Arrival at House of Locatelli

Trip Start Sep 22, 2007
Trip End Oct 06, 2007

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Where I stayed
House of Locatelli - (upper floors of 17th century canal house)

Flag of Netherlands  ,
Tuesday, October 2, 2007

We finally arrive in Amsterdam.  I have reviewed the maps and am sure I know where to go. and take a ring road and turn off toward the center but nothing then seems to match what the map told us.  We had arranged to meet the landlady at the apartment at 4:00, but time is flying and we are going to be late.  The streets are narrow, crowded, one-way, split by canals, paralleled by bike lanes, shared with trams, swarming with pedestrians - more crowded even than Shanghai or Beijing.  We finally pull over near a school and run out to get a better map, then figure out where we have to go.  None of this is reflected in photos - I am too busy trying to figure out where we were to take pictures of strange places.

Finally  we went our way to the correct location, a one-way one lane street running along a canal --- ... and a miracle happens!!!!  We find a parking space right beside the canal, right in front of our house!!!  The lady is there, I give her a couple hundred Euros cash deposit and she give me the keys and a tour of the apartment.

The place is great.  It's centrally located on Princengracht between Leidsestraat and Speigelgracht - just down the canal a little ways from the Anne Frank House and only about a ten minute walk from the Rijksmuseum.  We enter a narrow passageway with our luggage but have to have to drop a lot of it in the entrance to be able to negotiate the narrow stairs.  Although all the luggage is hard to pack up the stair, the stroller is the most awkward, nearly jamming in the stairwell as we struggle up the stairs before we come to the first of our 3 floors. 

Our first floor is where our two bedrooms are.  They are both large, ours on the front facing the canal, and Emily and Gary are at the back of the building.  The main bathroom is a huge room between our two bedrooms.  Our room has huge windows that open wide - it is planned that way so furniture can be hoisted up from the ground and brought in through the windows.  I love the view from our windows, the narrow street, the canal, trees, the soft wind.

The steps to the next floor are also a narrow spiral staircase with thick solid wood steps, the original ones from the 1600's I would guess.  The fourth floor contains our kitchen, a laundry room with another toilet in it, a ... (hmm.. I'll call it a pantry) with small refrigerator and shelves for dishes, food, etc.  Also on our second floor are a sofa and a door leading outside to a rooftop garden terrace.  It is pleasant out there when it isn't raining - but all I see are the back of other buildings and other people's terraces.

Our third floor is an attic loft with dormer windows providing light.  There is a large opening cut into the ceiling of our second floor (the floor of our third floor) with a very weak, wobbly rail around it.  I presume that hole had to be cut there to haul furniture up to the loft.  There is also a double bed up there (or is it queen?) and a television.

The apartment is very comfortable.  We like having our own place rather than staying at a hotel.  It feels like home.  Rita is pretty nervous about the stairs, climbing and descending them as little as possible, but she will become used to them over our days in Amsterdam.

After hauling all our things into the apartment, Gary and I head out to the airport, and after circling around and wending our way there, we finally manage to beat aside traffic and occupy the correct lane taking us to the airport and the car return location.   It seems that we didn't cause any great damage to the car and they let us out of there without any additional charges.  We have fun taking the train back to Centraal Station, then board a tram to our place. 

Everyone is starving so we run out and discover the wild and crazy night life just around the corner.  The Chinese food we take back to the apartment is mediocre, but satisfies our hunger.  It's good to be in the city, and we are looking forward to exploring it.

PS:  After arriving home... back in Canada, we discover two sad things happened that night we arrived in Amsterdam.  I left a bag of very very good chocolate from Bruges in the glove compartment of the car, and we managed to get a speeding ticket on our way to the airport, joining the one from Arnhem.  I tried to wire the money to the bank they specified with the ticket, but the wiring charges to Europe were higher than the two tickets, so I couriered them.
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