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Stuff by Brian


Day 3: Amsterdam (5/22)

Posted on June 11, 2012 at 11:09 AM
We slept in a bit because we didn't really have a full day's worth of activity planned.  We had the same tasty breakfast at the hotel and then headed to the huge church around the corner.  We paid the 2.50 and wandered in.  We immediately noticed a lot of quirky features - very few things in the church were symmetrical, with certain areas painted rather nicely and other areas totally plain.  They had an absolutely enormous pipe organ that apparently both Mozart and Handel played.  The floor was also covered with gravestones, which was a bit eerie.  After exploring the church, we headed back into Amsterdam for the day.  The only activity we had planned was the Anne Frank house and our train didn't leave until 8:30pm.  We walked down the main drag from the train station and realized where everybody in the city was - it was interesting that this one street was so busy when we walked literally one block over the day before, it was totally quiet.  

When we got over to the Anne Frank house, we noticed a man in a tiny boat with several horns playing and spinning in circles in the canal.  There was a church next to the canal which was answering his horn with the bells - it was really entertaining.  We watched for quite some time before heading into the Anne Frank house. 

I never read the Diary of Anne Frank, but the museum is very well done.  There are quotes from the family on the walls and at various points throughout the self-guided tour and it's amazing to see the small spaces and secret bookcase door that the families hid in for so long. 
After the Anne Frank house, we decided to go to a cafe on one of the canals for lunch - we found one that served sandwiches and beer and hung out for awhile. sam had a sandwich that was a light pumpernickel with sunflower seed roll with goat cheese, walnuts, and honey that she will totally make when we get home.  The weather has been absolutely gorgeous so far - between 70 and 80 with lots of sunshine.  We enjoyed sitting outside at the cafe and watching as the various tourist boats cruised by on the narrow canal.  with about 6 hours to kill we decided to sample some underwhelming coffeehouse delicacies but the shop itself was very neat. We still had many hours until our train, so we decided to go to one of the two (yes, there are two) Sexmuseums.  It was just as weird as you would expect - lots of strange artwork and weird animatronic displays talking or randomly jumping out at people who walk by and one that farted on you as you walked up the stairs. We wandered around for awhile longer and decided to stop at a Thai cafe for beer and appetizers.  At this point, we had managed to kill enough time so we wandered back to the train station to catch the train to Munich.

Neither of us had ever been on a sleeper train, so it was a bit of an experience.  We got onto the train and had no idea where we were supposed to go.  Our reservation had a ton of information on it and a bunch of writing in German.  We found someone to help us and they pointed us toward the back of the train - this was really confusing because the numbering was all out of whack (187 is not 10 cars away from 177 but was in fact next to 173). Eventually, we found our car and settled in.  We decided that we wanted some food, so we wandered hoping to find a dining car - our train didn't have any, but instead had stations every couple cars where you could order pre-made food that they heated up for you.  We got some currywurst (some sort of sausage in a red sauce covered in curry powder) and some wine and then went to bed as the train rolled on.

Steps: 18,646
Walking Distance: 7.57 miles

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Categories: Amsterdam, Haarlem, Netherlands, Travel

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