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Trip Report: I went to Amsterdam because of a pix on Fodors' home page

Trip Report: I went to Amsterdam because of a pix on Fodors' home page

Feb 16th, 2008, 08:27 AM
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Trip Report: I went to Amsterdam because of a pix on Fodors' home page

My SO and I (referred to as D) wanted to get away to Europe. He suggested Amsterdam. I said, "What's there to do there?" (He had been there once for a day with his daughter but that was several years ago). He shrugged his shoulders. I wasn't too interested. Until a week or so later when I noticed Amsterdam featured on Fodors' home page. I was hooked!

We found decent fares on NW, under $500 apiece. It was a 9:55 PM flight out of Boston on Monday. We had never taken a flight that late to Europe. The good part is that we played the seat game and ended up with a row of three seats each. But we didn't arrive until 11 AM. We both needed to work part of the day so it worked for us. And we slept. In the future I think we would take an earlier flight.

We were leaving in 10 days and I posted a question. I want to thank Travelnut, BTilke, i_am_kane, suze, hopscotch and bardo for their help.

Finding the hotel was tough. We needed breakfast incuded for D and a tub for me. We booked and cancelled three before deciding on the Piet Hein. www.hotelpiethein.nl It was wonderful and located on the edge of Vondelpark. And had free internet!
gomiki is online now  
Feb 16th, 2008, 08:57 AM
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Welcome home, gomiki. Sounds wonderfully spontaneous.
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Feb 16th, 2008, 09:13 AM
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Glad we could help and sounds like you enjoyed Amsterdam.
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Feb 16th, 2008, 09:42 AM
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Thanks Nikki. Yes, it was! And a bit stressful for a planner.

We tried to buy the train tix into A-dam at the machine but the credit card wouldn't work. It's 3.60€ at the machine and 4.30€ from the counter. We went down to the track and I asked an employee if this was the right place. He said yes, but the next train. A few minutes later a young woman who had heard my question told us that we were on the wrong side of the track! Saved by a travel angel!

We arrived at Central Station in the rain and went across the street to the tourist office to buy a museum pass.
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Feb 16th, 2008, 10:06 AM
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The museum pass is called the 'I amsterdam card' and costs 43€ for 48 hours. It includes admission to 26 museums, a canal cruise and 25% discounts to some attractions and restaurants and a bus/tram/metro pass. It worked out very well for us.

The first day we used it (Wed.) we went to the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Musuem. Thursday we went to seven museums and did an evening canal cruise. It was a bit like the Amazing Race but really worth it for us! The FOAM Photography Museum had an exhibit of the work of Weegee, the photographer from NY. Very interesting. The De Nieuwe Kirk has the exhibit 'Hidden Afganistan' which has amazing treasures which were hidden and saved from destruction.

Three of the musuems are old, mostly original canal houses. It was fun to take the cruise at night and look into the houses along the canals.
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Feb 16th, 2008, 11:27 AM
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Our first dinner was at Bouf. It was wonderful. I had a warm goat cheese in phyllo appetizer and calves liver. D had a smoked salmon appetizer and a grilled lamb filet.

We also enjoyed Brasserie Maxie's. They have a 17 year old cat named Pien. The former owner of the restaurant sold it five years ago with the condition that they keep the cat! He loves to hang out in front of the fire.

We loved the poffertjes, tiny pillow pancakes dusted with powdered sugar. I liked mine with the butterscotch syrup. It's a subtle taste. Not like ice cream topping.

