An (Amster)dam good day!

Day two 

We were woken by the ship’s claxon telling us that we needed to get up and get ready. I wandered outside onto the deck to take in the fresh morning air and get out of the filthy air of the cabin.

On the left side of the ferry, I believe seafarers use the term ‘port’, there was a lot of heavy industry such as petrochemicals and the like, while on the starboard side there were little caravans and loads of fishermen set up, watching the world go by. I preferred this side.  

It seemed to take forever and a day to get off the ferry and then through customs but we eventually got through and stopped for breakfast in the first place we found, Velserbroek.  It was just another Wednesday morning to the people of Velserbroek but I was insanely excited to join them in their little shopping pedestrianised street.

We sat at a café and ordered pastries and coffee and watched the world go by, including saying hello to a couple of very friendly Dutch dogs.  Everyone spoke pretty much perfect English and could not have been more helpful and pleasant, even the young lad in the café, who could only have been about 16.

My son decided to go off on his own and came back with a pick and mix and, somehow decided to spend about €15 on liquorice, which he doesn’t like, terrible chewing gum and sweets that tasted of soap.  At least he didn’t buy the Uddelaer sportbeer that was on offer!

Filled with pastry and caffeine, we headed into Amsterdam. We decided that the best bet would be to park in the outskirts and get to the centre of town on the park and ride system.  For our family of five, I think it would have been cheaper to hire a helicopter into town but we were on holiday and you have to ignore such things, even if it does make you want to cry.  As we walked out of the car park, we bumped into an elderly couple walking in the same direction as us, they had clearly popped to the shops to pick up their dinner. I asked them if they would be able to direct us to the train station as it was a decent walk away and there were no clear directions.

It turned out that the guy had, I guess, popped into the pub for a few drinks while his wife did the shopping and he was just there to carry the bags. He stunk of a good night out and it was just mid-morning.  He apologised for not being great at English and then proceeded to give us pinpoint directions in perfect English.  I gave him a hug, it made his day I think, and we set off for the train.

We arrived in the centre of the city and walked through a park. We decided to have our first Dutch lunch before heading towards some culture while watching pigeons scratting about for pizza scraps.

Titchy had, in her usual way, been incredibly well organised and bought us tickets for the Van Gogh Museum, it turns out it was a good job that she had as there were no tickets available to walk-ins and many tourists were huffing and puffing around all upset that they couldn’t get in.

We spent around two hours in there and I have to say that it was all very impressive.  I managed to ear wig a number of private tours that were being given and dig a little deeper into Van Gogh’s life and the meaning behind a lot of his paintings.  Not only did this feel like it added a lot of depth to the visit but also made me feel like I had got something for nothing, which is always a great source of joy.

We left the museum, a hotbed of culture, and walked with the kids through another hot bed but of quite the different sort of culture.  They loved it.  They walked with eyes wide open taking in the sights, and smells, of Amsterdam life.  All said and done, it’s fun for a quarter hour or so and then, suddenly, it becomes a little tedious and a little, well, tacky.

There are lots of groups of ‘lads’ walking around on their weekend breaks and they are lurching and out of control, bouncing off walls and lampposts with their eyes pointing in different directions.

We checked out the dozens of little shops selling the cannabis paraphernalia, the clogs, the windmills and Rasta hats, they were a source of fun and frolics for the kids but left us with a lot of questions that were hard to answer!  The two oldest spent the entire day asking if they could get stoned and being gutted when we refused!

Weary and tired after a day of walking, we headed back to the car and made our way to the Air BnB we had booked.  It was in a little commuter village called Bussum, directly on the railway line into Amsterdam and therefore perfectly placed for us to head back into town the following day. 

It was a lovely family home in a very quiet suburb and was just what we needed.

The kids had a PlayStation with FIFA 2022 and so we lost them for a little while. The only issue with the Air BnB was that we had to park a good ten minute walk away from the house due to parking restrictions.  It wasn’t too much of a problem as the house was quite lovely and had a lovely garden area where we sat and played cards in the lovely crisp summer night with the sounds of birds chirping to remind us how relaxed we were.

It had been a good day and we were tired but excited about another trip to ‘The Dam’ tomorrow.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s