Saturday, September 23rd, 2000 Day in Amsterdam
Finally got started about 10 am, after a nice breakfast. We also made sandwiches for our lunch in Amsterdam. The street market was in full swing and we walked the stalls after breakfast. Jim found a nice gray short sleeved shirt that he purchased.
Ready to leave for a day in Amsterdam, we met an American couple as we left the hotel. Had lots to talk about as they were in the room above ours and had experienced the same night! But, they both used earplugs. Connie & Lyle were from Appleton, Wisconsin. Celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary. She is with a company that makes wild bird feed and his builds fire engines. Stayed with them until the Museum in Amsterdam. Very nice couple.
Purchased round trip train tickets second class and had four minutes to make the train. We all ran and found our seats before the train pulled out. Conductor never did check our tickets in either direction! Met a very nice young man on the train who was on his way to work. He lives in Haarlan and works in Amsterdam. Has only been here for a few months. He grew up in Yugoslavia. His English was so good he could have been an American. Said he learned it mostly from television, as they don’t dub the movies as much as they do elsewhere. He is a computer geek, as we would say in the states. Arrived in Amsterdam and found the Tram #20 recommended by Rick Steves. Stayed on for the entire city tour and then back to the Rijksmuseum where we finally split up. Never saw Lyle and Connie again as they left for Brugge early Sunday morning.
Jim was thrilled to see several original Rembrandt paintings in the Museum. It has over 200 rooms so we concentrated on the paintings by the masters. Jim found some paintings by Emanuel DeWitt, whose paintings were of interior of churches. We think that he is a long lost ancestor. As we left there were several excellent Mimics of statutes. Found a place to sit and eat our lunch before we got back on the #20 Tram and went to the stop for our second museum. We had to walk a piece and stand in line for a short time before we entered the Anne Frank Museum. It was very emotional to actually be in the rooms where the Frank family hid for all those years.
We then tried to find several of the other items on the map but ended up going for a stroll through the red light district. The crowds are unreal. The girls are sitting in windows, ground floor level and a few on the second floors, in nearly every building. Block after block. They are barely dressed, mostly in skimpy underwear. One guy popped out of a door suddenly and all of his buddies started cheering! He looked very “sheepish” and embarrassed. Probably lost a bet! This was about 3:30 in the afternoon. Tour books say that it starts around noon every day! Lots of red lights on the buildings and some of the windows were rimmed with red florescent lights. Actually a very sad experience. One girl made a face at the women in the crowd and yelled to a man to get a wife as they cost less than she did! Different kind of world. The hotel people had warned us not to try to take any photos as they will grab your camera and put it in the canal! They don’t want anyone taking any photos of the area and/or the people! But we did manage to get a few photos of the red lights and red awnings that advertise their services.
Leaving that area, we found some ice cream and postcards before heading back to the train station. We were close enough to walk the short distance back. Amsterdam has lots of old elegant buildings. Many are very large. There are also many very modern buildings mixed in next to the old ones. Saw the palace from the outside. Decided not to take the tour. Arrived back at the train station and found a train leaving in about twenty minutes. A nice day in Amsterdam. Not a city we’re particularly anxious to return to in the future.
Arrived home, picked up the laundry and headed for the Laundromat that we’d found the day before, with some help from the hotel clerk. Ended up with four loads. Jim had to scout for change and found a gambling hall across the street with a moneychanger. Then we had to take that money and get the actual coins that we needed. Always an ordeal, but we’re always glad that we’ve taken the time to do laundry. Nothing better than clean clothes! Took about two hours and cost about $4.00 a load. Not bad for the results! Got everything back to the hotel and decided to go downstairs to the Lander’s Café for soup for Jim and a salad for me. Ended up with what we wanted and a beer for each. The street market was all taken down by 7 pm and the street cleaned up. And now Saturday night on the square begins!