For the sake of expediency, I have opted to talk about lodging and transportation to and around Amsterdam.
Thought Number One: Getting TO Amsterdam
We went to the Andernach train station early for our 9:00 AM train anticipating arriving in Amsterdam around 1:00 PM. What is the old Robert Burns poem about the "best laid plans of mice and men often go awry"?
Although...just a quick sidebar: Are we sure that is what he was saying? That Scottish brogue being more than a tad indecipherable doesn't exactly say that.
But Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain;
The best laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft agley
And lea'e usnought but grief and pain
For promised joy!
But, as I was saying, our plan was to leave Adernach and arrive in Amsterdam in time for a late lunch. But...in a far less poetic rendition..Our plans went to shit.
We arrived at the Andernach Bahn station with time to spare, only to find out that the Regional Express train was running 20 minutes late. No problem (yet) except for the fact that train stations in Germany aren't heated and that left an extra 20 minutes of freezing out bums off.
Tick, tock, tick, tock....20 minutes comes and goes.
After 40 minutes, it became exceedingly clear, that we would miss out Dusseldorf connection for an ICE train into Amsterdam.
|Last one on is a rotten egg|
|Dusseldorf station..looking for a heated place to hang out|
OK...back to the train. The Regional Express train finally showed up in Andernach about an hour and 20 minutes late thus getting us into Dusseldorf around 12:30. Needless to say the ICE train was long gone. We make our way to the Bahn counter to find out that the next ICE train out to Amsterdam is at 5:00 PM which would put us into Amsterdam at around 8:00.
Despite the set back, we found a cafe in the station and bought some Wifi for our Ipads and settled in for 4.5 hours. (I had bought European plans for our Iphones but not our IPads.) The 5:00 train was right on time, letting Bahn earn back a portion of my lost respect for them.
Once we finally made it into Amsterdam it was raining, but thankfully, Hubby had picked a hotel that was less than 5 minutes from the train station.
The Sint Nicolaas...If you ever have occasion to travel to Amsterdam there are a lot of lovely hotels, but you would be hard pressed to find one as charming and as friendly as the Sint Nicolaas.
|Looking toward the train station|
from our window.
After we got checked in we went out for a late supper at an Argentinian Steakhouse and walked around the city center for awhile
I was surprised to see how nice the Amsterdam Christmas Market was. I expected that the German Markets would be superior as they are more widely advertised. but while the Amsterdam market is considerably smaller, the booths had things that I hadn't seen elsewhere. With just 2 weeks before Christmas there were a lot of holiday shoppers out in both the Christmas Market and the Amsterdam shops.
Thought Number Two: Getting Around Amsterdam
The following morning, we were excited to wake up and see sunshine...at least for the time being. It not only rained from time to time but at several points, it snowed.
As for getting around Amsterdam...you can walk just about anywhere but if you need or want other options there are trams, water taxis, (car) taxis and bicycles.
Yes, the bicycles are the normal mode of transportation in Amsterdam. Depending on the website, the numbers vary but I've read articles claiming everything from 80,000 to 881,000 bikes are in the city. (click here for Amsterdam a City of Bikes )
|a portion of the bike parking in front of the train station|
You probably would never need or want a car (thankfully) as parking is a hassle. Our hotel offered a valet service if a person opted to drive into town, but I never quite figured out where a person would park, even for that.
On our first morning, we decided to walk to the Anne Frank House. It was a lovely walk and was less than 15 minutes to the museum. The lines are usually lined up around the block so it is a good idea to buy your tickets online.
Yet another sidebar: As with all things dealing with the atrocities committed and endured in WWII, visiting the Anne Frank House isn't meant to be cheerful. It was interesting and informative and heartbreaking. It had been years since I read her diary, but it was gut wrenching to see the actual diary and walk through the hidden annex. I re-read the book when I got home and found it more meaningful with an advantage of seeing the actual location.
Upon leaving the museum there was a canal boat station within just a few yards from the museums exit. We had purchased 24 hour passes prior to our arrival so, it was just a matter of boarding one of the boats.
The boat tours are a wonderful way to get around Amsterdam. You can buy boat passes for various lengths of time. Within whatever time frame you purchased, you can get on and off the boats as often as you like to visit museums, or any of the cities districts. The boats will pretty much get you to any part of Amsterdam. BTW...all the different companies follow pretty much the same route.
Because of time and space limitations as far as this blog post goes, I won't give you a play by play of every museum, church, monument, shop etc. that we toured. (I hear you collectively sigh the sigh of relief). We managed to see most of the districts with enough time to go back to Dam Square and hit a couple more shops for souvenirs before it was time to retrieve our luggage from the hotel. (We checked our bags at the hotel after checking out earlier in the day.)
On the day of our departure, we were scheduled to catch a 5:00 ICE train into Cologne. Once we were back in Cologne we would catch a Regional Express back into Andernach. Again...Gang Aft Agley. That Robert Burns really knew what he was talking about.
This is the second part of the video that is a compilation of photos from my husband's 2 prior visits and my visit into Amsterdam. The first video that includes the hotel and Anne Frank House pictures was on my last post Two Sided Guilder.
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