RHINELAND–AMSTERDAM AREA, HOLLAND. Tuesday 2
Trip Start Jun 26, 2011
41Trip End Jul 30, 2011
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North today at first through the industrial Ruhr and then into the green, canal criss-crossed countryside of Holland to the Amsterdam area. Watch the cutting and polishing of precious stones at a famous diamond center. Sightseeing includes an orientation drive with a Local Guide and, finally, a canal cruise to see the town from water level. (B)
Hotel: Tulip Inn Amsterdam West Reimerswaalstraat 5 Amsterdam NL-1069 Netherlands
Tel: 31 2041 08000
Rhineland to Amsterdam
Dutch Dinner & Drive
Enjoy a typical hearty Dutch meal in an authentic 16th century establishment, the Restaurant Haesje Claes, which is part of Amsterdam history
Approximate value: EUR €40 per person
What we did:
Up at 6:15 for 7:30 departure and the best breakfast buffet so far with good buns, passable coffee at the table, and even smoked Salmon. Too bad the hotel has no AC as a lot of people were hot at night. We had to open the windows but the patio noise flows into your room like they were right there. As we boarded the bus I noticed the rear of the hotel backs on a quiet pleasant neighbourhood so that would be good. It was our first Dutch rest stop in the morning and there's always something different. They have coin operated vending machines with hot food in them. So you don’t have to zap your meal, just pop in the coins, retrieve it, and it’s ready to eat. As long as you don’t mind standing because there’s no sit down seating. We arrived in Amsterdam at 11:20 and the Diamond factory at 11:45. We toured it and then had free time until 1:40, at which time we acquired our terrific local guide Martin. We toured the historic canal core area on bus and then Martin accompanied us on a canal boat tour followed by more bus touring. It was all very interesting, informative, well paced and presented. At our last stop we said goodbye to Martin and then Chiara guided us to Dam Square with her white umbrella. The major street Warmoesstraat that we walked down to Dam Square was thronged with pedestrians like NYC Times Square area so it was nice to get there. We had about 70 minutes of free time before supper so we wandered over to the red light district because I guess you have to if you’re in Amsterdamhttp://www.haesjeclaes.nl/ and everyone enjoyed their meals. The incredibly delicious appetiser included smoked Salmon, Herring, smoked Eel, a delicious cheese, among other things. A lot of us tried the local Dutch Hodgepodge which while good, was easily trumped by the appetiser. This is a very large active and popular restaurant which all enjoyed. Outside Giorgio had our bus parked between the car traffic and bike traffic lanes which is normal in Amsterdam but strange to us. This means be on your guard because after you crossed the vehicle lane you could be standing in the bike lane. The flow is constant, they move fast, and may contain motorcycles and scooters as well. I saw a family step off a streetcar into the bicycle lane oblivious to the bikes barrelling down on them. They bicyclists managed to stop but one passed on some choice Dutch words which I understood even though I don’t speak Dutch. We arrived at the Tulip Hotel at 8:30 and after checking in went to the bar to have farewell drinks with special added Aussie antics and songs. We change hotels tomorrow and have another 3 days in Amsterdam before flying home on Saturday. I'll have to put some thought into my conclusions on our tour and post them at a later date.