We completed the river cruise in Amsterdam. Sailing the last bit was rather dull, both weather and sights as we entered the main shipping areas and competed with barges carrying up to 72 containers. Yikes! Eventually we docked and were off on our last day of sightseeing. We chose a bus and canal boat trip with a bit of a stop for free time right in the historic area.
First a canal cruise, battling with a closed roof and rain to get any photos. In general the gorgeous Dutch architecture with tall, narrow houses with stepped or curved gables, multiple bikes at every available place, including bike parking stations floating on the canals, houseboats licenced by the city and pretty bridges that lifted or curved.
A bus trip followed around the major sights. The traffic in Amsterdam is horrendous; un-coordinated traffic lights meant we stopped every 100 metres or so. It helped somewhat to orient us to the city but the only thing I clearly remember was the windmill a little outside the centre. Oh dear! It was a night to pack and say farewells.
Off the boat at about 9am in grey and windy drizzle, to our B&B room overlooking a canal on the edge of the red light district. It was an excellent location for sightseeing, getting the laundry done and finding reasonable meals. http://velvetamsterdam.com/ Breakfast was brought to the door in a hamper and was more than adequate and host David was very helpful.
We saw a few ladies in their windows which I hated. Didn’t try the coffee shops. Despaired at the groups of hens and stags rowdying through the streets, had a few good meals including Dutch asparagus, huge white stalks with egg dressing, exceptionally tender and tasty. Didn’t get to the Keukenhof Gardens because of the rain so no fields of tulips, though they would have been mostly finished anyway.
Verdict: Interesting and some major highlights, but wet and cold and bad for Nick’s chest. Sorry Amsterdam!
Next stop: Belgium