Day 9. Amsterdam, dam, dam, my feet hurt.
It's midnight on July 6. I stayed up late last night watching the results of the FIFA Women's World Cup. I'm happy for our team and proud of them.
The day started off with me waking to the sound of the shower. Mrrrph, grrrble, shhhfzzzt. What time is it? 9:15 AM!!! Holy crap! We should be at the Anne Frank house already to beat the crowds. I told the kids to get up while Jackie finished dressing.
They got out of the hotel about 10 AM and walked down the canal toward the Anne Frank house. It's only about a quarter mile, but it's over cobblestone streets and not the easiest thing in the world. Jackie offered to take the kids while I could take a leisurely soak in the bathtub.
I travel a lot. A whole lot. As a result, I have a lot of airline and hotel "frequent flyer" accounts. Over the years, I've figured out which ones I like and which ones work for me. Most of the companies I've worked for in the last 10 years have had arrangements with United Airlines. This is how we got to Europe. I paid for myself and I used frequent flyer miles to get the family here. I'm not terribly impressed with United, but it's the airline I'm forced to deal with.
I burned a years worth of points on my Hyatt account for 2 rooms at the Hyatt Andaz in Amsterdam. Jackie and I are in a suite, while the kids are in a room a few doors down. The suite, after staying in a hot apartment in London, is an oasis. Not only do we have a bed, but a sitting room and a bathroom that is probably twice as big as our master bathroom at home. And, it has a free-standing tub that you could drown in.
When Jackie let me have a long soak while she and the kids went to the Anne Frank house, I took advantage of this. I made a double espresso with the machine in our room and put it on the shelf by the tub. Then, I got my tablet and sunk into water as hot as I could stand. I laid there for 10 or 15 minutes before I could move again as the water cooled down. Then I started reading and enjoying my espresso.
After an hour, I got out, dressed and left the hotel. I wandered down the canal toward the museum where everyone else was. I stopped for another coffee and pastry. When I caught up with them, they still were not inside the Anne Frank house. It's probably the most visited museum in the city, with a 2 hour wait if you don't get there early. We talked for some time and I decided to go to the Rijksmuseum while they went inside the Anne Frank house.
We all had a nice time at our respective museums. The Anne Frank House is emotionally heavier than I care to see. I know the story well and I don't care to visit the remnants of it, but the kids gave me a good description of what they saw, so I think it's a good thing for the next generation to see, if only to understand the magnitude of the evil that happened then and to not let it happen again.
The Rijksmuseum, where the Rembrandts and Vermeers are located, along with many other things, is nice. The building is beautiful and there are a lot of interesting exhibits. It's probably worth 3 hours to visit, but not a full day, although the gardens outside are wonderful this time of year.
We met back up after the museum visits and decided to have supper in the Leidseplein area of the city. This was easy because we all had cards for the public transit system. We looked at a couple restaurants and settled on an Italian place down one of the alleys. I ordered a bottle of Chianti and we all had a bit. The food was very good. I don't think I've ever seen all 4 of us clear our plates, but tonight we did.
Jackie and Beau got on a tram near the restaurant and headed back to the hotel so that Beau could indulge in the tub in our room. Meanwhile, Elijah and I explored the city a bit. We looked for bicycle, scooter, or boat rentals, but some parts of Amsterdam close down at 6 PM, while others just come to life. We had talked about the Red Light district at supper and Elijah thought the whole idea was strange. So, I decided it's best not to take him there.
As Elijah and I got back to the hotel, we noticed bicycles out front. I inquired about them at the desk and was told they are available for guests to use. Elijah said he was too tired but I thought Beau might like to ride. So I checked out two of the bikes and headed for our room.
Inside, Jackie said "Beau is in the tub". I said "that's fine, I guess I'll go on a bike ride by myself". The sound from the bathroom was clear "hey! wait for me!" Five minutes later, Beau was out of the tub, dressed for riding and dripping water all over the floor.
I have no idea exactly what route we took through the city. We left at 9:00 PM, with the sun still up and the world lit in gold. We went over canals and down long straats. We went from the Neue Kerk (new church) to the Rijksmuseum. Jordaan to Centrum. We talked to homeless people and petted homeless cats. After 2 hours, we pedaled back to the hotel, the city still lit by the last dying rays of blue twilight. The last half kilometer was the hardest, even though it was all down hill. If anything in Amsterdam can be called "down hill".
My watch says I walked 14,200 steps today. No idea how many steps I pedaled.
Tomorrow, a bit more exploring in Amsterdam. I would like to visit the van Gogh museum. Then to pick up our rental car at Schipol and start driving. Somewhere. I have no idea where as we have no room reservations until Saturday in Paris.
I looked to book this room 1 more night so we could explore the city a bit longer. The rate for the room tomorrow night is €1,100 ($1200). I guess we'll find somewhere else to stay.