Spring break brings us to Europe for a long anticipated tour of Portugal. But our journey starts in Amsterdam – our port of entry into the EU.
While Tawny and I had both been to Amsterdam many times, our daughter hadn’t, and we wanted to show her some cultural sites before heading onto Portugal.
Landing in the morning we forced ourselves awake for the day. We eased into Amsterdam with an orientational canal tour upon a beautiful old wooden boat. The world, still capable of being small, presented us with some acquaintances from Seattle as we came aboard the boat. After awkwardly acknowledging each other and exchanging niceties we settled in to enjoy a tour of Amsterdam from the water.
I remember the canals of Amsterdam to be filthy. As a child my parents brought my sister and I here and I recall sitting in a nice restaurant with a canal view watching a man piss into the canal before us as we ate. Getting up close and personal with the canals they don’t seem to have changed, although our tour guide insisted the water is cleaner that it looks. And yet, there’s a beauty to the labyrinth of serpentine canals that snake their way through the city.
We spent our day drifting aimlessly in a jet-lagged daze across the city, our only goal to track down record stores as an excuse to explore the city. We found some near the Red Light District and in the Flea Market before stopping at Freddy’s Bar (mentioned on our tour) within the De L’Europe Hotel which is run by the Heineken family. We sat in the sun at the canal edge and had a few afternoon beers (drinking a beer called Brand – not Heineken) before heading back to our hotel.
We took some time to relax in the hotel while researching restaurants via Yelp to eat at that evening. After reading reviews we chose one nearby so we wouldn’t have to walk too far. Little did we know it was actually the restaurant in our hotel called Scossa, which turned out (true to its reviews) to be quite nice. Had we paid attention to the map (pictured above) and seen the advertisement for this restaurant we would have received a discount of 10%. Amsterdamn! We missed that opportunity but enjoyed the meal.
Back in the room with bellies full of wine, risotto, and burrata we forced ourselves awake a few more hours before giving into our jet-lagged exhaustion, hoping a good night’s sleep would reset our biological clocks and set us on European time…