After waking up after our first night in Amsterdam, we decided that the day would be best spent exploring the city center. We locked our panniers in our rooms and headed off on our bicycles. We stopped at a small café for breakfast – tostis with ham and cheese. I then bought a 1euro postcard to ship back home. It became an unspoken tradition between myself and my parents. Every overseas trip that someone took, a postcard needed to be sent home with a picture of that city. I always send one in the first few days of my holiday, and it never reaches South Africa before I do. Our postal service is shocking, it usually only arrives at our post box 1-2 months later!
We cycled to Dam square, locked our bicycles up and took off on foot. The streets were buzzing. I took a few touristy shots with over sized clogs, weed glasses and the canals. The canals were beautifully eerie. It was still chilly, the leaves were scattered in the water and a sense of coolness hung around. I bought a few small, lightweight gifts at the 5euro store. I’m embarrassed to admit that the little gifts consisted of cheesy clog keyrings and magnets, XXX underwear and little windmill novelties. As they say, “when in Rome” or in this case, Amsterdam.
I fell in love with the clog slippers, but was hesitant to add anything more to my panniers. We walked around to look for Anne Frank’s house, but the queue was around the block. Instead, we admired the little brass statue of Anne, and walked on. When you have limited time in one city, you just have to skip some things.
We cycled to the Rijks museum and took our tourist photos at the large “Amsterdam” sign. We managed to glimpse a few tulips, but they were behind the locked side gates. Next we stumbled across a large park filled with joggers, picnic spots and a large water featured pond. It was a lovely spot to enjoy a delicious butter roll from Lidl.
As we made our way back to the Dam palace, we stopped to do a 9euro canal cruise which was amazing.The captain, Freddie, allowed me to steer the vessel for a few minutes (in the open water of course!). Having been so busy walking and cycling around, we decided that a well earned hot chocolate was in order. We stopped at another small café and relaxed as it got darker outside.
We waited until it was dusk enough to walk around the red light district. I had heard how fun it was to look at all the offerings and in the windows, but I must be honest, I really didn’t feel comfortable seeing the women. In my opinion, a lot of them looked drugged, a hazard of the job? It felt more sad than fun to me, so we headed back to our campsite to relax. What a busy day!