Bye, Bye, Arkansas, Hello Schiphol... travel blog

Today we took a rather leisurely ride from Delft to Amsterdam on the rail train. We arrived at Centraal Station in approx. 45 minutes, around 12 noon, and immediately took Tram # 1 a stop near Anna Van Den Vondelstraat 6, the hotel address for the Hotel de Filosoof. This unique hotel has a philosophy as its theme. Some rooms are dedicated to one philosopher; however, our room was completely black and white, from the walls to furnishings, with a secretary full of philosophy books. Very unique. Loved the large bathroom.

We didn’t stay too long at the hotel before taking the tram to Leidensplein. This centuries old Plaza is full of shops, restaurants and canals. We walked to the Hard Rock Café Amsterdam and each had BBQ Bacon Cheeseburgers and fries. Yummy! I felt like I was home.

From the Hard Rock we took a leisurely walk to Museumplein. We made our way to the Van Gogh Museum, but after seeing the line there, we decided we’d go back tomorrow. So we decided to take a boat tour of the canals. A couple from Indiana sat next to us and there was pretty good conversation among us all. It was great to see the beautiful city of Amsterdam from the canals again. Then we went back to the hotel to rest.

Around 8pm we set off for dinner. But first we did a little shopping and sight-seeing along the way. One of our stops included the Red Light District. Having been to New Orleans on numerous occasions, I didn’t think I would be shocked by anything. Well, I was. The Amsterdam Red Light District is like Bourbon Street on steroids. I really was taken aback by the scarcely-dressed “live” women standing in the windows. The visitors consisted of lustful young men to blue-haired American church lady tourists. All of us (except the regulars) wandering wide-eyed and in awe of the neon signs shouting, “SEX, SEX, SEX” and coffee shops permeating the smells of hashish. After about a block, I truly was ready to go. I was really overwhelmed by it all.

After our visit to the RLD, we were then set on a course of trying to find our way out from among the many, many streets and back to familiar surroundings of Damrak Straat. We also were hungry, but I wanted to find a real restaurant and not just a pub or beer or coffeehouse. After about 10pm in the evening, that’s not an easy task. We finally just decided to go back to our hotel. Yes, what party poopers. Maybe 15, 10 and even 5 years ago I would have been okay to stay out later and continue to look for somewhere to eat, but I was exhausted. On the way back to the hotel, though, we did stop at a local pub. The proprietor was kind enough to prepare us some cheese and liverwurst—perhaps from his own kitchen—to have with our beer.

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