20140522 Amsterdam

7:05 Up.

8:05 Had breakfast in the hostel cafeteria. EUR 5.90.
It was better than expected. The cheese (kumin?)  and chicken ham were good, there was yogurt, and they had pulp in the orange juice. They also had cream puffs!

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8:40 Bought a GVB pass from the lobby, which was local transportation pass. EUR 7.50.

8:45 Sloterdijk station.

8:50 Train.

8:55 Central station.

9:25 Anne Frank House. The online tickets sold out 2 weeks in advance, so I had to stand in line. It moved extremely slow. I had short chats with a middle aged Asian lady standing behind me.

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10:30 Purchased the ticket and finally got in. EUR 9.
I had read the diary when I was very young, so I was afraid that I would not remember much. Fortunately, they had quotes everywhere.
It was very touching, and I almost cried. The family lived there for 2 years, and they learned new languages, read, and wrote, hoping one day that they would be heard again.

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11:40 Done. It was a great experience except loud children on school field trip.

11:50 Started walking.

11:55 Bus top. I wanted to take the bus since we had the pass, but Andrew insisted on walking.

12:15 – 12:50 Walked to some restaurant Andrew wanted to try. They were not serving food at the time, so we just had beer. The house beer was good, a little bitter. Eating and drinking by a canal was nice, but later realized the bar looked pretty cool, too.

13:10 Free walking tour near the national monument. The tour guide sucked. He was not professional, sounded like he had no clue what tour guide meant, and was “tipping” us how much to tip him. So I walked away.

13:15 Walked toward the national monument hoping for a better tour, but no luck.

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13:30 Walked into a cheese store called Old Amsterdam and tasted their samples. Their smoked cheese was absolutely amazing! I wasn’t going home for another 3 weeks and a half, so I decided not to buy one. Andrew bought his and made me jealous.

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13:45 On the road again. The weather was amazing, and the canals looked gorgeous as long as I didn’t look too close. They were not the cleanest.

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14:10 Took a tram.

14:20 Tram stopped in the middle of the road.

14:25 Everybody was getting off, so I decided to follow the crowd. Apparently the tram in front of the one I was in had some issues.

14:55 – 15:30 Museum Amstelkring (our lord in the attic). Andrew wanted to do something else, so we decided to meet after. EUR 6.

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350 years ago, when Catholic mass was outlawed in the city, Catholics built a church in the attics of three canal houses, and this became a museum.
The stairs were very steep.

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They had a very informative audio guide.

The church had a very unique atmosphere. I am not a big church fan, and I do not remember most of the churches that I saw during my Europe package tour a few years ago. But this one felt quite special. It was the smallest church I had been to.

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View from the window.

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15:30 Met with Andrew. I really wished I had more time.

15:45 I wanted to go to the East side of the city so I walked around the Central station looking for the right bus station.

16:20 Gave up and took a random bus. I was clueless as to where it was going.

16:25 So the bus crossed all the canals and went to a suburban area North of the city. I got off right away.

16:30 Took the bus going back to the city at the opposite bus stop.

16:35 Central station.

16:45 Info centre near the central station. Free WiFi!

16:55 Purchased a canal cruise tour ticket at the info centre. EUR 15.50.

17:00 Arrived at the starting point. I walked into the lady I met at Anne Frank house earlier this morning.

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17:18 On board. Luckily, I had a window seat.

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17:25 The sailor came around and took the tickets.

17:30 Tour started. The audio guide had five different languages, IN SEQUENCE. So by the time English announcements came out, which was the third one, I was well past the point I was to look at.

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18:33 Done. The scenery was okay. It drizzled for a bit but it stopped before I had to walk out of the boat.

18:40-18:50 Souvenir shop. Things were, obviously, overpriced.

19:00 Parted with Andrew, who wanted something more filling for dinner.

19:05 René’s, a small cafe. I had an apple pie, which was supposed to be a specialty in Amsterdam. It was kind of bland. EUR 4.50.

19:15 So I was eating at a table at the cafe. And the employees started talking in English! I later found out that a lot of locals here speak English fluently, especially immigrants.

19:21 Started walking to the central station.

19:30 Manneken pis. There was a big line of people, and it turned out to be a fries place! A famous fries place? Obviously, even though I already had dinner, I had to line up for this.

19:40 The portion was really big. Apparently mayonnaise is a thing for fries. EUR 3.45.
There was a small table outside, so I ate mine there. It was good, and very filling. I thought mayo would be too heavy, but it turned out to be quite good.

19:55 Central station. According to my journal, I was apparently in a love and hatred relationship with this place at this point.

20:05 Checked out the locker room at the station for tomorrow and bought a ticket. I asked the ticket office about the GVB pass, and it did not include train rides between the central station and Sloterdijk station, which meant that I free-rode this morning! Hahaha, I was a tourist. An ignorant, foreign tourist. EUR 2.60.

20:07 Platform.

20:15 It turned out that I was on the wrong platform, so I walked over to the right one. It was quite filthy. The floor was full of garbage and the garbage cans were about to explode.
I also used a paid public washroom for the first time. I panicked because I thought my stall was out of bath tissues. Interestingly, their bath tissues roll out from the inside, so I was safe. EUR 0.50.

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20:30 So I was waiting for my train which was to come at 27 after. I thought it was running late, only to realize that I was waiting for a train that arrived at 21:27. So I walked down and went to a different platform.

20:32 Finally, I was on a train.

20:34 Train started.

20:40 Sloterdijk station.

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20:45 Hostel.

22:00 I washed my clothes and ironed my shirt. The front desk took EUR 10 deposit for the iron.

22:30 Journal, and packing.

23:45 Dead tired. Bed time!

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