Netherlands – Day Three – Tulips, Houseboats and No Gogh

Netherlands – Day Three – Tulips, Houseboats and No Gogh

‘ve got to say that our room here in the Westcord Fashion Hotel is one of the best I’ve ever stayed in. The light panels are a little wonky but the bed is the bomb. Like a cloud. Even while dead-eye awake at 2am with Jet Lag, I was in total comfort. And my new Zen power of falling asleep while meditating worked once again!

The day before we’d picked out our careful and deliberate route, all of us buying train passes (well, everyone bought, I paid) for our various activities. The first bit was to ride Tram 1 in to a specific place to see the Van Gogh Museum. Since our map didn’t show the stations that well, we had this whole right-turn, left-turn, over-a-canal and jump-off strategy planned. We rode and rode and with my sister trying to get a GPS bead on us, I asked a pretty Dutch girl (black curly hair, a knowing smile, cute glasses; if only I was forty years younger and not married) where we were on my map. She pointed. Not only was it nowhere we wanted to be but it was also nowhere where Tram 1 should be. We got off and found ourselves at a park that was, yes, clearly not on #1’s route. All we could do was get back on #1 going the other direction and learn to read the station signs on the monitor than our earlier dead reckoning.

I swear we saw #1’s for the rest of the day, plying down rails it shouldn’t have, a sort of Amsterdam Ghost Train. A twenty-first century Flying Dutchman. Scary.

What happens when you build with wooden pilings into mud centuries ago. Yes, the middle house is drunk and leaning on his bigger friend, who is walking him home, I suppose.

So anyway, when we finally found our shit, we were at the Van Gogh Museum for our viewing of his works. But Van Gogh was Van Gone – you needed reservations to see him (even his ear). With hopes crushed, we went to jump onto another train heading further downtown to take in the Tulip Museum (the thing about weird museums like these is that you might actually learn some interesting things that you might explore further. Never fails). So we went to the tram stop we needed. Tram pulled up and everyone flooded out the middle door. Grabbed my wife’s hand and towed her to the front door, which only too late clearly displayed a do not enter icon on them. The door everyone was flooding out of? That also served as the primary entry. Which now slammed shut. And the platform was empty of all sisters and moms. The tram blurred past us, accelerating.

“Well, fuck.”

So now we were in hot pursuit. Our chase tram showed up three minutes later. Had my wife call my sister – yes, she confirmed the station they’d gotten off at (a stop sooner than we were aiming for). We got off and there they were. Family reunited. Happy ending.

So the Tulip Museum. Interesting stuff, specifically where Tulips originated, how they got to Holland, how they’re grown, and the wonderful Tulip Crash. This was followed by a visit to a pancake place (well regarded, it seems – thirty-minute wait for our seats. I actually worked for them for a bit – when the harried waiter in charge of seating would come up and ask if there was a party of two ready, since we were four, I’d open the front door where the line was waiting outside our small waiting area and call out for a party of two. Finally, we got to sit and have our pancakes – was going to go with a standard cake but at the last second ordered it with bananas – delish!

The Houseboat Museum. The interesting thing about this picture is it gives you an idea of the crowded, narrow streets, the slow canal waters, and the bikes (so many!)

The last thing for today was a tour of a Houseboat Museum, which was nice and interesting – not much to say about it. It was outfitted as if the family who owned it in 1950 was still living there. Came off the boat into sweeping minor showers. We trudged west towards a pickup platform for tram 17 (our ride home) but something delayed it for thirty minutes (our last thirty-minute wait at least had pancakes at the end). Finally, 17 showed up and since it was delayed in rush hour, it was packed. We sardined in and managed to make it home.

Tomorrow, we go on our first set of travel agency tours of Amsterdam. We’ve pretty much seen them ten years ago on our last trip here. But sure, I’ll go for a boat ride again.

More as it happens.


>>>NEXT DAY<<<