A little jaunt to Amsterdam

As part of my work here – yes, I am doing have done some work – I discovered that the train system is completely unlike Melbourne’s. It’s frequent, reliable and goes to places that people need to go to. Oh, and they have lots of people working at the main stations in each town. And their ticketing system works. And…you get the idea.

So I trotted off to Delft to conduct an interview on Tuesday arvo and returned rather more quickly than I expected. If I could get to Delft so easily, I reckoned I could spend the afternoon in Amsterdam today. Which I did.

And I’ve come back to tell you that I reckon everyone should spend at least one afternoon in Amsterdam. I only did one museum, the Amsterdam Historisch Museum, which was rather good but quite labyrinthine and clearly they don’t think you ought to be able to delete a century or two to get out a little bit quicker.

I’m very pleased to report that I didn’t get lost. The Dutch are rather fond of a grid system, thankfully, and my intentions were simply to get a feel for the place before I spend 36 hours there before flying home. Which means I didn’t try anything other than a reasonably straight line from the train station and out to the first canal ring. It’s remarkable that all one needs to do as a tourist with a brain is to walk parallel to the main strip by just one block. It’s just as interesting, has slightly fewer people and far less of the tackiness.

I did a canal tour which was lovely and quiet and I took some photos just to see how they turned out (I was next to a window). The weather looks rather dour in the first but it stayed fine and warm enough for me to be quite glad of the sunscreen.

This next shot is a replica of the first Dutch East India Company ship. I’m not entirely convinced of the historical accuracy of the colours. I know the ships were painted but I can’t see Calvinists going all out for razzle dazzle.

There are 2,500 houseboats in Amsterdam across 100km of canals (see, I was paying attention). I couldn’t live in one but they usually look very attractive.

I’m spending the morning in Leiden tomorrow – time for a stroll, some photos, a couple of souvenirs and a chat over coffee with a political scientist* from the university – and then off to Amsterdam. Rather looking forward to it, really.

*I re-typed this word three times. My typing kept going Dutch or German on me.

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1 Comment

  1. suse said,

    July 3, 2010 at 1:53 am

    I love that you just took the train to another country for the afternoon.

    I don’t think I would EVER get over the novelty of that.


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