Home -> Europe -> Netherlands -> Travelogue Netherlands -> 23 March 2006
Thursday 23 March, to Amsterdam
We go away for a few days again, this time in our own country. It is the first time this year and not planned at all. It's because we are having breakfast at Schiphol tomorrow, so we took two extra days. We are invited by Flyglobespan who start a new flight between Amsterdam and Glasgow tomorrow. Through our Scotland website they want to promote it and to inform more people and so we were invited for a festive Scottish breakfast. After some hesitation (because it is so early) we agree.
From the station we first walk to the rear side where from the Ruyterkade we have a view of the IJ that separates the city center from North Amsterdam. It is cold, inclement and windy weather, but fortunately the sun is shining.
From the station, which is largely in scaffolding, we first walk via the Rokin to Dam Square, the heart of the city. In the 13th century a dam was built in the Amstel on this spot, creating a connection between the various settlements on both sides of the river. In the course of time, the top of the dam became wider and a square was created. The palace on the Dam needs some maintenance, we conclude. People seem to be already working on the restoration that will cost around 70 million euros. There goes the queen's money!
From the Dam we walk into the Kalverstraat, probably the most famous street in Amsterdam for those who do not live there but have played (the Dutch) Monopoly. With this cold weather it does not look like the busiest shopping street of Amsterdam and perhaps the whole of the Netherlands and one of the most expensive in the world. Halfway we come across this hidden door, the entrance gate of the former citizen orphanage, where the Amsterdam Historical Museum now resides. Behind it seem to be nice courtyards, but we read that on the internet only after our trip.
The canals lie around the center of Amsterdam like onion rings and we cross a lot of bridges, coming from the center. And, of course, many canal boats that show tourists Amsterdam from the water. We will do that sometimes when it is warmer and more pleasant.
With a large arc through the center of Amsterdam we arrive at the Rembrandtplein with, of course, a central statue of Rembrandt and before it some figures from the Night Watch, his famous painting. The square is surrounded by catering establishments and it is time that we warm up from the cold outside so we enter a café within. Not only on the street, but also in the café's and restaurants it is quiet, as if everyone is hiding at home for the cold weather.
When we have warmed a bit we take the route along the Stopera and over the deserted Waterlooplein to the Jodenbreestraat. Here is the former lockkeeper's house, now café the Sluyswacht, of the Sint Anthonie lock. The 17th century lock not only regulated the drainage of the Amstel, but was also a defense point against enemy ships. Now the lock is still used to refresh the water from the canals now and then. Opposite the café is the Rembrandt House where Rembrandt van Rijn lived for almost 20 years until he was put out because he went bankrupt (partly due to the purchase of this house!). Now there is a museum housed, obviously dedicated to Rembrandt.
We walk back slowly through all kinds of nice small streets that tell us more about the history of the city and arrive at the Central Station in the dark. We have made a long trip through the city of which we have only given a short impression here. We are tired, time to get on the train and from Schiphol with the hotel bus to our room.But the 2 buses of the hotel are both broken down and we have to wait for more than an hour for replacement transport to be arranged. It has also started to rain so we are very happy when we can pout on the heating in our room. Ah, our own fault, who is going to visit Amsterdam in March!?