47 years! That’s how long it had been since I was last in Amsterdam. While living in Brussels, it was an easy drive to this beautiful, bustling, quaint, very Dutch and oh, so international city.
I had 4 days before my next house/pet sit was to begin and since Amsterdam was on the way from Warsaw to the Isle of Man, I thought it was time for a revisit.
The photo above is the first little canal I crossed walking from the Central Train Station (the easiest and cheapest way to get from the airport to the center of town -$2.68 OW) Kevin, my very kind and helpful AirBnB owner had sent me a map and after one wrong turn, I made it to his place without a problem.
I knew I was on the top (4th) floor and that I had to climb stairs to my room, but I wasn’t quite prepared to the amount of stairs nor just how steep they were!
Looking at the photos above, #1 is looking at my place from on the sidewalk. That very top window that isn’t lit is my bedroom! Remember, you can click on any photo to enlarge it to its regular size. Photo #2 is the flight of stairs from the 2nd to the 3rd floor – these were the steepest. Photo #3 is of the lovely common area I shared with Kevin and the kitties. Photo #4 is the view from my bedroom window of the church steeple and clock which is across the way and was originally built in 1242. And Photo #5 is my street lit up at night.
Thankfully, Kevin was available to lug my suitcase up the stairs when I arrived and down when I departed. He even walked me to the underground station and put me on the correct train to Central Station. If you don’t mind stairs, the location of this Airbnb was absolutely perfect for walking and tram-ing all around Amsterdam and Kevin was an amazing host. https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/31312245?source_impression_id=p3_1582369883_eGl1nyVRWX8N578s
The weather wasn’t great the 4 days I had to spend in Amsterdam but what made this trip truly special and memorable was meeting with several board members of the International Women Club. Valerie van der Meulen-Sheppard, Chair of IWC-Amsterdam, arranged a wonderful lunch at the Eye Film Museum. We took the free ferry across the IJ river to this very modern museum which sits at the confluence of the IJ and Amstel rivers and the North Sea.
Joining us for lunch was Lisa Stulp-Joergenson, Special Events and Joanne Wagner, US Welcoming Committee Chair.
We discovered, as I have with members of almost every International Women’s Club chapter I have met with over the past 7 years, that we have so much in common. We shared our stories and talked about our Chapters, The ladies gave me great ideas of what to see and do while in their fair city. We laughed a lot and finally had to be asked to leave as we had overstayed our reservation time and the next party for our table had arrived.
While walking back to the ferry, Lisa offered to ride the tram with me to the correct stop so I could tour the the 9 Streets shopping area. Once we arrived, Lisa decided to go browsing with me. We had a lovely afternoon getting to know each other while wandering in and out of the numerous boutiques and stopping for a repast in one of many pubs that lined each street.
I had pre-booked a 6 p.m. entry to the Van Gogh Museum which is located in the huge museum plaza directly behind the famous Rijksmusem. Lisa walked there with me and during that time we learned we both loved ristaffel – the Indonesian meal of little plates of yumminess that was brought back with the Dutch East India traders.
After watching locals playing hockey for a few minutes on the outdoor rink right in the middle of the Museum Plaza and while I toured the museum, Lisa called her handsome husband, Felix, and he joined us for a delicious dinner at their favorite restaurant where ristaffel was the only thing on the menu.
It was a perfect day. And how do you ever say thank you to someone you just met who willingly gave of their time and knowledge just to make your day in their city so memorable? Lisa – you’re amazing and I am so very grateful!
The other two days I had in Amsterdam were spent walking the streets! Of course, there were cannabis shops everywhere – even a cannabis museum. There were also weird and and wonderful shops – one sold nothing but rubber duckies the other sold blow up dolls! The pastries were hard to resist. The Palace and the Neuwe Kirk were just steps from my Airbnb and I fell in love with the flower market filled with colorful tulips.
On the only sunny afternoon while I was there I just had to take a quintessential canal boat ride. There are lots and lots of companies offering rides from 60 to 90 minutes. I chose one on the quay near the Central Station and for less than $20 spent an hour and a half cruising through the waterways of this wonderful city.
On my last day in Amsterdam the rain returned. But I wasn’t going to let a little rain stop me from visiting one last museum that my good friend Janet said I would thoroughly enjoy, The Museum of Bags & Purses.
This little museum was not far from my Airbnb, so with umbrella in-hand off I went. Below are photos of some of the beautiful, unique, fun and funky handbags, along with a special showing of luxury steamer trunks I saw. They even offer high tea with scones and heavy cream every afternoon in the tea room.
But what made this day different from the rest was while walking through Rembrandt Platz, I slipped and went flying in the air, landing very unladylike in the middle of a busy street! It took 3 very good samaritans to gather my purse, umbrella, phone and me up and out of the street. When one grabbed my left arm I let out a very loud scream. It seems I had landed on that arm/hand and it really hurt.
I did walk the one more block to the Bag and Purse Museum and wandered around for an hour, even having a light lunch and a glass of medicinal Prosecco, but my arm just hurt worse and worse. After Googling my options, I called an Uber and went to the Amsterdam Tourist Doctor’s Clinic. A nice young man in a t-shirt (I’m guessing he was the Dr.) assured me my arm wasn’t broken because I could still move it – even though it hurt like hell! He sent me down the street to the apothecary with a prescription for pain pills and a heavy-duty muscle relaxant.
I Ubered back to my Airbnb and managed to pack for my early-morning flight to the Isle of Man the next day. Bless Kevin for getting me and my bags down those stairs!
This all happened on February 2nd and I still haven’t had a full night’s sleep due to the pain. It is slowly improving – ‘slowly’ being the operative word. The latest diagnosis after finally getting x-rays is 10-12 weeks for a full recovery as I injured my rotator cuff and pulled the tendon. This is the first time in all my years of traveling that I have gotten hurt and finger crossed, it will be the one and only!
But I didn’t want to leave you without a few more photos of all the wonderful things to see, do, eat, drink and shop for while in Amsterdam. I loved Amsterdam and will return again soon – not waiting another 47 years!
Until next time….