Inaugural Voyage of the "Scenic Crystal"
20 April- Amsterdam
Amsterdam, over 1100 bridges.
Started today early, up around 5 am, headed to the lobby for the free wi- fi . Worked so-so but could not up load onto the web site. So I found out that there is a Starbucks in the Leidseplein (Theater district) walked only 5 minutes away. Had a coffe , did a few things online and then went back to the room. Sherry was ready to we went back to Starbucks , got 2 breakfast sandwiches, and 2 Grande coffees . euro13.10. Then headed to central station. .
Our plan is to take the Blue Line canal bus on the full 1 ¾ hour circle tour. It started at 9:40 am from the Central Station. Figured it would take about 1 hour to walk along the Leiderstraat and there was plenty of time as we had 1 ½ hours. Took the ponchos ( light rain on and off all day) and headed out through Leidseplein to Koningsplein where we found the Flower Market stall all along the canal. Many of the merchants were just opening and putting out their flower bulbs, cut flowers and tourist “ Netherlands” souveniers. Picked up a couple wooden Tulips for a couple euros each.
Walked down Rokin street to Damark street which is the main street along the old town to Central Station, passed the Dam Square where the carnival was all set up. There were a good number of people by this time of the morning.
Morning beer run
We found the Blue line canal bus on the west side of the station. Waited till 10:15 as they were late.
This canal boat cruise was great, narrated and covered informaiton and history of dozens of places. Even saw a bicycle parking garage for 2,500 , but packed with over 10,000 bikes. The canal boat followed the Oosterdock harbour for a bit, found the PTA ( Passenger Terminal Amsterdam ) for ships, next was Nemo science center, 17 and 18 century restored buildings, bridges, windmills, Heinekin Brewery, Rijksmuesem and more. There were 8 stops where you can get on and off, a Canal boat would come by every 35 to 40 minutes. ( Between 9 40 am and 4 10 pm) The PTA was were the Scenic Crystal will be docked tommorrow . It was 12:30, lunch time, so now to find a place to eat. With over 1250 to select from we found a place called Global Restaurant on a side street off Rokin , 5 min. from the Station. It was cold out so we wanted a hot soup. Prices were good, selection was varried and we had soup, salad, hamburger, hot chocolate & tea. Everything was good, fries were great but the hamburger was from frozen patties. Soup euro4.50 , Greek Salad euro 5.95 , hot chocolate euro 2.60 tea euro 2.50 and hamburger euro 8.95 It seems pizza is a favourite , everywhere you turned was pizza, 24 /7 pizza , american pizza, 10 cheese pizza. Got onto the hop on hop off bus, saw the only windmill in Amsterdam - not open to the public. There are onlly 8 large windmills left in the Netherlands.
windmill in amsterdam
We then made our way to the Rijksmuseum. Entrance euro 14 and if you wanted a headset it was another euro 5. Stayed for 1 ½ hours, looked at hundreds of 17th and 18th century paintings. Painters like Jan Vermeer and Rembrandt where we viewed the Night Watch. You really need more time to take in all the history that these paintings represent.
Walked back to the hotel, 10 min.. Got ready to go out to Leidpeplein to find a restaurant. Here there were several dozen to select from, food from all around the globe. Found an Italian place, Ristorante Peppino, itcould seat around 80. They had everything on the menu along with a couple 3 course combinations. Selected the baked chicken parmesean wth eggplant, salad , pasta and either a glass of wine, glass of beer or glass of coke. All for euro14.50. The meal was good, excellent service and great value. Walked back to the hotel many hundreds of people out and about. Most of the clubs opened at 10 pm and closed at 4 am……. Not us, the last couple days have been long and busy. Tomorrow we board the Scenic Crystal.
Canal Tour Boats