Saturday, 9 August 2014

Amsterdam to Schiphol. And back. And back again.

The captain of that tourist canal boat had mentioned an astonishingly HUGE number of bicycles that get fished out of the canals of Amsterdam every year.  I only get to see two, but that's enough.

I sleep like a log. I think the 'stress' of this trip is finally showing because I can barely keep my eyes open during my morning cigarettes in front of the hotel.                                 NO, I did NOT visit any of the ~80 Coffee Houses, where you can buy and smoke anything but coffee, and I did NOT stay up all night like the hordes of teenagers visiting this city, probably just to get utterly and completely stoned under legal conditions.

After checking out at 11 am I find I'm too early again because official check-in time at the Schiphol hotel is not until 2 pm and it's only a 15 minute train ride. 
So after a bit of walking I find myself on a canal boat again. This time it is a hop-on-hop-off type and I am promised a 2 hour trip that gets me back to the same location.
The boat is pleasantly empty and I can even do some work on my laptop in the back ;-)

This 700 seat floating restaurant is a copy of a 5000 seat restaurant in Hong Kong 
That abruptly ends when the boat calls at the two stops at the train station.  Now I realize that at least half of the 2 hour trip I was promised would be spent at a boarding point, where the captain would cram as many more of the waiting passengers onto this boat as possible without stacking us vertically.

After this overloaded sardine can crosses a major waterway (see above), I've had it and abandon ship at the next stop.

Overloaded sardine can without me
The stop I abandoned the ship apparently called EYE (a modern movie cinema) and I have my eye on another mode of transportation:  A ferry!  Connecting South and North Amsterdam with very frequent FREE trips for cyclists and pedestrians.

A true RORO (Roll on roll off) ferry !

EYE (left) and another ferry

When having a small snack (+ Rose) close to the train station and trying to find free Wifi, I am again told that Jesus loves me.  Must not be unconditional love since he requires a password.

On the rrain station tower. A wind direction dial. Makes sense in a city that developed from ocean going trading!

CitizenM is what this hotel is called. Normally not my choice, but if one has a bicycle that one can't pedal but has to push a hotel very close to the airport becomes a necessity. I walk into my room.
The layout is unusual to put it mildly ;-)  I maneuver between the clear pastic tubular enclosure of the toilet and the clear plastic tubular enclosure of the shower towards desk, bed, and window.  The bed is 6.5 feet square. 5 people could sleep on this.  There is a remote control on my desk:

view towards the window

looking back towards the door

The view

The loo enclosure is frosted while the shower glass is transparent

You can choose a colour scheme for these or have them cycle through the colour wheel

I make use of my newly and properly charged ov-chipkaart and take the 15 minute train ride back to Amsterdam.  No point in hanging out in my nice psychedelic hotel room at the airport and I feel like getting some food too.  All my travelling aside, having dinner at the airport on a day that I’m not flying, is still out of the question.
Schiphol train station RIGHT BELOW the terminal (Eat THAT, Frankfurt Airport)

Arriving back in Amsterdam Centraal

Today I head out into a different direction from the one I took yesterday to the hotel in the hope of finding more dining places. Dining places I find, but the dishes are not what I was looking for.  Let’s just say that there are still prostitutes sitting behind glass entrance doors in their main floor cubicles.

Not that is a ‘clean’ blog, but all the windows had a ‘no picture taking’ pictograph on the window. Poor girls would be flashed until the cows come home otherwise ;-).   I don’t know during which part of my youth I first encountered the sign ‘Real F***ing Live Show’, but I KNOW I have seen signs advertising identical visual delights before.  For the life of me I can’t remember where it was. Barcelona?  I’m pretty sure I have never been in Amsterdam before. Somewhere else in Holland? Oh Oh! Memory loss. My age is showing. If I had gone in and seen the show at the time I probably would remember ;-)

This being Amsterdam, Germans are everywhere. I end up in a Mexican restaurant eating Calamares a la Romana with a glass of Rose (;-), when a family of hefty heffers sits down at the table next to me. Just imagine the elephants that I did not encounter in Bruges. They're here!  I hear the head heffer (female) behind me going through the menu, looking at all the prices and the weight of meat portion of the dish, and calculating the best meat/Euro ratio for each.  Does she realize that in Ribs she is including the weight of the bones in her calculations? I guess if that much weight has to be maintained, every gram and every cent count.

Anyway, being on the subject of languages, the menu had listed the Rose as Rosado and the calamari as Calamares a la Romana, and when I want to pay, I inadvertently request “La cuenta, por favor”.  Brain switched again ;-)  Fun part of that is when I catch the waiters and the owner talking to each other, there is just too many sshh sounds.  Portuguese or Brazilians. But in a city where every waiter has to know at least Dutch, English, French, and German, what difference does it make which language one requests the bill in?

Another train trip (ov-chipkaart performing flawlessly!) and it's time for bed in Schiphol. Tomorrow it's time to fly!

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