Gap Year Days 14 – 16
We arrived in Amsterdam mid afternoon and endured the usual battle to orientate ourselves. It’s always challenging to get off an international flight, make our way through the airport, get our bags and find our way to the local transport. We need to buy a ticket and find the right train, all while loaded up with our packs. In Amsterdam, as with many other places, the train only got us so far. We then had to start the process over again to transfer to a tram to our hotel. We are always relieved to get where we are staying.
After a good sleep Kings Day awaited. I discovered well after I had planned our itinerary that we would be in The Netherlands on the King’s birthday. This is a day of celebration and partying. Everyone dresses in orange and they are all out on the streets. This is the one day of the year the locals can set a stall up in front of their house and sell their brick-a-brack. Many are more enterprising and sell food, drinks or even the use of their bathroom, to take advantage of the huge crowds milling around.
Most areas have music playing and it is rare to find yourself out of earshot of something. Party boats cruise up and down the canals, with more music and revelry. I would love to know how many people end up in the canals. Even at lunchtime the drinking was in full swing. Alcohol was plentiful on the streets, with beer as low as €1.25 per can, and wine €1 per small plastic glass.
Bailey was again able to indulge in some chips by trying the frites sold by the locals drowned in mayonnaise. Yum.
The day after King’s Day we chose to go to the Rijksmuseum. There were many other museums in the area so we figured we could go to others afterwards if we chose.
On the way to the front door of the museum we wandered through the gardens to discover a water feature. We stood watching for a few minutes as the jets rose and fell. People took their chances when the jets went down and ran into the middle. They would take some selfies and wait there until the jets went back down to jump out again. There were a couple of people that weren’t very smart though. There were two patterns of jets, one a circle, the other a square. They randomly changed from one to the other. We saw disaster approaching as one girl stood over the square jets taking selfies while the round ones (like below) were spouting water. Sure enough, the pattern changed, and she was quickly soaked – and wondering why! It was really cold too, so she would have been freezing!
The Rijksmuseum is very impressive. Not only does it contain famous artworks such as Van Gogh’s self portrait and many Rembrandt paintings, the building is a work of art in itself. Now I have to admit, I am not at all knowledgeable about art. I was therefore a little bit naughty while we were here. After looking at some of the art, I started to play with my Facebook filters, and had a great time putting dog faces on what were apparently very famous artworks. I was thoroughly told off by Bailey (who does know about art) for “defacing” Van Gogh’s self-portrait. Anyway, it was my way to enjoy something I would otherwise have lost interest in more quickly!
For lunch we hunted down the Amsterdam Avocado Restaurant. We had read about this on line, and just had to check it out. We did, and saw the line out the door and down the street, and decided we were too hungry to wait! No avocado for lunch for us.
We were feeling all museumed out, so after lunch decided to just go for a walk through Vondelpark. It was a fantastic escape from the city around us. It was refreshing to see so many people using the park, even when it was only about 6 degrees Celsius and threatening to rain.
We visited a supermarket on the way back to our hotel to stock up on some dutch essentials. Cheese of course, with some bikkies made up dinner for me, with stroopwaffles for dessert! Maybe not the healthiest I have ever eaten, but it was good!
Our flight to Paris was early the next morning, so after a lot of walking, an early night saw the end of our whirlwind Amsterdam visit.
See where we went next here
Josie is a forty-something budget traveller. She only discovered travel in her late thirties, but since then has travelled extensively including taking an adult gap year. She is now based in Australia and loves sharing all she has learned about travelling on a budget but with the comforts a Gen Xer requires.