Day 2: Amsterdam - We love this city!June 6, 2017 in the Netherlands ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C
Today started with a delicious breakfast at the hotel. Not only do they have good scrambled eggs, bacon and sausages they also have an excellent selection of pastries, hams, cheeses, bread and rolls, not to mention hagelslag, or chocolate ants. This Dutch treat always reminds me of Oma who would feed us this whenever we were at her home. Anyway, we loaded up with a big breakfast to give us the energy to take on the day, which has been quite a big one.
It started at the Rijksmuseum where we got there a bit before 9am ready for it to open. It was great to get in there early and almost have the place to ourselves for a bit, but this didn't last long and within 1/2 an hour the place was filled with people and was very busy by the time we had been through. We love the Rijksmuseum and it always leaves me inspired and better for the experience it provides. We also enjoyed a very nice hot chocolate, coffee and cake at the restaurant.
We also bought our museum cards at the Rijksmuseum which gets us into 100's of museums and churches around the Netherlands. We recommend if you have more than a few days in the Netherlands and if you enjoy museums then the card is a must, will save you quite a bit of money and will bring experiences you may not have expected.
After the Rijksmuseum we then wandered across the road to the Diamond Museum. This was quite interesting. The diamond industry has been established in Amsterdam for over four centuries, the city has called itself the 'City of Diamonds since its heyday in the mid 18th century. The weather started getting quite windy and wet so we took the tram back to the hotel to get some warmer clothes on. We had to get off the tram a few stops early as there had been an accident further down the line so on our walk we visited the Royal Palace on Dam Square, last time we were here we did a very quick visit so today we took a bit more time to enjoy the palace. The palace was built in the 17th century as a city hall but later became the royal palace of King Louis Napoleon. The palace is still used by the Dutch royal family for entertaining and offical receptions. The decor is quite impressive and is well worth a visit.
Next to the palace is the Niewe Kerk where they have a press photo exhibition on. This was on last time we here as well. This exhibition is always moving, some of the photos captured were amazing but generally show the cruel and dark side of our human story of war, conflict and oppression. But despite the despair these images invoke there are also some very positive images and messages. One quote on display from Desmond Tutu that I was taken by said "Do your little bit of good where you are; it's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world." If we all lived by this then perhaps the world would be a much better place for everyone.
After getting some warmer clothes on it was onto another tram and a bit of a walk (only had to duck under cover once due to the rain) to the Scheepvaart Museum which is a maritime museum. The place was full of school children who were having a great time as the museum has many interactive elements. Moored outside the museum is a replica of the Amsterdam, an 18th century ship that sailed between the Netherlands and East Indies. In some areas of the ship I was constantly ducking under something, they were either quite short in those days or had hard heads.
We then walked through some residential areas before stopping for a snack of kroketten and frites outside the Artis Zoo. It was great sitting at this shop and watching all the school kids riding home, or getting a lift on a bike home. Then it was onto a tram to Rembrantplein where we got off and took a short walk to the Katten Kabinet which is a 17th century canal house filled with images, sculptures and paintings of cats. There were also two guards cats sleeping on a couch (photo attached), they didn't even stir when we gave them a pat. A bit more walking and we found ourselves at the flower market. We had to occasionally drop into a shop to get out of the rain but there were enough breaks in the weather for us to keep moving.
We wandered into the Beginhof, which is a courtyard with houses that date back to the 17th and 18th centuries however the area dates back to the 15th century but the original houses were destroyed by great fires that occurred in 1421 and 1452. The word Beginhof was mentioned for the first time in 1389. Beguines were pious catholic single women who performed good works similar to nuns. It is still a residential area that is only inhabited by woman who rent the homes. It's a great little part of Amsterdam that I love to visit. We then wandered into the Amsterdam Museum however it was about to close, it was almost 5pm. So we then wandered back to the hotel to put the feet up for a bit, glad we did as the rain has got much more intense since we got back.
Dinner tonight was at the Sichuan Chinese Restaurant. The food was delicious and we were lucky to get the window table.
Today was a great day, despite some ordinary weather, we had a lot of fun.Read more