Trains, buses, planes and trams

Amsterdam, Netherlands
Tuesday, July 4, 2006

We spent the morning catching up on emails and trying to get accom in Amsterdam.

Then we lugged our backpacks up to the train station and caught the train to Basel.

Then we caught the bus to the airport.

Then we caught the plane to Amsterdam.

Then we caught the tram to our hotel.

Arrived at 7pm and collapsed - not much of a day really - but we are now going out for dinner so we'll see what happens...

Later: we had organised the hotel from the info desk at the airport. The "helpful" guy said that 80euros would be a cheap room and doubted if we would get one. He rang a few places without any luck and then tried the Radio City Inn which had one room left for 60 euros. 60 euros (AUD$100) has been almost our upper limit for accommodation (except Venice) and for that price it is usually pretty spectacular. However, when we got to the Radio City Inn, the building was rundown and in desperate need of some TLC - the only charm it had was the charcoal artworks on the walls done by bored visitors. It was actually a hostel for backpackers under 26 years old - the manager was rather surprised but he had to accept us as we had already paid. He told us the room was normally the owner's office and sent us up a narrow winding staircase.
Our room was a shambles - clean but still a shambles. All the unused furniture was piled in the corner along with the manager's computer and a washbasin. Two single beds took up the rest of the room with barely an inch to spare. Outside the window was a large open area shared by all the surrounding buildings which funneled all the noise from all the other apartments straight into our room.
The shared toilet and shower were out in the hallway and were the size of a postage stamp.
It was the most expensive hovel I had ever seen and I felt like it was some sort of evil joke and that I was once again being taken for a "sucker tourist".

However, it was clean, the mattresses were not saggy, we were tired and hungry - so we stayed. It was not the worst place I have ever slept.

We headed out for dinner to a traditional Dutch place recommended by the manager. It was a gorgeous walk along several canals, passing dozens of art galleries and curio shops. The BOSS fell in love immediately and noted it down as one of the many places she wants to come and live for a year.

Dinner was indeed traditionally Dutch and excellent - meat croquettes and Hotchpotch (beef stew on mashed potato) and little pancakes for dessert (I can't remember the name). The evening was unusually hot and everyone was out in the streets and watching one of the last world cup games on the many large outdoor TV screens. It had been 31oC that day and for the Dutch that is a heatwave.

01 The last of our Swiss francs - chocolate knife
The last of our Swiss francs - chocolate knife
02 Amsterdam
03 Painting on the hostels front wall
Painting on the hostels front wall
04 Amsterdam canal
Amsterdam canal
05 Clog boat
Clog boat
06 Amsterdam street
Amsterdam street
07 Modified motor bike
Modified motor bike
08 The BOSS in Amsterdam
The BOSS in Amsterdam
09 Imagine addressing that street
Imagine addressing that street
10 Biggest chocolate crackles in the world
Biggest chocolate crackles in the world
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