A Travellerspoint blog

Amsterdam Weekend


Phew. What a scorcha!

We were lucky with the weather. When we arrived at the tunnel there was a Harley and two Vespas in front of us in the queue. The Harley guy was wearing an Arsenal scarf but heading to Belgium for a Harley rally, we weren't wearing any Arsenal gear but were heading for Amsterdam. Partly for a weekend away, and partly to go to the ArenA for the LG Tournament (see elsewhere on the Blog).

By the time we got into Belgium my odometer was showing 60 miles since fuel. I needed a drink as I hadn't had any breakfast so we pulled into the new services after Veurne. I filled up and we had coffee. We were in no real hurry. The route I had planned for the GPS was scrapped as for some reason the Quest was on the fritz again. Unable to find satellites. I persevered for most of the journey to Amsterdam and it wheezed into life a couple of times. Maybe for 3 miles in 230 travelled each way!

As we approached Breda (with Amsterdam not on any road signs) I took the straight on option towards Rotterdam and Den Haag rather than the loop over the top to Utrecht. By fluke not a bad mistake as was revealed on the way back (more of that later!)

With the GPS belly-up, we were lucky that I had printed off the Via Michelin route to the hotel and the hotel's own info sheet, so Claire was able to navigate off the motorway ring road. We checked in and changed into civvies.

We then discovered that we had booked into the same hotel as the Arsenal team - the Hilton. As we went down in the lift we shared it with Nicholas Bendtner, (he is very tall!) and one of the kit men. We ran into players all the time and never when Claire had the phone-camera turned ON! No darned pics!



We found the two nearest tram stops and took #2 into the centre and then checked out how to get a strippen card to hop on and off the trams and metro. It's all done by folding the 15-trip card in the right place and sticking in a machine. Once stamped you have an hour to get where you want. How you work out how many zones seems like a lottery as Emmastraat seemed inside the yellow line on the map showing it to be in the Central zone, the same as Centraal Station, but they bipped it twice when there was a guard/ticket seller on the train!

After sorting the tram tickets out, we decided to have a cruise along the canals and the harbour area. We chose Holland International (http://www.hir.nl/) for cruise. It was €11 each, but had the most comfy looking seats! The cruise takes about an hour and is indeed a rondvaart!


After the cruise we decided to head back to the hotel. We had got our bearings for the next full day of sightseeing! We retraced our steps on the #2 tram. Stopping for a beer (our first!) at a bar by the Emmastraat tram stop. A bit upmarket with some "beautiful people" (or plonkers!) drinking wine in such an affected way of holding the stem you wanted to slap them. Especially the blond version of Llewellyn-Bowen in the white blazer.

After nap and change we rubbed shoulders with Cesc and Alex Hleb who were larking about in the foyer. Sadly, we didn't have the camera with us (!) and Claire's phone was turned off! Too late! Later, as we ate. Mr Wenger and Pat Rice came past as we sat outside a nearby Italian restaurant.

Day 2

We were up and breakfasted by 9.30 and out. This time we took Tram #16 instead for some variety and jumped off at Spui as Claire wanted to see the flower market and to buy some bulbs for the garden. On the other side of the road was a Gay Pride banner, penny not yet dropped.

We did the flower market, bought a touristy ceramic clog and bulbs for our next door neighbour who fed the cats for us whilst we were away, and three packs of bulbs for us and Claire's sister. Then we felt we needed a drink.


At the first bar we didn't see hide or hair of the waiting staff and so gave up. Not gay enough? The canal banks were lined with people and anyone that owned a boat was out soaking up the sun.

As well as this there were boats overloaded with people enjoying the Gay Pride day.... dressed up in strange (to us) concoctions and some "ladies" that looked like rugby players in drag.

We had a long walk around and a coffee in Rembrandtplein, once again the service was sloooowwww. Some wandering found us a the Waterlooplein market before we headed back to Centraal Station through more gay pride areas and then China Town.

Dam Square was chocked with people and also those guys that dress up and act like statues. Mimes? Whatever. They were all pretty good and getting a load of attention. In that heat they must have been boiling to death in their costumes. Or perhaps the silver reflected the sun! I took a few pics, although the guys were reluctant to pose and kept turning away. Had they posed they may have been the colour of my money. It's a trade guys!


Tram #2 was the tram of choice this afternoon. It was so hot that we had to have a lie down with a cold tin of beer before the evening at the soccer....

Day 3

After a late night on Saturday after the football at the ArenA, we had a late morning and a leisurely breakfast before packing up for the ride back.
At this time we had no idea that by some stroke of luck we had missed the entire closed section of the motorway south of Utrecht on the way up or that it was going to be even hotter than the previous two days.

Is it possible to get sunstroke through your clothes and helmet?

Escaping from Amsterdam was easier said than done. We thought we had retraced our steps back to S108 and the A10 Ring but in fact had gone towards the Centre! I guessed as the Heineken Brewery came into view. A quick ride round the block brought us on the way out, eventually meeting the Ring at S110. Not too bad. Just loads of sitting at traffic lights in the burning sun.

Once on the A10 the A2 wasn't far off and we started to up the pace. Even at 80mph the wind was still warm coming through the top vents of my helmet. As we approached Utrecht there were signs in Dutch that meant very little to us but from the pictographs it looked like motorway closed. We were right as it happens. We followed the detour, that helpfully kept us on the A2 and added 25 miles to the journey to Breda.

Once there we rejoined the original route and we were soon into Belgium. As it was so hot we ended up stopping every 50 miles or so for a drink and a stand in the shade. As my phone wasn't working, Vodafone had put the international bar on (!) I couldn't contact our friends John and Inge to say we were in the area, so instead me went back to the Shuttle. By now it wasn't as hot as it was getting on for 1700 local time.

The trip under the Channel was the usual 35 minutes following ages sitting about, firstly by the big car park and then again alongside the train as they load cars on so that they can stuff us in the last carriage. Does anyone have any idea why we can't be loaded as and when we arrive?

Anyway, all in all a good trip, hot and uncomfortable and not without some niggles. At least the GS ran perfectly the entire trip!

(Other photos can be accessed from the links ----->;)

Posted by InvictaMoto 07:23 Archived in Netherlands

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Be the first to comment on this entry.

This blog requires you to be a logged in member of Travellerspoint to place comments.