Day Two- Amsterdam

Day two was mostly full of walking. We flew all the way to Amsterdam and boy are our feet sore. The Wyndham Apollo Hotel is about a fifteen minute walk from the area that has all the big museums, etc., and then it’s another 20 or 30 minutes to meander down to central Amsterdam where the Anne Frank House is located, among other things. Much of our trail probably would look a lot like the Family Circus routes whereby we wander to and fro, get a little lost, find something else, circle back around to the place we started even if that’s not where we wanted to be, and then eventually get where we were going, even if we didn’t know what that was in the first place.

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After an easy breakfast at a bakery where we ordered something – not having the slightest idea as to what it was (it had powdered sugar on it, so we knew it couldn’t taste bad), our first destination was the obligatory Anne Frank House. I say obligatory not to downplay its significance: I’ve spent a lot of time learning about World War II, and Anne Frank offers us memories we should never forget. But it’s not something you go to and say, “wow, that was awesome!” In fact, the line of people waiting to get in was mostly somber and quiet, as it should be.

That said, the line was awful. I left Carolyn to walk down the row of it to see how long it would take to get in, and came back with the bad news that my guess was that it’d be an hour to two hour wait. We commiserated and ultimately decided not to wait in line for that long, no disrespect to Anne Frank’s memory intended. Next month they’re moving to a reservation-only system, which I think is very smart. Maybe we’ll be back someday and try it again using that. Meantime, at least we got to meet her statue:

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And so after missing out on Anne we continued to meander through Amsterdam. We don’t have a ton of pictures because at some point it gets a little redundant. The architecture is awesome but it is pretty nearly all the same wherever you go. The canals are semi-romantic and kinda cool, depending on which one you look at, but again, pretty much all the same. I do wonder if anything alive exists in that water. Like a lot of in-city waterways, the water is pretty near black and looks like it would only support a creature from the black lagoon. A little bit of trash here and there floats about; not overly so, but if I fell into one I’d probably rush back to the hotel and hop in the shower and stay there for an hour while calling for antibiotics.

And of course there was the obligatory door for Carolyn. This one had once been a number seven, but the ivy decided to change that into an eight… it’s almost done.

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After that, we went into one of the three main Royal Palaces they have and have mostly converted into a tourist attraction. Built in Amsterdam’s heyday, they’re massive and ornate and everything you’d expect a king to have when they had almost as much money and power as today’s American one percenters. Ha!

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Some ornate churches…

One of which either got converted into a shopping center or they made a shopping center look like an old church, we weren’t entirely sure:

And, since we were down that way anyway, we decided to go to the obligatory Red Light District. I say obligatory not to downplay its significance: I’ve spent a lot of time learning about… uh… never mind. I’m being redundant, heh heh. Anyway, it’s only obligatory in that so many people think of it whenever you say the word “Amsterdam.” That and coffee/pot shops. Well, that and possibly, “What’s an Amster and why do they swear every time they say it?” But maybe that’s only me.

Anyway, as far as the excitement of the area, trust me. It ain’t no thang. It’s just a few blocks full of bars, paraphernalia sex shops, and hookers in underwear or bikinis (I didn’t stop long enough to inspect: I think most of us tend to look at them from the corner of our eye, not wanting to look too interested) in windows. Taking pictures of them is verboten, which is German for, “A big bouncer rushes up to throw your camera in the water if you try,” but I never saw anything remotely like that. Maybe it’s more prevalent at night, I dunno. Since it was in the afternoon and not so busy maybe we missed out on watching that kind of fun. Anyway, I couldn’t get Carolyn to give me fifty euros for fifteen minutes with a hooker from Czechoslovakia (actually I have no idea what the going rates are… or where they’re from. Speaking of which, some enterprising prostitute needs to put a “Sale! Today only!” sign in her window or some such. They all looked pretty bored, and I have to think the scantily clad babe in a window thing is marketing that has become a little tired and not so thrilling anymore), so we headed back to the hotel by using Uber, which went amazingly well, seeing as how we were picked up by a very nice man driving a Jaguar and avoided being shot because we weren’t in Kalamazoo.

By that time we were a little beat because we still haven’t completely adjusted to the time change difference. I had a helluva time sleeping all night, and so we got back to the hotel and plopped down for a nap. Six hours later, we woke up way past time for dinner. Hopefully this’ll be the night for adjusting fully to the time zone. If not, maybe we should’ve stopped in one of the coffee shops and bought some magic brownies to put us to sleep. But hey, we’re from Portland. That’d be like buying a Portland TrailBlazer hat in Amsterdam.

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