The next leg of our European adventure started out by taking a train from Surrey to Gatwick Airport where we were catching a plane to Amsterdam. Now, before anybody gets overexcited about Amsterdam, we were only there for less than 24 hours (1 night) and so we did not get the full Amsterdam experience. Yes, no bike riding along the canals, no canal tours by boat, and we didn’t make it to Anne Frank’s house even! And no, we did not make it to the Red Light District… I think this means we must go back to Amsterdam and spend a little more time there!
After arriving at Schiphol International airport, we took the train into central Amsterdam. And from there, we bumbled around (the Dutch tourism information people were incredibly unhelpful and unfriendly! I was quite unhappy with the service we received). We had reservations to stay at the Hilton Amsterdam (yayyyy Hilton points!!) and were trying to find out how to get there. Finally a shopkeeper told us we were far from the hotel and it was a bit of a walk, and if we wanted a taxi she told us where to get one.
We were also really tired and our feet were crying since we had been walking all day the day before so we hailed a taxi and drove to our hotel. The taxi driver was extremely friendly and told us a little about Amsterdam as well as the Hilton Amsterdam. That a few years ago, a famous dutch painter had thrown himself off the building and committed suicide, and that was the Hilton Amsterdam’s claim to fame (candlelight vigils, mourners, etc.). He was making up for the Tourism and Information people’s downright unpleasantness. And the staff at the Hilton were nice and professional, so we started feeling better after we checked in.
Here are pictures of the Hilton:
[[image:eur50.jpg:The hotel is the building on the left:center:0]]
[[image:eur51.jpg:The view of the canal across from the Hilton:center:0]]
[[image:eur52.jpg:Vin and boats right by the building:center:0]]
[[image:eur53.jpg:Canal view from our bedroom:center:0]]
After settling in, we decided not to waste anymore daylight and bought tickets to the Van Gogh museum right at our hotel! We went by foot, and found the place with no trouble:
[[image:eur40.jpg:Van Gogh Museum:center:0]]
We stayed at the museum until it closed. Vincent Van Gogh is just amazing – he decided to be an artist when he was 26, spent the next 2 years just drawing, then he painted, and he committed suicide when he was 37. He produced hundreds of paintings, thousands of drawings. Amazing!
Sadly, by then it’s getting to be evening and the Anne Frank house was closed by this time, so we decided we would just walk around the city and enjoy being in Amsterdam.
Some obligatory canal photos:
[[image:eur45.jpg:Bicycle along the canal:center:0]]
We ate dinner at an Indonesian restaurant where the food names were in Bahasa Indonesia so I knew how to order. It was really delicious. Sadly, our hotel was a little far from the nightlife. My feet were tired from traipsing around London’s museums, and I really couldn’t see myself walking another half hour to the city center, and then walking back to our hotel (another hour long walk). So we didn’t venture to the red light district, which I really did want to go and see. Hey, I’m a small town girl from Malaysia, what can I say? I want to see something I’ve never seen before! Another time, perhaps.
We had a leisurely walk back to the hotel, enjoyed some snacks at the hotel, slept a little late, and very much enjoyed the breakfast buffet at the hotel. There were all kinds of smoked fish, twelve kinds of breads, lots of fruits, eggs, and all kinds of good stuff. Then it was time to check out, and catch a train to go from Amsterdam to Brussels, and from there to catch our plane to Malaga, Spain.
Next trip to Amsterdam I must do the following:
* Go on a boat tour of the canals
* See the red light district
* Perhaps, sample something from a coffee shop…? (And I don’t mean an iced chocolate!)
Next entry: Malaga, Spain.
[[image:eur43.jpg:Dreaming of Amsterdam:center:0]]