Monday, October 5, 2009

Amsterdam Again

By Claire
We really enjoyed having a hotel room and slept like the dead. We’re staying at the Amstel Botel for €69, with an incredible breakfast for 10€ each, and a wonderful café right around the corner, The Kantine with free WiFi. I’ve never seen a restaurant/café quite like this. They have a sandbox outside for the kids, right next to where their parents can sit and enjoy coffee in the sunshine; they have a large play area inside and it’s definitely kid friendly with children freely playing wherever they want. It really has that Amsterdam attitude of tolerance that I like. Only one little girl let out one of those ear splitting, high pitched shrieks that girls are so good at but her father made it clear that would not be acceptable. However, I was quite curious at how relaxed he was with his daughter, age about 3, just running around the place with a friend. They ended up in the upstairs lounge. The dad was with another father and I got the impression they were probably divorced and this was their weekend. They could have a beer while their kids played. One of the dads finally got up to retrieve the kids and they left. The place has a very adult feeling to it but it is also a family kind of place. Oh, and they even had live music. The bar was really well designed and interesting and they had wines from South Africa and Chile. We stayed for quite awhile.

We had a drink and used the internet yesterday afternoon then decided to come back later that night for dinner since we weren’t hungry yet. That was a good decision. We crashed at the hotel room and watched a couple of episodes of MI-5, one of our favorite BBC shows (thanks Tai!). We haven’t had much time to watch anything until now.

Our dinner was just amazing. I only wish I’d had my camera. My pasta dish of musrooms and roquetfort with fresh tomatoes was so good. Chuck had a burger and says it was wonderful as well. In fact, I tried one of his fries and they were the best I’ve had in a long time (sorry Belgium but these were just better). We decided to share a dessert and chose the strawberries with a citrus curd that was mixed with Greek yogurt. The strawberries were lined up on a bed of chocolate. Beautifully presented and we had to control ourselves from moaning too loudly. We really enjoyed the atmosphere and service at this place and plan to eat there again tonight.

Today we went to the Dutch Resistance Museum, something I was sorry to miss when we last left here. It was quite fascinating. I felt so at home being in Amsterdam again. We found the #9 tram with no problem after catching the free ferry to Centraal Station. Everything felt very familiar and I’m sure the fact that everyone speaks English added to our comfort.

René had told us to come back around 2 to see where things stand. Turns out Yves and Joseph were right, the transmission will not fit. I know this was hard for René to admit that the French guys were right. So……they are looking for another transmission. We will go back to BW tomorrow morning to see what’s what. We’re having a great time being back in Holland but my patience is now wearing thin. We would like to move on.

Here are some random photos I liked:

For Wayne, a great backyard with the kids' place in its own section, Courtils, France.

Dog sleeping in fireplace, Courtils, France

Bike with rain proof kid carrier, Amsterdam

Very tiny van, Amsterdam. Reminds me of one from a Pink Panther movie. The one that loses its brakes and Inspector Clouseau (in disguise) pulls on the emergency brake, manages to pull it out completely, and the van ends up in a swimming pool.

Greenpeace ship

We're having our 5 minutes of fame! We were interviewed by Eric at Traveler's Point, a great website that I've found to be very interesting and helpful. I've written two book reviews for their Book Club page and I guess they thought our trip was something worth publishing. Here's the link: Interview with Claire and Chuck

True freedom is knowing you can leave tomorrow. ~ Bruce Manson


Pat in Santa Cruz said...

'We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.' T.S. Eliot
Well,taken literally, you're back :-) The Boatel looks very interesting. Sorry about the engine. I hope we will see a photo of Rene before you leave. Looking forward to learning of your new itinerary.

matbergman said...

The french fries in Amsterdam are definitely the best! We had them served in a paper cone with mayo.

Arianna said...

Reading your interview on Traveler's Point, I noticed you're both looking forward to Sicily. After living and traveling extensively in Italy, that is my favorite area. Very different from the rest of the country, but the food is amazing (Gelato is just not the same anywhere else!). I look forward to hearing about where you'll be traveling there. Good luck getting back on the road!

Chuck and Claire said...

I like the quote. Thanks. I plan to get a picture of Rene when this is all over, if that day ever comes.

Anonymous said...

It was fun to read your interview. Perhaps a book, a movie, a chat with Oprah... may be in your future?! Our friend Lynn just visited Sicily and loved it. Looking forward to reading about it all!

Carina in Davis