Friday, August 03, 2012

Ambling around Amsterdam

Wednesday evening

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!

Central train station

Gangsta Miffy

The Nieuwe Kerke (sp?)

Mmm poffertjes

Quite a few buildings have these cute little plaques on them, mostly in clusters


  1. Hi Gwan. From Carnforth Library. Hope you're safely back home now after a better return journey. M x

  2. Bad backs run in my family, so I constantly have similar problems to you. Right before coming home, it was aching like crazy. I went to the doctor (nothing worse than having an aching back on the plane), and after one touch, she could tell that it was bad. Ah, the joy of my genes. Luckily, I don't have it as bad (yet) as most of my family.

    Already you've seen more than in the entire weekend I spent in Amsterdam where my group was more interested in coffee shops than anything else.

    1. I have been blaming my boobs, but maybe I should start blaming my dad instead then! (He always had back probs.)

      Yeah, not to sound like a ridiculous old prude, but I'm sure if I tried I could smoke dope here and I don't particularly want to, so why bother in Amsterdam?

    2. I went to like ten coffee shops and lived with someone who smoked.... I've never ever touched it, and I have no interest. So no, you're not a prude. And if so, I'm in that prude club with you.

  3. Why did the poffertjes cost a fortune? Normally fried doughy items are cheap. Is there something special about them? Like are they fried in truffles and caviar?

    I really hope you make it to the Anne Frank museum. I'd love to see your photos and read your post about it!! Why is it better to go at night? Is it haunted?

    I know, I many questions. Sorry! I know you're trying to enjoy your vacation. Respond when you can. : )

    1. I think because tourists like them. But yeah, 8€ for dough! They are yummy though.

      Ha ha, I don't think tales of Anne Frank's ghost would really go well with the ambiance there! They just say go at night because there are fewer people waiting to get in. Unfortunately photos weren't allowed, but I will have a post about it soon!

      Questions are good! I have been lazy about answering comments but back home now :)

  4. You remind me of the very first solo trip I ever took. It was to Amsterdam because I had got a free plane ticket with he first mobile phone I ever had, which was like a brick! I was so shy I didn't speak to anybody for 48 hours, as people did not speak English then as they do now. I tried to find a cannabis cafe, and did, but didn't know how to ask for it. So never got to experience that! ( I WAS young and foolish!)

    Enough about the "healthy" meal of 15 pancakes etc. LOL! A girl after my own heart...or stomach!

    Love Denise

    1. Oh dear, I hope you had a nice trip regardless! In a way I wish I'd been travelling back when fewer people spoke English - more adventure - although, to be fair, I have been plenty of places where people don't really speak much at all. Ha ha, they were very small pancakes to be fair! I have been eating nothing but rubbish though, not good!


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