Regen regen ga weg! (Rain rain go away!)
A lie-flat bed on a plane is nice, but man there’s no substitute for a proper bed in a proper building. Slept like a log, no dramas with jet lag, let’s go see what Amsterdam has to offer us today…
The first thing was rain. Then some rain, followed by even more rain. It’s been our constant companion today, not stopping for a second.
Brekky was at “The Alley”, where they do a wicked Iced Coffee, all the other food was also nice, did a good job of setting us up for the day. Next stop was the closest possible shop to stock up on umbrellas – €5 won’t get you a luxury umbrella, but it will get you something to keep (most of) the rain off, so that’s a win!
Next up, and I’m still not sure if this was the best choice after breakfast, was a visit to the ‘sexmuseum’. It had its funny parts, informative parts, and of course a lot of private parts… all in all it was a bit odd, but nice at least to think we’re in a country where you’re able to be so matter-of-fact about such things.
Soon we were back out in the rain – and it must be said that even in the rain it’s still a beautiful city. Spotted a few nice things, like on-street recharging for electric cars, ducks in the canals, mini traffic lights for bicyclists, and even an ING branch (I used to work for ING). After some drinks at The 5 Bells (including Perry’s “spiked” milkshake with Cointreau in it) – it was time to take a nice long walk, followed by the chance to quite literally chill out…
The Ice Bar – where it’s 10 degrees below zero and the drinks are served in glasses made of ice. We were given nice heavy warm coats to wear and some gloves, to keep the cold at bay. I really felt sorry for the lady who was in there with open-toed shoes though. The glasses made of ice which is all well and good, except when Perry’s ice-glass managed to develop a hole, just what you need when it’s 10 degrees below zero and you suddenly have vodka-and-orange leaking out of your ice-hole (sorry). Before any icicles started to form we got out of there back into the (comparative) warmth of Amsterdam. And yep back into the rain.
When it’s raining and miserable, whats usually the best course of action? That’s right – staying indoors with nice hot cup of coffee and a blanket and something good on TV. But when on holiday, the rules go out the window – every minute counts, so we kept on walking, getting a bit away from the centre of town. Not exactly into suburbia, but a good few canals away from Central Amsterdam, to visit the Heineken Experience. But first a belated lunch-stop at ‘Cafe Kale’ – not as vegetarian or hippy as it name may suggest – but a nice place to sit and watch the world go buy and have some tasty food. Proper Dutch croquettes – check! And it was very fancy how vodka and orange was served as a glass with the vodka and ice, and a separate little flask of orange juice – exactly the right amount to fill the glass. I guess this doubles the amount of washing up they had to do, but still, it looked cool 🙂
After some more walking and another chance to get well acquainted with our umbrellas, we arrived at the Heineken Experience. Formerly a large brewery, it stopped brewing in the 80s and became a museum a few years after. Or maybe less museum, more giant Heineken advert… but still it was interesting and entertaining, plus free beer – so that generally adds up to a win! Since we were nearly 2.5kms away from the hotel, we figured catching a tram back would be a good idea. Once we found a tram stop, we soon realised everyone else in town had exactly the same idea, there was no way we were going to fit. Maybe next time.
This has already gone on way too long – so to summarise: tapas for dinner (with a visiting cat, which was nice, but keep an eye on your calamari), followed by a walk past some of the houses of the red-light district (which seems so much more sensible, and safe, compared to standing on a freezing street corner), nutella ice cream for dessert (I’ll be back!), and finally back to the hotel to tap away at the computer for a bit, hit the ‘publish’ button, and collapse into bed.
Big day tomorrow which I am really looking forward too – heading to Den Haag to see where Perry’s Mum used to live, then on to Eindhoven to catch up with Gerda and Uco, two relatives I haven’t met yet in person. It could be seen as a downside that they’re basically on the opposite end of the country. But on the upside, that’s only about 90 minutes away on the train. Living in a smaller country really has its benefits!