We arrived in Amsterdam on Saturday morning at about 11.00 am. We were too early to be able to check into our hotel so we spent a few hours walking around the local neighbourhood taking in the sites of canals, local street markets. In one apparently quiet area, we even came across a few scantily clad girls in windows with a red light above them. So much for them being ladies of the night! After a couple of hours of feeling leg-weary, we decided that a better option would be to take a canal cruise for an hour or so. This not only got us off our feet but also gave us a little protection from some quite heavy rain showers that were passing by.
We successfully filled in the time until our room was ready at 3.00 pm and then had a very welcome shower after out 28 hour trip from Melbourne. Our next challenge was to stay awake for as long as we could so that our body clocks could adjust to the local time zone, but the best that we could do was to last until 8.30 pm and then we crashed into bed.
On Sunday, we took a tour to the north of Amsterdam to the village of Zaanse Schans where we could see a few of the remaining windmills in Netherlands. These were old industrial windmills that were used for grinding flour, milling timber or pumping water etc. They are well restored and now part of the countries heritage. From there, we went to Vollendam, an extremely ‘tourist central’ town that was once a fishing village, but lost its ability to fish as the dykes created freshwater lakes and access to the north sea became limited.We finished the tour with a ferry ride to a much more interesting village named Marken with narrow streets and cute houses painted in dark green with white trim.
Windmills at Zaanse Scans
Palace of Justice – Hague
In the afternoon, we took a continuing tour to some places south of Amsterdam that we had visited on a previous trip – The Hague, Delft and a miniature village that showed many of Holland’s highlight locations at 1/25th scale.
We had an interesting day on Monday doing a toud that I had booked with a local photographer. We spent about 4 hours walking around the city photographing lots of spots. I gained a good bit of knowledge and received a lot of coaching on composition.
We were picked up from our hotel at 3.00 pm to join the boat. It only took us ten minutes to get there and we quickly settled in to our cabin. It is quite a luxurious boat – the Scenic Ruby. It is about 130 metres long with three accommodation decks and a large lounge and dining room at different levels in the bow. We are currently travelling at about 14 kmh along a lengthy canal that connects Amsterdam with the Rhine River.