Sunday, April 16

Amsterdam, Day 3: A Wonderful Lack Of Direction

We actually managed to leave the hotel at a decent hour this morning. The plan was to make our way to The Pancake Bakery for breakfast, but on arriving we found that it was a lunch/dinner affair only and so opened a few hours later. Instead we managed to find an excellent little cafe on a side road in which we enjoyed a fabulous home cooked breakfast. I often get puzzled looks when I tell people I've had some of my best times on holiday in cafes just absorbing the atmosphere of the place - if these people were with us for breakfast they'd understand.

It was also then that we begun to notice the many literal red lights in the area, signals for the women inside the houses upon which they hung - and if the lights didn't warn/invite you the women themselves dancing in the windows would! It was actually quite unsettling trying not to look; most of them were so bad I wished I never did!

Since it was a Sunday, everything was shut till noon. We managed to kill time looking at the Dutch architecture/hoes and shopping, and we also spent some moments at the flower market (I had an order of 18 red wooden tulips I had to fulfill. I think I got ripped off, but hey). But then it was then time for lunch so we made our way back to The Pancake Bakery where we enjoyed a relatively nice lunch (consisting of pancakes and various fillings, funnily enough).

It was then back to business. We visited Amstelkring Museum, which used to be a triplet of houses with, get this, a wonderful secret Catholic church in the loft. Like Anne Frank's place, this was also nicely preserved giving us an insight of how things used to be.

The last thing we wanted to see was The Old Church. Unfortunately there was a service being held there (it being Easter) and so we had to make do with merely climbing its tower. I say "make do", but this turned out to be one of the, if not the best thing we did in Amsterdam. A view of the city from fifty metres up has to be experienced if you ever visit, and I'm surprised a point of this isn't made in all the guides I read or people who had already been there I had asked. Stunning.

Indonesia provided us with dinner again, and since it was our final evening in The Netherlands we treated ourselves to ice cream and waffles afterwards. It was then getting pretty late (well for us anyway) and so we bid our farewells to the city and caught our tram home (we had become pretty good at navigating Amsterdam and its suburbs by then).

Writing this blog made me realise how little, objectively, we had done on Sunday. However it was still more eventful and so enjoyable for me, since it was more about experiencing the city and the people with whom I was traveling than queuing up for museums. Not that I wouldn't have given up the Saturday - I suppose there's a place for all these things in a holiday I'd enjoy.