Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Monday, 4/16 Heat Wave in Amsterdam? NOT Quite........

Hello from Amsterdam!  This is how we feel about the lovely "spring" weather:

^architectural element from St. Salvator Cathedral, Bruges

We left Bruges this morning about 10:15, choosing to take a later train so Mom could have an easier start to the day.  When we got to the train station we learned our fate:  The tracks were still not repaired, and we would be taking the alternate route.  Ugh!  The ticket agent said this would entail two line changes and a bus ride, and I wasn't too thrilled about that.  I thought about it for a few minutes, and decided I would ask a different agent.  Surely there was an easier way, as the direct trains to Brussels were still listed as departing.

I stood in line at a different window, and that nice agent said "Sure, you can catch the next train to Brussels, and change lines there for a direct train to Amsterdam--it leaves in 5 minutes from platform 15".  Man, did we hustle right along!  Made it with not much time to spare, and it was a short ride to Brussels then an easy line change and a 2 1/2 hour relaxing ride to Amsterdam Central Station.  A total trip time of about 3 1/2 hours instead of 5-6!

Here's Mom and Dad, so happy to be on the train instead of a bus:

At Amsterdam Central Station I used my handy-dandy international cell phone to call our apartment agency and arrange a  3 p.m. check in time.  We made our way through the station, carefully following the signs, right to the taxi stand.  It was a 15 minute ride to our apartment, where we waited about 20 VERY cold minutes for our greeter.  Here's Mom and Dad in front of our apartment, poor Mom is just freezing in the windy cold:

The view along the canal right in front of our apartment:

Our greeter arrived on a scooter, unlocked the front door for us, and ....aaahhhh it was warm inside!  Our greeter was just delightful, and gave us some handy hints for getting around Amsterdam and marked some points of interest on a map for us.  We completed the check in procedure, filled out paperwork and Dad forked over several hundred Euros.  The apartment is nice and roomy, and in an excellent location.  The one downside is the steps down to the main bedroom--they are quite steep.  But Mom seems to handle them fine.

We warmed up for a for a few minutes and planned our Tram route for the afternoon.  Our plan was to take the tram to the area around the Anne Frank House, have a late lunch/early dinner, and then go to the museum for our 7 p.m. reserved time slot.

Hmmmm....I'm not familiar with the public transportation system here like I am in Paris, and it was a bit of a challenge to navigate.  With the help of a kind lady at our first tram stop, we were on our way.  We made one line change, and encountered an extremely rude driver who yelled at Mom because she didn't know how to use her ticket.  I told him to take it easy on her--and I wasn't shy about it, either!  He was really rude--but that's his problem.  One great thing about Amsterdam's tram systems--no stairs to climb, and that's much easier on Mom.

We arrived at our stop and easily found The Anne Frank House and Museum, and the looooong lines snaking around the corner!  We are glad we have our tickets--no waiting in line for us.  The first order of business was to get some lunch--by now it's after 4 and our breakfast was many hours ago.  We chose the first spot we came to--it was warm!  Have I mentioned that it's damn COLD here????

It was an old pub-like place, with a marginally nice bartender/waiter.  We sat down and perused the mid-day menu, and ordered some HOT food.  Dad and I each ordered a pasta dish, and Mom had a bowl of HOT chicken soup.  They each had a beer, a "Texels", and it was quite good.  I had a cup of HOT tea.
Here's our lunch:

Portobello Spinach Gorgonzola Walnut Penne--this is what I ordered, it was OK, but the cheese was so strong that it was ammonia-like.

Dad's Spaghetti Carbonara--he said it was very good:

Mom's HOT Chicken Soup:

And the best part, Texel beer:

After our late lunch/early dinner, we still had almost 1 1/2 hours until our time slot at Anne Frank House.  We strolled the pretty streets, crossing a few canals and doing some window shopping.  It was so cold!  I did take my gloves off of my poor frozen fingers to take a few pictures (have I whined enough about the cold weather yet??)

One of the many pretty canal scenes:


More cheese!

A funny pointy house, across from Anne Frank House:

Westerkerk, ("western church") .  Anne Frank often mentions this church in her diary, she can see it from her attic hiding place, and the ringing of the bells brings her great comfort.

The tower of the church:

Anne Frank House

The main door to the house:

Anne Franks's Hiding Place

It was still 45 minutes until our appointed time, but we were so cold that I decided I would ask if we could get in early.  Good news--they weren't too crowded today so they let us in.  I don't have any photos to share, as there was absolutely no photos allowed inside.  This is to preserve the items on display, but most importantly out of respect for the memory of the Frank family.

  It was a very sobering, humbling visit.  I certainly felt an overwhelming sense of sadness, but in a strange way it was also an uplifting experience.  I think Anne Frank would have been proud to know that her short life and her words have inspired so many. 

We decided to take a taxi home, as it was still cold, windy and raining.  Much easier than a tram ride!

Mom settled in for the night, she was pretty tired.   Dad and I walked to the supermarket  right around the corner and stocked up on a few groceries for our next 4 days.  A short walk home in the cold and rain, and we're tucked in for the night, too.

Tomorrow in Amsterdam:  A little shopping in the morning, and the Van Gogh Museum in the afternoon.  Would a little sunshine be too much to ask??


  1. Oh Di, I am so envious. I hope you soak up every visual drop of creation and inspiration at the Van Gogh Museum and maybe you could figure out how to bring one of those beautiful paintings home with you under your jacket... :) By the way . . . I think you are trying to torture me with the pictures of the Cheese Museum!! Sorry the weather is crappy but enjoy every moment that you have with your mom and dad and all the wonderful sights and experiences. Stay warm!

  2. From the pictures you have used, the town looks interesting but not on a par with Bruge. Wow, your pasta looks realy great......maybe the cheese is form the "Cheese" museum!

  3. What great pictures of Amsterdam. And might I add...your a wonderful, loving daughter. Your taking such good care of your parents. Thinking of them every step of the way...and protecting them! I love the blog Di...but tonight I feel warm and fuzzy with the thoughtful things you are doing. They look so snuggy and happy on the train going to Amsterdam...and you did that Di. You got them in the the Anne Frank house early..called on your cell phone to arrange for the apartment manager to show us...even though it was a cold 20 minute wait. Going shopping with Dad for food and allowing Mom to rest...the list goes on... I am very proud of my Diana tonight......

  4. ******** I Ditto Brenda's comments ******************
    Is this your first time in Amsterdam?
    That pointy corner building is unique-
    We're having pasta spaghetti for dinner- thanks for the idea!

  5. Too bad about the cold weather. Your pictures have been wonderful . I am still having some problems with my posts, but have really enjoyed your blog. Your pasta dinners really look tasty!