What do you do with just one full day in Amsterdam? Well, I’ll tell you what we did with ours, on Sunday July 8, 2007.
1: Breakfast at accommodation
We stayed at Hotel Piet Hein, in the middle of downtown Amsterdam. I noted in my journal that I appreciated the fact they served breakfast ’til 11am, so we could sleep in a bit, and then enjoy a fantastic continental breakfast. I was REALLY happy about this. In my journal I recorded the things we ate: toast, sandwiches with meat, cheese, and tomatoes, eggs, condiments, granola, yogurt, cereal, two juices, and also “just a tonne of stuff”. Not all continental breakfasts are so great… so this is definitely worth a mention… even though this information is super-old by now.
Amsterdam’s main square… otherwise known as “Dam Square”…?
2: Van Gogh Museum
All I had to say in my journal was that I really liked it, and that I found all the Contiki tours people very annoying. There must have been a lot of them in the museum at the same time. I wrote, “Those Contiki tour people are annoying and EVERYWHERE.” I guess when you’re young and, um, party-ish, and you join a Contiki tour to Amsterdam, the Van Gogh Museum is just a stopping point you can tell your parents back home about, just to take a bit of the focus off your party-tourism. Van Gogh deserves better, people!
We do a lot of map-looking when traveling. Usually…
3: Rijksmuseum… and getting lost looking at shoes
Admission to the Rijksmuseum was ten euros, and we hadn’t hit an ATM for the day yet, and only had 10 euros on us… so I told Andrew to go ahead on his own, and I’d just wander the streets alone. I had a great time checking out every shoe shop I could find (there were MANY — yay!) however, I wandered far away and panicked when I realized I’d be late getting back to the museum where Andrew would be waiting for me. So I ran toward the first old/tall building I saw, figuring that must be the Rijksmuseum. Wrong. Ran towards the next. Still wrong. Ran some more. Just getting more lost, and more late. Finally asked directions, and arrived at our rendezvous 40 minutes late. That must’ve really sucked for Andrew to sit there outside the museum for 40 minutes, not being sure what was keeping me.
In hindsight, I really should’ve taken this map when I wandered off to look at shoes.
4: Anne Frank’s house
Happy to be together again, we strolled around Amsterdam and saw where Anne Frank had lived. We also saw the long line. We opted to enjoy it from the outside.
5: Rembrandt’s house
We just saw the Museum het Rembrandthuis, as we strolled, from the outside. Just to say we saw it. We were getting tired at this point.
A 3D version of Rembrandt’s The Night Watch.
6: Restaurant Oud Holland
We wanted some authentic Dutch food, but as far as we could see, most restaurants were either pizzerias or ethnic/non-Dutch places. However, I’d spotted Oud Holland from the tram, so I led Andrew to it. We ordered the classic meal for two, which included four kinds of meat (which I didn’t care for), beans with parsley, mashed potatoes, delicious brussel sprouts, tasty salad, curried onions (?), fried potatoes, and croquettes. Also… this:
E: (whispering) Hey! Honey, I think our waiter is…
A: Wait! Are you gonna say what I think you’re gonna say?
A&E together: (whispering, eyes wide) Christopher Walken!
Yep. We were convinced it was really him, preparing for an upcoming role. It was very thrilling. So… if you’re in Amsterdam, go to Oud Holland… you might just meet Christopher Walken!
7: Cultuurpark Westergasfabriek
Okay, here’s the real reason for our very short visit to Amsterdam… we were there to see Bjork perform at Cultuurpark Westergasfabriek! Though honestly you don’t need Bjork to draw you to the park — it seems like there’s more than enough to do there. BUT… YES… we were definitely there to see Bjork. I love looking up the concerts I’ve been to, to see what other people have posted about them. This girl’s blog seems pretty spot-on, from what I recall. And, here’s something somebody put on youtube from that very same night. I’m guessing we were just a few feet behind this person, because it’s nearly the same vantage point (don’t click it if you’re prone to seizures)! And here are some pictures taken by someone who’s a trillion times more talented than we are, at least in the photography department. I’ll tell you what I remember from that night. We were naive and showed up at 5:45, because the ticket said it started at 6. Well… the opening acts didn’t come on until 8… so by the time Bjork appeared, we’d been waiting, and inhaling secondhand marijuana smoke, for three hours. And the moment she appeared on the stage, it felt like it had been no time at all. She’s utterly delightful.
If you clicked on any of my links, you’ll realize this photo is of inferior quality. Nevertheless, it is ours!
There is one more thing I remember about that night. It rained… but only after the concert had ended and we had all begun to disperse. It was timed beautifully.
And thus concluded our one day in Amsterdam. Seven things, one day. I think we did well.