Day 6 - "Adventures in Navigating" - Den Bosch to Amsterdam
June 15, 2013
We slept in this morning. The wedding reception went long, so we stayed in bed a little longer than normal. Though I feel like this is a running theme. We normally don't sleep this long. Then again, we normally are racing around like freaks and can barely function by Day 3. So I think we are making better choices.
The decision was made the day before about breakfast. As we asked from the train station to the hotel on the first day, we passed a shop. A pastry shop. Jan de Groot seemed to be everywhere. Or their pastries did. Signs were in many windows saying the shops served Jan de Groot pastries. Since we knew where the original shop lived, we figured we could just stop there. By the time we got there, a line was out the door. ALWAYS a good sign. We picked up two pastries and a cookie and went along our merry way. On the way back to the hotel, we talked about getting a coffee or something to drink, but neither of us were feeling the love on the hot drinks, so we went back to our favorite place...La Place. This is the shop we've stopped at twice in two days now. Luckily, we saw another person this time. Our guy from the last two days wasn't there. Whew. Orange juice was had. Perfect.
We met up with Rolf and Cornelia at 11a. They were nice enough to drag us to Amsterdam. I was kind of hoping they'd just drop us off at our hotel, but I didn't want to be too greedy. They needed to be near Centraal Station, so we could be dropped off too. It was nice to not have to worry about anything with getting to Amsterdam. No train stops. No luggage...ummm...lugging. And it was excellent to see someone else struggle with driving. Parking issues are the same in any large city. Rolf did find a place to park. I desperately hope they found their car again.
Once we found Centraal Station, we left Rolf and the family and we figured out where we needed to go. There were trams all up and down the station (HUGE station, btw) and we had no idea how they worked. I saw there was a Metro stop around the area of our hotel, so I decided to go the Metro route. Which was a fine idea in theory. The issue was it was a haul from the stop to the hotel. At a certain point, I grabbed Elias's bag and dragged both of them. It was at that point that I told Elias we would hire a car to get to the airport on Thursday morning. The thing that actually saved us was the map on my phone. I had pulled it up on my phone before we left Den Bosch and just left it there. We didn't go the wrong direction once!! This is a huge deal for me at this point, so...
After getting settled into the room (more on that later), we figured out what we wanted to see today. I hadn't booked anything for today because I didn't know what we were going to feel like or when we'd even get to town. We figured we should start with a canal tour. I found a few places we could chose from. It's like Chicago. There really isn't a bad tour you can take.
We found a tour through Holland Lines. Perfect. Very fitting. As we walked up to the ticket counter, there was an American lady who was yelling out to see if anyone wanted to buy her six tickets. Apparently this was a closed boat and she wanted an open one. I rolled my eyes as she kept getting louder and louder and how she kept lowering the price when it was clear that no one was going to take her up on her offer. It was just such a form of Ugly Americanism. I get that she isn't taking the tour she wanted, but she could have asked the question. And no matter what, suck it up. There's no reason to make a scene.
The canal tour we took (closed boat, thank you very much) was a great first start to Amsterdam. We saw many of the sights, and most that we aren't going to actually see at any other time. I did have to lean over Elias several times to try and take pictures (I was shooting into the sun most of the time, so my pictures will be a little meh...). That's what he gets for wanting the window seat.
Elias and I have problems every time we travel together. He and I are always on different food schedules. I eat a hearty breakfast. He would rather go hungry (or just doesn't have a breakfast appetite). By the time he is hungry, I'm not. And at the end of the night, we are desperately looking for food because we waited too long. And that was the case today as well. We didn't eat lunch until 330p. And honestly, I could have gone to bed without eating again. But around 730p, he was hungry and we were looking for food. I just hadn't planned ahead enough for food in the area we were in. So we walked up and down a few streets..some of the seedier streets. We decided to head back to the hotel and see the food situation around there. Which...not the best idea. By the time we got back and looked around, it was late. 9p-late. Restaurants are not open for much longer. So we asked the front desk. She found a place with €40+ three course menu. Not interested. While I don't mind paying that, I need to know its a good place. And not something someone just googled as I was standing there. We ended up at the hotel's restaurant. It wasn't bad at all. It was just not what we had planned. The bright side, we have ideas for tomorrow. One is a reservation we've had for a few weeks.
Since today was a light day overall, I figured it was time to make notes about what I love in this area of Europe so far. Ready??
I love glass bottles of water. I don't love paying for them, but I love getting them. Somehow, the water tastes better. And it just feels classier.
Bicycles are great. It's not just the bikes that are everywhere, but the things people do with the bikes. Dudes riding on another dude's handlebar (Amsterdam is very gay friendly, but this is not "code"). Girls on the back seat of their boyfriend's bike (not "code"). Babies in baskets or wheelbarrow's attached to bikes. It is all good. Though no helmets. Weird. There are also decorated bike baskets. Love the flowers woven into the baskets. It's just cute.
Guys wearing scarves. Enough said.
Tomorrow is a full day in Amsterdam. It should be a better feel for us. Now that we have kind of figured out how to get around. Kind of...