Helen (heleninwales) wrote,

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Canals, museums and a meal out with friends

Last full day of the holiday. Initially the plan was for Graham to sneak off from the conference for the whole day to go sightseeing, but he then decided that there was an interesting talk first thing and that he'd like to go to it. So I had a restful start to the day, eating a leisurely breakfast and then relaxing in the hotel room until 11:00, at which point Graham returned and we headed into the centre for an early lunch. We'd managed to get our meals out of phase; I'd had the hotel breakfast, Graham, not being a morning person had rushed off without eating. But we found a convenient cafe where G had a substantial pizza and I had a very nice minestrone soup and bread roll. Suitably fortified, we finally found the right queue for the day tickets on the canal bus and set off by water for the Scheepvaart Museum (Maritime Museum).

This boasts a life size replica of a Dutch East India company sailing ship called the Amsterdam, which was lost at sea off the British coast at Hastings, but we didn't sink it, honest; it ran aground in a storm.

There were also lots of incredibly detailed models and beautiful old maps.

From here we got back on the canal bus. You buy a day ticket and can then sail round on them wherever and whenever you like. There are several routes covering different canals in the centre. It's a slow but very pleasant way to get about. Next port of call was the Tropenmuseum, the museum dedicated to the legacy of the Netherlands' colonial past. Also there was a special exhibition on Evil, which was this year's major thematic exhibition. This covered everything from ancient devil masks, through various depictions of hell, as seen by different religions, right up to clips from The Shining and the Lord of the Rings, taking in comics and computer games on the way.

Upstairs there were assorted artefacts and musical instrument and mock-ups of homes from places as diverse as South America and the Mongolian steppes.

We left just before 5:00 pm as the museum was closing and sailed on to the City Hall. We now took to the trams again and returned briefly to the hotel for a cup of tea/coffee and I changed quickly in order to look a bit smarter for the meal out with friends.

To get to the Van GoDgh museum where we were meeting Graham's PhD supervisor,It was either two trams or one tram and a slightly longer walk. We opted for the longer walk and other than me being almost mown down by a youth on a bicycle -- NB if you ever go to Amsterdam, really watch out for the bicycles. The trams look scary because they're so big, but the bicycles are lethal because they're silent -- anyway, apart from a near miss with a bicycle, we arrived at the museum and met Roger and his daughter and her friend (originally from New York) who both now live in Amsterdam. The restaurant was excellent, being sort of ethnic, without actually being specifically an ethic restaurant. The portions were just right: neither huge and overwhelming nor teensy weensy nouvelle cuisine. So I could manage a starter of mushroom soup, plus main course of grilled lemon sole and a dessert of icecream with a Dutch thing that turned out to be wobbly and creamy, rather like a blancmange, but nicer.

The conversation had flowed and by now it was too late to go to the exhibition, so Graham and I got a tram back into the centre and then the sneltram 51 out to RAI, where our hotel it.

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