Because the hotel had a great breakfast selection we never needed to stop for a real lunch.
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Feb 16th, 2008, 12:28 PM
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Hi gomiki,
You make me want to go immediately to Amsterdam!
I love the "insider" info, and the 'personal" stories. I had not realized almost everyone speaks English there.
Thanks, and please continue with the report.
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Feb 16th, 2008, 05:32 PM
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I missed you! Welcome back!!What a Valentine your trip is. We awaut the rest of your trip report.
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Feb 16th, 2008, 05:41 PM
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P.S. was there "Grass" in the air?
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Feb 16th, 2008, 06:17 PM
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cigale, yes and green 'lollypops' for sale in a market....6 for 5€.
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Feb 16th, 2008, 07:44 PM
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Sounds fun. How is Amsterdam in winter?
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Feb 16th, 2008, 09:50 PM
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mcnyc, unlike the forebidding posts I read, and the weather forecast, it was great. Maybe we were lucky. It was raining when we arrived. Torrential tropical type showers later in the day. But not tropical weather...maybe 40 degrees. The weather got better and better.. It was 55 degrees and sunny when we left.
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Feb 17th, 2008, 10:02 AM
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thanks for the thanks, you're welcome!
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Feb 18th, 2008, 10:48 AM
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And we continued on. We like the outdoor markets and went to three of them, plus the floating flower market. There is a great antiques market, Looiersmarket, on Elandsgracht. It is like a lot of the antique co-ops in the US. It's in a large building with hundreds of small stalls. And a cafe if you need a rest. I got the best souvenier. It's a tile of the Eiffel Tower and in Dutch it says it's a souvenier of a tour to Paris in 1949. I love Paris and the Tower so I was thrilled. It was 7€.

At D's request we went to the House of Bols. They make spirits and started in 1575. Your 10€ admission (25% off with card) includes a self tour, and a cocktail of your choice plus tastings. They have a booth were you can try to juggle the bottles (plastic to prevent injury) and send a video email of it. It was fun!

We happened to stumble upon the Tulip Musuem. It's free and it was very interesting to see the history of tulips and see how they are grown and harvested now.
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Feb 18th, 2008, 11:09 AM
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Now comes the part about the visit to the ER. As were were walking back to the hotel Saturday around 6:30 to rest and go back out to dinner, I tripped. On a tiny curb. And crashed on my knees into the cobblestone street. My slacks were intact but my knee was a bloody, swollen mess. I thought I might need stitches so the hotel called a taxi and off we went.

No stitches were needed and the whole thing took about two hours. After a drink at the little bar in the hotel, dinner consisted of cheese we had purchased earlier, rye crisp crackers and a LOT of red wine! In the room. Thank goodness it was the last evening.

The trip back was tough with my grapefruit sized keee. We waited on the ground in the plane at Schiphol for well over an hour (rudder problems) and had to wait to be towed to a gate in BOS when the jetway wouldn't move to the gate. But we made the bus to home with four minutes to spare so we were happy.
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Feb 18th, 2008, 11:28 AM
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We really enjoyed Amsterdam. It was easy to get around and everyone we met was friendly and helpful. Except for my mishap I would say it waa a perfect vacation!

I was most amazed by the number and types of bicycles. Especially the ones with a squared off wheelbarrow type thing in the front. I think the balance would be difficult esp when full of children and/or provisions. Tiny children ride on the back in a child's seat or in a pouch on mom. Girls are sidesaddle behind the guy. And in the entire time I saw just one helmet!! It was on a young boy. It's easy to see why everyone looks so fit!
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Feb 18th, 2008, 03:12 PM
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Thanks gomiki, for your trip report. You've made Amsterdam sound like a city we would very much enjoy. Now I shall pay much more attention to the cities Fodor's mentions on their homepage!
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Feb 18th, 2008, 03:20 PM
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gomiki - Great trip report. Amsterdam is probably my most favorite city, and I'm glad that you enjoyed it also, despite the knee mishap.

I love little museums, and the Tulip Museum sound very interesting. Do you remember where it was located?

Robyn >-
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Feb 18th, 2008, 04:34 PM
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gomiki- those cobblestone streets are a killer, aren't they? I had a similar mishap (unfortunately, it was my face that took it, not my knees) on my last day in Rome!!! (last October).

So glad you didn't need stitches. Did the hospital staff speak any English? And was there any fee? (Just curious. No English speakers at my Rome hospitals [yes, plural- I had to go to one for my face and a different one for my eye to be looked at!] and no fees at either hospital! (What a relief after all the stress of a fall, you know?)
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Feb 18th, 2008, 05:05 PM
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ccs, thank you! I love Amsterdam. It's a great city. Beautiful, clean friendly and lots to do. I hope you get to see it.

artstuff, I will post the address tomorrow. All my trip info is at my office. It really is a charmer.

sarge56, your face!! Yikes! Everyone in the ER spoke English. Everyone in A-dam seems to speak great English. We wanted to pay on the spot but they said they kept no money at the ER because of robberies. I gave them my insurance card and D bought trip insurance so we shall see. They said they would bill us.
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