We woke to a gloriously, sunny day. Breakfast was downstairs, out the door, over to the next door and down more stairs to the basement. The buffet was simple but filling…..cereals, breads, hard-boiled eggs, lunchmeat, cheese, yogurt and fresh fruits. Each table held a small, bright orange container for throw-away odd & ends…..napkins, butter wrappers, egg shells, etc. Odd, but efficient……and, so far, the only country we’ve seen this in.
After breakfast, we walked to the Westerkerk Markt and bought tickets for the Hop On-Hop Off canal bus. Craig checked the canal map and we started walking toward the stop for the line that cruised to the Rijksmuseum…..according to the map, it was just off the Prinsengracht canal. We walked and walked and walked. I silently questioned Craig’s ability to read a map. We walked and walked and walked some more. I openly questioned Craig’s ability to read a map. Craig re-read the map and assured me we that were on-track. We walked and walked and walked until we finally came upon a canal……the Linjbaansgracht. I took the map away from Craig and we retraced our steps back to the Prinsengracht canal…..next to Westermark Markt……where we started from this morning. I believe Amsterdam’s temperature was cooled a few degrees by my icy stares.
We found the stop and sat down on a nearby bench to await the next boat. Our wait was short……the boat arrived within a few minutes, We helped a young mother get her toddler and a stroller on board and then settled in for a comfortable cruise through the canals of Amsterdam.
It was still sunny but the air near the water was cool so I reached for my coat…..it wasn’t there! Where was it? My mind raced through our activities of the past hour…..ah-ha! I draped it over the park bench when we sat down but overlooked it when we were helping the young mother. Would it still be there when we returned or would I spend the rest of my time in Amsterdam shopping for a new coat? Cripes……it’s always something.
But Craig came out of the doghouse and to the rescue. At our first stop, he disembarked to walk back to the stop…..hopefully to find my coat waiting for him…..and then on to the next stop to meet me and the boat.
After this morning’s misadventure, I was concerned about Craig’s ability to negotiate his way through Amsterdam. As we approached the stop, I craned my neck hoping against hope that Craig would be there. He was! And he was holding my coat!! Ahhhh…..life is good again.
After his marathon speedwalk, Craig needed a break so, instead of disembarking at Rijksmuseum, we stayed on the boat and took another loop (or two) (or three) through the canals…..enjoying the warm sun, the open air and the charming architecture.
When we finally disembarked, it was near closing time at the museum so we walked into town for a late lunch at Hans en Grietje, a small cafe serving Dutch specialities. We sat outdoors next to a narrow canal, perused their menu and placed our order. The beef croquettes we ordered were served piping hot. We eagerly took our first bite of Dutch cuisine……the deep-fat fried cylinders with tiny bits of beef inside were filling…..but doughy and bland. Dutch cooking has nowhere to go but up.
We washed the croquettes down with Heinekens and continued our walk through town. We were running low on funds so we were on the lookout for an ATM. We walked through street after street….never seeing a bank or an ATM. Are they disguised? Hidden in private courtyards? What do other people do for cash? Just as we were about to give up, an ATM sparkled in the distance. We finally found a bank.
We were dead-dog tired as we slowly walked back to the hotel for a short rest before taking an evening stroll through the red-light district……but a short rest turned into a long nap……and then into a deep sleep.
Please don’t wake me,
no don’t shake me
Leave me where I am
I’m only sleeping
– with grateful appreciation to The Beatles