Amsterdam Trip-April 18-26

Old May 8th, 2006, 05:05 AM
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Amsterdam Trip-April 18-26

My daughter and I flew from Charlotte, N.C. on Northwest Air thru Detroit to Amsterdam. I had booked this trip for myself on FF miles,but due to a complete knee replacement I was not sure I would be able to make the trip. The best thing on this 7-8 hour flight was playing the trivia games on our individual screens as others also played on the plane. Had not done this before.
Arriving at Schiphol Airport at 5:55am the big surprise was finidng there were only 2 bags on the luggage carousel-ours! Catching a taxi almost immediately we were at our hotel before 7 to find ourselves sitting on the steps for about an hour after ringing the bell. We could smell the bread baking in the kitchen. We sat on the steps until the young lady in the kitchen finally came to the door and thought we were waiting for a taxi to go to the airport. We discovered The Hotel Fita was a perfect place for us- quiet, clean room, great breakfast, with a very helpful staff after the unexpected beginning.
After an overnight flight we hit the bed for a few hours and then get up to explore our surrounding. A canal boat ride introduced us to the city which would have been so much better except for a noisy group of young people.
Our first dinner was at Sama Sebo which introduced us to a wonderful rice table.
Tops on our list for the next morning was The Anne Frank Museum A line which my daughter waited in to get the tickets while I sat on the bench. So impressed by the way the museum presented her story along with the people who suffered with her. Well done!!
Some post had suggested the Spanjera Van Twist restaurant near the Anne Frank Museum which we found very easily. Very good lunch for me-quiche, salad, and a sandwich for my daughter.
A walk to Dam Square brought us to the famous Red Light District which is really such a small part of a great city. My daughter's remark,"So sad the women making their living this way."
We made these trips to and from by tram and had tried to find a place to buy the stippends which we only found a few days later in a grocery store near the hotel which is somewhat underground so it is not easily spotted when you do not recognize the Dutch words.
Fri. a trip to Central Station to take the bus to Keukenhof Gardens which was 2nd on my list of things I really wanted to do. Words cannot describe the greatest flower garden on earth! We did the short trip on the bus 10am-2:30 which was enough time for us. We were going to buy those tram tickets here,but the bus was leaving immediately,and it is on the next block from the train station so we had to hurry. We are eagerly awaiting the bulbs we purchased in the garden by mail which they send to you postage free.
Upon our return in the afternoon we walked through Vondel Park which has not been kept as beautifully as the park could be. Many young people enjoying the nice weather outside,but we went in to Cafe Vertigo for sauteed shrimp and salad. A bottle of water much too expensive at 4.50 euros.
Sat. A 3rd big attraction on our list was the Van Gogh Museum near the Hotel Fita. Only a short wait in the long line as our hotel gave us free tickets. My daughter bought poster in the museum store,but there is a place near that sells them cheaper. A Van Gogh T-shirt for my son.
In the afternoon we finally found the Rembrandt House after help from the helpful people of Amsterdam. Then on to the Resistance Museum which gives another glimpse of what the Dutch people endured duing World War II. Many tourist do not visit this museum,but it very worthwhile if you are interested in this period of history.
A stop on out way in to the Small Talk and Eating House which was a good meal steak, salad, broccoli, and potatoes. A nice conversation with a Dutch couple who were in town for the Carvaggio exhibit which we never Visited,but we had seen some Carvaggio in Rome last year.
Sun. Zoo day especially for my adult daughter who loves zoos. She is a member of the N,C. Zoological Society. Therefore on our trips around the world we have visited quite a few zoos. Many young people with their children-another break for the knee sitting on the bench talking to a young Dutch couple with a child.
Then a visit to the Pourtguese Synangogue. and on to the Horticus Biological Garden which was very good for us as a light rain began to fall and some of this is in greenhouses. The one day we did not bring our umbrellas for waiting for the tram stop for about 40 minutes as an accident had delayed the tram.
On our way back to the hotel we stopped at the Orient restaurant which has great food and service. After being chilled we were ready for something hot.
Mon. to the Amstelking Museum Museum. I had read many steep steps so I visited a shop and walked and sat around that area while my daughter visited the museum. Then on to the Willet-Houser Museum which is a beautifully decorated Canal house with many artifacts the couple collected around the world. There is a film before your visait before waling through this lovely place also with a garden.
On Tues. a trip by train into Harleem especially to see The Corrie Tin Boon House which tells a story of Christian faith and courage. If you are my age you may remember her book"The Hiding Place" and a movie made from the book.
Then to St. Bravo's Church. A lady working there told us about a department store where there is a cafeteria where you can few the city while eating. A very good cafeteria with many food choices. It was a long walk for me back to the train station,but back on the train to Amsterdam. A very interesting town!
We spent about an hour in the Rijks Museum after returning to our hotel area.
We stopped quite a few times at the grocery store I mentioned earlier for our dinner. a good choice of salads and food.
On Wed. a flight back home. Good except for over a 3 hours flight and thru customs-long line- to get us back to Clt.
Amsterdam-unique city like no other. Something for everyone. The people are the friendliest and most helpful and I have traveled quite a few larger European and Asian cities. That English is spoken makes it so much easier also. Airport one of the best!
Would love to go back and see the things I did not see this time as well as visit more towns in Holland and more of the countryside.
I like churches so I was disappointed I could not get into the Nieu or Wester Kerk for whatever reasons. Sorry we did not get to Delft on this trip,but did get to see those tulips which was worth the trip alone.
Thanks to everyone on this forum for your help. I will be glad to help anyone with more detail that I did not include such as prices, etc.
maryanne1 is offline  
Old May 8th, 2006, 06:56 AM
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Thanks for the report. I have to agree about VondelPark...after hearing everyone here rave about it I finally visited it last year and came away somewhat disappointed.
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Old May 8th, 2006, 07:27 AM
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Thanks for your report!
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Old May 8th, 2006, 07:46 AM
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Great report.

The Resistance Museum is one of the best. I thought everyone went there. But, now that I think of it, there was no line to get in...

I also agree about the Keukenhof Gardens - photos don't capture how breathtakingly beautiful it really is.
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Old May 8th, 2006, 08:41 AM
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Thanks for your kind comments. I had almost finished writing this the first time with more detail when my internet suddenly went down so this was the 2nd time with fond thoughts and not so much detail.
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Old May 8th, 2006, 08:58 AM
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Nice trip. You are right, the Dutch are the friendlist people around.

As for the Vondel Park comments, just an FYI. They started rebuilding/rehabbing the entire park last year (right when I was there for the first of my two 7 day trips w/in a 8 week period). They are still working on issues, mostly drainage, which is why the place looks like blech.

They have been renovating the areas by the Blue Teehuis and are resodding most of the area.

It is what it urban park. On a nice is absolutely beautiful...but still undergoing renovations.
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Old May 8th, 2006, 10:24 PM
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Great report..with lots of info.
Ida101 is offline  
Old May 9th, 2006, 12:31 AM
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maryanne1 - Thank you for a great report! I will be visiting Amsterdam for the first time this October.


PS Do you have any photos that you could share with us from your trip?
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