Yesterday we arrived at the airport and ended up finding that our luggage was lost! Hopefully it will arrive today, but in the meantime we drove to our hotel to get started. Yes, Baba is driving for the first time in Europe! It’s a great thing he learned how to drive manual – most of the cars are manual transmission here. Once we checked in, we opted to take the train to Amsterdam instead of driving. After a short 20 minute ride, we arrived at Amsterdam Centraal – a major public transit hub. It is also a huge tourist area as we quickly discovered!
Upon leaving the station, we were greeted by beautiful views of Amsterdam. One thing that really struck me is the sheer number of bicycles. It is astonishing how many people ride bikes everywhere. Also, the marijuana. Wow – lots of marijuana here!
We made our way through the winding streets and swaths of people to the National Monument. This is a public square filed with even more people and almost as many pigeons! Next we went to Pott Change to convert some currency into Euros (€). While there are many places that will do this, my research showed Pott Change to have one of the best conversion rates. The quoted rate was drastically more favorable to us than in any of the airports by a lot.
To really see the many many canals in Amsterdam, we took a ride on the Lovers Canal Cruise. There are many options with varying prices. Some let you on and off over a 24 hour time period while some just make a loop. Ours made a loop and provided snippets of history re-recorded. Our cruise was just over an hour long as well. We passed by Anne Wright’s house, history related to Rembrandt, and buildings with historic significance. A prominent item were the many boathouses. It was stated that new ones aren’t allowed, but the current ones have a vast range of shapes and styles.
Before we went to have dinner, we found the red light district. While we obviously didn’t go into any shops, it was a very vibrant and interesting area! Finally, we searched for where to eat. I prevailed and we ate at Pancakes Amsterdam. These aren’t your American pancakes though (however those are on the menu if desired). Mine was a large thin pancake with grilled chicken, cucumber, and tomatoes embedded. It was quite delicious!
We wrapped up the evening by taking a train back from Amsterdam Centraal to Hoofddorp. It was a short walk from there back to our hotel for the evening. We made several calls but made no progress in determining the status of our missing luggage. Hopefully we will see it soon!
More coming soon when I talk about our journey on Sunday!