Although it was our plan to just eat at the hotel on the first day in order to have an easy start, we were faced
with a problem: there was only a
buffet costing $22 euros per person.
For someone who eats granola and yogurt or toast and peanut butter every day without fail (jen) this seemed like a bit of overkill. Even me, who likes to think that I can eat a lot, is usually outpriced by a buffet. We turned to the streets of Amsterdam to find our breakfast. As it turns out we were much too early (9am) for most places. In the Amsterdam Central station is a cafe on the second level. Jen had an apple pancake and I had a Brie sandwich. Yes – a Brie sandwich. Made with probably half a wheel of Brie. Seriously, they are just giving the stuff away here.
Following this we wandered the streets of Amsterdam for 7 or 8 hours, covering what I would estimate to be 15 to 20 km. After paying 2.60 euro each the prior day to travel 3 blocks we were both feeling a bit burned by amsterdam transit and were doing out best to spite it. One highlight of our day was the
Homomonument – a tribute to gays persecuted during the holocaust. The figure is in the shape of a triangle to represent the symbol gay men were forced to wear in the camps.
On my must-see list while in Amsterdam is the Anne Frank House. It is right near the Homomonument so I was hopeful we could see them at the same time. The line up to get into the museum was crazy, literally around the block. We opted to come back another time.
We then headed off to the Van Gogh Museum. If I could sum this up with one word it would be, “meh.” For the serious Van Gogh fan only.
This left us very far from the hotel but we were stubborn and walked all the way back. On our way we stopped in some shops and searched high and low for the elusive grocery store.
We are staying at the Movenpick Amsterdam, yet another priceline find.
Our hotel has one good feature – the sauna. It actually has 2 saunas. One which will burn your skin off and one which will re-warm you from the bone chilling wind and cold. The 2nd one is my favorite and we have been going nightly.
Oh! And in spite of having the most overpriced and underdelicious food I have ever been offered in a hotel there is one redeeming item – room service pizza. Reasonably priced and delicious. Added bonus of free pop.
I like to call this day coffee and shopping in Amsterdam. In order to get the best of the tram system we purchased a day pass. Thus allowing
us to hop on and off as we please, maximizing our money saving opportunities.
First things first we knocked off the obligatory museum (I have a strict one museum/church per day policy). The Rijkmuseum is a beautiful old building filled with Dutch treasures. Many paintings including Rembrandts and others. Part of the museum is closed for renos so that shortened the visit up significantly.
Then we took the tram back through a a shopping district. I bought some lovely new campers. We went to the Dutch H&M!! It was so fun! We had many coffees and I felt very European. Especially when I had to pay to get into the bathroom. So strange.
After this we actually did find a grocery store and stocked up on some items for the hotel room so we could stop spending 30 euro on every meal. Groceries here are surprisingly cheap. And cheese is practically free. I am in cheese heaven.
After another sauna adventure (omg european dudes, put on some shorts) and a lengthy planning session regarding Wednesday we both passed out.
“Cats in Amsterdam on Leashes”
These dapper little fellows were seen first thing in the morning as we departed on our journey, outside a coffee shop in a cloud of green smoke. Upon returning 8 hours later they were still chilling out.