Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Dutch Delights...

Day 55 - Here we are in Holland...

I'm off today to meet a Dutch friend in Amsterdam...




I'm on the road for 10 days and it's Operation Easyjet to cram the impossible into my 'of course this is my hand luggage' little blue suitcase... the first challenge is to see whether the check-in staff agree...
Easyjet is a budget airline who charge extra for everything... luggage, food, magazines although not yet the toilets. Their rules are clear and specific, only one hand luggage of any sort... it's my handbag that always tips me over ........... and that's only a little fib....
It was the jobs-worth 'My father was a Communist dictator - you need to test the size of your suitcase...You do it my way... ' Prague check-in Supervisor that has left me anxious about boarding, and that's MEAN, because I was born to be in the air...'I'm a frequent flyer, my Dad was a pilot', sort-of-a-girl, who is now reduced to buying booze at the airport just to get the allowable carry-on duty free bag, to hide any bits and pieces that won't co-operate with my forceful attempts to squeeze them into little bluey....
So it was an air fist-pump moment to note that the Luton Sunday check-in staff were relaxed about their bag code and I'm on board....the plane even landed 20 minutes early - did I say how much I love flying with Easyjet?!




I took the efficient airport express train into Amsterdam Central (a bargain at €3.50) and it was a straightforward walk to find the superbly located Singel Hotel as the above map shows. The hotel was in one of the best locations and despite being fully booked, was quiet. The rooms are newly renovated, cosy, with quirky low ceilings and steep stairs, and just perfect for our needs, with very friendly reception staff.




We had much to catch up on, having not seen each other since our last International Parent Group meeting in Melbourne some 12 months ago, but it seemed a waste to stay indoors when the city awaits. We set out to explore the streets around the hotel and search for some dinner...
Walking along the iconic canals, chatting 90 to the dozen, I was reminded to be careful of the 881,000 bicycles that whizz along the streets. I had some near misses looking the wrong way...




The tall, thin, elegant canal front buildings all with their different designer rooftops house a kaleidoscope of Amsterdam's life. The respectable and the seedy co-habite side by side in seeming harmony. We pass lovely looking restaurants and cafes, bakeries, designer shops, hotels and apartments, and by contrast the aromatic coffee houses and fat women in undies sitting in their windows with a red light.




On a misty November eve Amsterdam looked amazing, the bright Christmas lights twinkling in the streets... How special to be here...
Little Wandering Wren

Location:Singel, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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