A Travellerspoint blog

June 30 to July 4 2011 - Amsterdam

AMSTERDAM

semi-overcast 16 °C

We arrived at Stansted Airport on Thursday not knowing what to expect; our long-held booking now clashed with a National Strike in the UK. As it turned out, the whole trip to Amsterdam was one of the easiest we've had in years - no queues, 40-minute flight and a simple transfer to the Apollofirst Hotel with the Connexxion shuttle. The hotel is in the Museum Quarter and right outside along the Apollolaan boulevard was the Artzuid sculpture exhibition which included works by Dali, Arp, Miro and dozens of other artists

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On Friday afternoon we were joined by old friends Bert and Marina from Duisberg in Germany and together we walked many, many kilometres around the canals in the Jordaan. A place not to be missed is the Beginjhof, a very large, courtyard sanctuary dating from the 14thC in the Spui area

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On Sunday morning, we headed to the Plantage Quarter to the visit the De Hortus botanical gardens; founded in 1638, it is one of the oldest in the world

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And on Sunday afternoon, we walked back to the Leidseplein area and took a canal trip on a restored 1920s "iron-boat" that has been restored by the St Nicolaas Boat Club - if you dislike the large boats with the constant commentary, this is the boat for you (10 euros "donation")

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A few days ago we found out that Kevin Patterson was going to be flying in late Sunday evening from London for a conference, so we headed over to the Prinsengracht at 9:30pm for a quick drink at his hotel

Unfortunately the Rijksmuseum and the Stedelijk museum are undergoing long-term renovations and have much-reduced displays (for the same price of course) so we decided to visit them another year, preferring to spend Monday morning in the Van Gogh museum (14 euros) - we booked the tickets online (you need to print out the tickets) and this allows you to skip past the queue. Was it worth the $18 entrance fee? Yes but it's quite difficult to decide which sites to visit in Amsterdam as the "big" places are 10 to 14 euros to get in and even the lesser-known places are rarely less than 6 or 8 euros

We travelled around Amsterdam with a 4-day travel card (19.50 euros from the small and hidden tourist office at the Stadsschouwburg at the Leidseplein) which is valid on the trams, buses and metro. It's pretty good value as a single trip costs 2.60 euros and the tram system is fantastic

Posted by kforge 04.07.2011 15:21 Archived in Netherlands

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