The wifi at the hostel isn’t working, so I can’t post this onilne yet but will keep plugging away. Based on how quickly I forgot everything the woman said at the basilica, I need to keep recording my impressions as and when I have them.
I was super tired this morning, dreading having to hang around all day in Paris on Saturday, don’t know what I was thinking booking such a late train. Didn’t want to miss out on doing fun things in Paris, I suppose. I went to Starbucks when it opened at 7, and waited there for an hour until I could take the metro out to my hostel.
I’m staying about 15-20 mins away from the centre. I picked this place because it was cheap, but especially because it’s a women-only hostel. Amsterdam being Amsterdam, I didn’t want to be staying somewhere near the centre filled with people partying it up all night. Not that women can’t be just as bad in that department, but I thought the distance from the centre and the female-only thing combined would make it a bit calmer.
I dropped off my bags after 8 and then just mooched around the central city like a zombie. I had my laptop with me, which weighs an absolute ton, so that combined with being exhausted and having a sore back meant that I didn’t do very much. I’m sure I’m going to be an absolute cripple by the age of 50 or something. I can walk around for hours with no problems, but standing for long periods, like I did during the 2-hour+ basilica tour yesterday, absolutely kills my back. Unfortunately, it doesn’t just start to ache, the muscles start to spasm and then after that the muscles just seem weak for days on end, so that I had to keep stopping to rest today like an old woman. Crap.
So that meant I spent the morning wandering around taking pictures of pretty buildings, of which there are many, and sitting on benches in the sunshine, of which there are also many. I had a healthy lunch of poffertjes, fluffy little Dutch pancakes covered in butter and icing sugar and maple syrup, which I had fond memories of from when I used to go out with a Dutch guy. They cost a fortune and I felt a bit sick after eating 15 of them, but they were yummy!
There are soooo many tourists, including a weirdly high number of Australians. Two couples were sitting behind me at the poffertjes place, one of whom actually said “that’s noice, that’s deefferent” about the notion of taking a train from Paris to Amsterdam. Their conversation turned on the fact that they all had only boys, and one described the experience of changing his baby granddaughter’s nappy for the first time (I’ll have to ask you to imagine the broad Aussie accent) “So I take the nappy off, and there’s no gear stick mate! Whaddaya do with that?”
After lunch I came back to the hostel for a much-needed nap in a real bed. I slept soundly for about 3 hours then forced myself up, in to the shower and back out into the city. I had planned to go to Anne Frank’s house, because I’d read it was best to go in the evenings (it’s open till 9), but there was a line in which I didn’t feel like waiting, so I mooched about some more, had falafel for dinner for the second time in two days (not as good as the Parisian version, I must say) and then right after I left the falafel place it started absolutely pouring down, some of the heaviest rain I think I’ve ever seen, so I ducked into the nearest pub, which conveniently had English cider and thus kept me happy for a couple of hours.
I’m not really sure what I’ll be doing tomorrow, definitely don’t want to be rushing around making myself miserable. I think I’ve decided to strike the Van Gogh museum off the list of possibles, since I don’t really like Van Gogh in any particular way. I’m still in two minds about the Rijksmuseum – most of it is closed for renovation, and the entry price does seem quite dear considering, but the best works are supposed to be on display, so maybe it’s a good chance to get the edited highlights without museum fatigue setting in. And I definitely would like to get to the Anne Frank house before I go.
Here's some of what I saw on my travels!
Here's some of what I saw on my travels!