Today was our second day in our hotel stay next to the Amsterdam airport. Either the rooms are very well insulated or I was very tired, but I did not hear any planes passing overhead.
The jet lag is always an issue one must deal with. This is especially true if one is traveling eastward and thus moving forward in time.
The Netherlands is 9-hours ahead and situated at the same longitude of Canada. This means that we were going to sleep at 1:00 in the afternoon back home and our morning wake up time is 10:00 pm on Los Angeles time.
We also have to keep in mind is that because of the high longitude of this country, it means that it will be sundown by 4:30 pm. That's one hour and a half sooner than what we are accustom to in Southern California.
We figured that it would take us a second day to adjust to the major differences of time and weather conditions. I agree with Trini that we have to remind ourselves to adjust mentally and physically to being here and set aside our normal body schedules from back home. Drinking strong European style coffee also helps to get through the day.
For breakfast we ate at a McDonalds that was next door. The menu was practically the same except they don't offer potatoes. I thought the coffee was quite good.
Today the sky was clear and the air felt crisp and cool.
By way of the hotel free shuttle, we returned to the airport to get on the train and go into Amsterdam.
I'm glad we went with the public transportation travel idea. I have no trouble renting a car and driving in Europe, but the $8.24 per gallon price tag would have made moving around an expensive enterprise.
The plan for the day was to become acquainted with the city's metro lines and find where our condo was located. We would move into our condo the next day and we didn't want to bring all our luggage then while we were looking for it. Their sidewalks are uneven and walking around with heavy luggage can be challenging.
The city's metro begins in front of the train station. Line 14 dropped us off only 2 short blocks from our upcoming residence. As we got off the metro, we could see Anne Frank's House museum across the street and the long-line of persons waiting to get in. We decided that once we move here we would schedule time to visit this world famous museum.
For today's schedule, we took out our trusted slightly worn city map and decided to walk through the center of the city to visit Rembrandt's house and the Dutch Resistance Museum. We had to rush a bit since we finally arrived downtown by midday and they closed the museums at 5:00 pm.
On a prior cruise trip to Amsterdam, we visited the must-see modern Vincent van Gogh Museum plus took the city canal boat ride. The canal boat gives visitors a wonderful up-close perspective of the city and help to get the ambiance of this floating city. The canal boat ride ticket office is just a few steps outside the train Central station. You can't miss them.
The city's 165 canals are very interesting. They vary in width. On many of them there are boats converted into homes and in many cases the houses are built specifically to float on the canals. I think of them as floating trailers and are very well kept. Each houseboat is unique in design and are quite charming when you see them all together in the background. We tried to rent one of the floating rooms, but we were unsuccessful because they were already rented. You can also see similar quaint and unique floating homes in Sausalito and Seattle, Washington but those are not situated in canals.
These river residences have all the conveniences of home. It's just distributed in a smaller area. We thought it would be a unique experience staying in a houseboat for a few days. We have traveled over several weeks in past years in a 28 foot motor home so we are familiar with living in tight quarters.
We walked casually through the narrow streets as we headed east. We arrived to the home of the Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn. We rushed by it and we wanted to visit the Verzets Museum (museum of the Dutch Resistance). The displays highlighted how the Dutch lived and responded to the Nazi invasion and occupation. The Nazis were harsh and cruel toward the defenseless population.
Prior to the Nazi invasion, there was a high concentration of Jews in the country and many loaded on trains were sent to death camps. The Germans were taking much of the nation's food production for their soldiers and the people eventually suffered food rationing and famine. Trees that were growing throughout the city were being cut down for cooking and warmth during the cold winter months. Children were starving by the thousands. We saw images of children going through and licking trashcans in order to find food. Many children perished out in the streets during the bitter cold winters. Children were eventually sent to the countryside in hopes that they could somehow survive. Many never saw their parents again. Nazi occupation brought disorder and chaos to the population.
The museum also highlights the lives of many individuals that were killed because they hid and assisted the Jews during Nazi occupation.
We visited the museum until it closed. How I wished we could have stayed longer. Anyone that visits will not be disappointed.
Thereafter we walked back into the center of town to find a restaurant for dinner. We were surprised at how many Argentinean restaurants were here. Later we learned that the current Queen of the Netherlands is Argentinean (Queen M?íxima of the Netherlands).
As we walked, we passed a couple of Mexican restaurants. We decided on a restaurant that offers local cuisine. We found their food to be quite tasty. I had Fettuccine Alfredo with mushroom sauce. It was very tasty. We simply walked across the street to buy Dutch pastries. I love their apple and cream filled bear-claws. Absolutely mouthwatering.
After a great meal we walked up a street that was next to the red light district to get to the train station. It was fun to enter and look around several "coffee shops". The smoke inside was thick. The graffiti art work inside the shops was quite diverse. I wondered what it would be like to work in these marijuana smoking establishments for 40-hours a week. After visiting several of the shops we started to feel a bit lightheaded and we were getting the munchies. They offered their own unique pastry selection, but we decided to simply eat the regular pastries that we had bought from a regular pastry shop.
As we sat in the train returning to our hotel we realized that were feeling both tired and happy to be visiting here.
We could sense that by tomorrow we would begin to feel our normal selves again and continue to enjoy our journey.
Tomorrow we will check out of the comfortable hotel and move to our downtown condo where we will stay for two days.