a great city, CS. The pics are such a great part of the story! I love the Stad Amsterdam ship with the ornate, painted front. I love the canals, the bridges and the houseboats, esp. the one with all the plants. And Anne Frank's house, of course. I even remember the Red Light District :) Some of your friends are starting to look familiar from other posts. How fun! Thanks, as always, for sharing them and your life.

Expat Traveler said...

I'd agree with Ginnie. Loved the pics, the ship and also the buildings. At least you guys got to go there to freshen up your batteries.

CanadianSwiss said...

Ginnie: It's so much more fun to be able to show all the pictures. Amsterdam is such a fascinating city and it's nice to get to see it from a different angle. Uhm. You EVEN remember the RLD?? I would say that's something one never forgets ;)

ET: Yes, that ship was absolutely beautiful. You can go on board and visit it (next time!!), but you can also rent it for parties, events, etc. As for freshened up batteries, I think I need a little longer than 2 days. Nevertheless, it is a nice change of pace :)

Expat Traveler said...

definitely...Aren't you able to rest or take a few days off soon???

Mr. Fabulous said...

See? See? Glamourous, I tell you!

CanadianSwiss said...

ET- Nope. That's one of my problems;)

Mr. Fab: Okay, I admit it. :)

Rob7534 said...

Damn blogger for not letting you post Pics! And walking through the Red Light District! :)

Did you guys buy anything? Hmm? Any toys perhaps! Sexy leather outfits? :)

CanadianSwiss said...

Rob - I hope that you checked out the link with all the picts. And no new aquisitions done this time for the "playroom" ;-)

Babsbitchin said...

I am so jealous but glad you're back. Sounds like you had a great time. Kiss the X!!!

CanadianSwiss said...

Thanks, Babs. It's nice to be home again, but the (nice) stress continues as we've had guests since Monday!

traveller one said...

Oh I love Amsterdam! But of course I do since I lived there for 4 years and my hubby is a Canadian Dutchy! Sounds like a fabulous and fun trip!

Andrea said...

Hi CanadianSwiss,

I found your blog link via Traveller One's blog.

You communicate really well on the web and was wondering if you could help out by either becoming a Mentor and/or writing a story of one of your expat experiences?

Please take a look at our temp page: and drop me a line if you're interested in volunteering to help out, as we could use all the help we can get to kick-start this new web site for expat women.

Thanks so much!

CanadianSwiss said...

T1: Wow. How much more do we have in common?! :) Once we move back to Canada (next year), I wonder if OrangeX will at some point take on Canadian citizenship, too. :)

Andrea: Thanks for visiting. I'll go over to your site and will get back to you.

Expat Traveler said...

Cs - did you know that in fact there were some Dutch sand castle builders at the contest~! And we had a double dose of Canada today which would have resulted in mayhem for me deciding which car to post. Now I've got at least 150 choices! :)