Amsterdam : Travel and discoveries

by Yome NetSan 20. March 2012

Tuesday 13th march 2012 @ 03:00

We woke up and jumped in the car for an early morning drive to Geneva with Moss Remixes and Inside In as perfect soundtracks for the pitch-black night. The flight to Amsterdam was on time and except for the fact that my wife forgot her iPhone on the seat of the car everything went fine. We decided not to go back and went straight to the airplane.

Hopefully, my 2 years old son was very calm or asleep during the flight and security. He is a fanatic of transport vehicles like planes, buses and, most of all, trains. "Train" and "Wagon" are usually his first words in the morning and last in the evening. So when we arrived in the Netherlands and made our way inside Schiphol airport to the station and took the first train to Amsterdam Centraal, he was happy. And when we took the tramway to Leidseplein, he was more than happy ! We immediately found people very nice and a man inside the tram spontaneously asked if we needed help and gave his seat to my wife.

The day before our departure, I was able to download a 16km square of Amsterdam in the Google Maps application of my Android phone. This way I could use GPS signal without downloading the maps on the expensive 3G network. This made me see that we were going in the wrong direction as soon as we stepped out of the tram.



So we walked pass the tourist information and found ourselves in front of the Melkweg, where Jam in the Dam would take place the day after !


About two minutes later, we found our hotel... just behind the Melkweg ! Great suprise ! We hardly could find a nearer place to stay. So after our big letdown from the day before, it was a good find. Freeland Hotel was a nice little hotel with very welcoming people, some of them even speaking french. The room was nice and quiet, but only if you could reach it... the stairs to the fourth floor were very narrow and very steep. It was difficult to bring our heavy luggage up there in climbing. Fortunately we were allowed to leave the stroller at the reception each time we went to our room.



We have decided that today we would just wander in the street to discover the city by our own. My wife had seen on the Internet that there was a big park near the Hotel, so we headed to the Vondelpark. We stayed there while our son played in the children areas. The park was very big with a lot of grass land and a lot of jogger, much like Central Park in New York.

Then it was time to eat and we returned to the "civilization", searching for a restaurant. We found out that it was nearly impossible to find something else to eat than "snacking" (hamburgers, hot dogs, Croque Monsieur, salad...). We finally stopped at Dante and ate one of the best hamburgers we have tasted.


We kept on walking all the afternoon by the canals, the beautiful houses, the tons of bikes, basically around Leidseplein.

As we were told before we came, crossing the street is a hell because of the trams, the cars and the bikes coming from every direction. But we have been stroked by a very odd thing : the green light for pedestrians doesn't last long enough for one to cross the street ! It literally lasts no more than 10 seconds ! How's that ?!



We passed by an art gallery with a friendly name : FOAM. I think there are a lot of different art galleries in all Amsterdam.


Jam in the Dam is a rather small festival here. On the first day, I saw one advertising poster and only 3 during all our stay in the city. Besides, there were lots for another band coming to town on the 14th march : The Presidents of the United States of America. Gosh, that's a band I've been listening to since 1995, even before Phish ! I've never been to one of their concert neither so it was so strange that they play at the Paradiso (a legendary venue that I first heard of with k's Choice) right when I was in Amsterdam to finally see one of member of Phish ! Too bad their show wasn't on the 13th because I would have definitely gone.



Wednesday 14th march 2012 @ 9:00

My son isn't the type of child who likes to sleep, so he was awake at 7. We took our breakfast at the hotel which was down stairs. This means we had to climb up 5 floors again to return to the room !

We had a pretty good idea of what we wanted to do during our stay in Amsterdam : mainly tourist things and some museum. We don't smoke and we have a young child so we wanted to avoid coffee shops and the famous Red Light District. We considered different tourist cards to have discount prices on museums like the I AMsterdam card, the Museeumkaart and the Holland Pass. We finally took the last one as it was the cheapest for what we wanted to do. You card do more things with the other cards (like 24h unlimited trams and buses) but we knew we wouldn't use all the possibilities with our son.

There are several Holland pass with a different number of tickets in it. We each took the one with 5 tickets (2 Red, 2 Purple, 1 Green and 1 Yellow). Each museum or attraction is worth 1 ticket. For Madame Tussaud, you must use a red one. But for a 1 hour canal boat tour, you can use a red one or a purple one. So you better plan in advance where you want to go to be sure you can do everything with the tickets you have.

We had about an hour before taking the boat so we walked more streets and found some strange stores.



The Canal boat tour was great. You can see lot of things from a different angle and it was pretty relaxing.



We took the opportunity of my son's nap in the stroller to visit the Rijksmuseum. It was very beautiful with lots of paintings and very useful descriptions. Did I mention that everything was in dutch and english ?



We finally went back to the hotel in the middle of the afternoon to get some rest.

I went out later to grab something to eat at an Albert Heijn supermarket and I went to the Melkweg to ask a couple of question before tonight's concert.
But that'll be the next story...


United States Todd 3/20/2012 1:53:04 PM

Nice photos.  Glad you were able to enjoy the trip as well with your family.  

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