our big trip - day 18: Amsterdam

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Up bright and early for a two-day trip to Amsterdam, we walked to the train station from our townhouse, past the astonishingly long line of cyclists heading to work on their bicycles. Amazing for such frozen weather! It was really a sight to behold. I LOVE how the Dutch cycle everywhere.

It's only a short ride to Amsterdam on a local connector train.

And when we arrived, I instantly fell in love. Amsterdam is not like other cities. It's so very, very different, in so many ways - and is so much more industrial and sea-faring than I thought it would be. I practically fell over myself to take photos. My family is extremely patient with my photo-taking, but they had to extend that patience ten-fold in Amsterdam! Oh, the history of this city. Astonishing.

We walked and walked and walked and walked this amazing city, all the while hoping for snow. We had just missed snow about five times on our travels! so it was really frustrating. Then - at about 3pm, little flutters started to come down.You can see some in the bottom of the photo below. Sadly, it didn't last long.

On the way to Anne Frank Haus, we walked east along Raadhuisatraat, stopping for a spot of hopscotch . . .

And, after Anne's House, which can I just say, is one of my Life Moments {yes, absolutely, it's a MUST-see - I still can't believe I walked the same stairs as those gestapo and stood there staring at Anne's actual diary - breathtaking}, we headed south and walked the canals, coming across this divine lane, packed with all things blossoms and tulips. Heaven! How I wanted to snaffle a million bulbs and take them home with us.

After a full day's walk, we stopped in the late afternoon at a bar we ended up frequenting quite a bit - Cafe de Doelen on Kloveniersburgwal. More heaven, especially that adorable cat and warm appelgebak {gebak means cake}. My, the Dutch language intrigues me. How I'd love to learn it.

More walking, we loved walking past Nieuwmarkt square and its striking building - the Waag. This was originally a gate within the city's Medieval walls, and the square has been used as a market place since the 17th century, when the surrounding dams were filled.

Chillingly, this square was also used by the Nazis to corral Jews before sending them on to concentration camps. The thought is too much to bear.

As the daylight began to fade and we headed back to the hotel, snow began falling again. Below right you'll see Riley trying to catch some flakes and Ella taking photos! And - much to our joy - it just got heavier and heavier. By dinner time, there was half an inch on the ground and we skimmed across its surface on the way home.

But it was the next day that the real fun began . . .

We stayed at the Hotel Luxer in Amsterdam - right on the edge of the red light district. It was a fabulous hotel - gorgeous rooms and foyer, great staff, sensational breakfast, quiet, safe and really affordable {we got a quadruple room}. We loved being so close to sensational cafes and restaurants - and you can absolutely avoid 'those' nearby streets.

distance travelled: 19,520km

our big trip - days 1 + 2: Melbourne
our big trip - day 3: Flying to Europe
our big trip - day 4: London
our big trip - day 5: London
our big trip - day 6: London
our big trip - day 7: London
our big trip - day 8: London
our big trip - day 9: Leyland
our big trip - day 10: London
our big trip - day 11: Paris
our big trip - day 12: Paris
our big trip - day 13: Paris
our big trip - day 14: Bruges
our big trip - day 15: Bruges 
our big trip - day 16: Bruges and The Hague
our big trip - day 17: The Hague
our big trip - day 19: Amsterdam
our big trip - day 20: The Hague
our big trip - days 21 + 22: Brussels
Two days lost with travel and travelling east
our big trip - days 25 + 26: Bangkok
our big trip - day 27: Kanchanaburi
our big trip - days 28 - 32: Cha Am Resort
our big trip - day 33: Hua Hin
our big trip - days 34 + 35: Coming Home

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