Thursday, April 24, 2008

Amsterdam: Day 2 -- Arrival

We landed in Amsterdam at about 7am local time, fresh from the long flight and eager to check out the city. After going through passport control, we bought train tickets at the nearest electronic kiosk and rode the rails to Centraal Station. It was about a 20 minute trip, and the train was not very crowded.

Once on foot, we stored our luggage in a locker at the station and went off exploring. There wasn't much going on at that hour, but it was nice to explore all the canals and dense network of streets with the occasional bicyclist whizzing by!

At around 2pm, we went north to our houseboat. From the back of Centraal Station, we took the first of many free, 5 minute ferry rides to the north part of the city. Once there, we walked down the quiet, more residential streets to our houseboat, number 34N. There, the owner's son met us to show us around the place and the operation of the appliances. While it rained for the rest of the afternoon, we took a nap.

That evening, we wandered around north Amsterdam looking for a decent restaurant, and not finding one, we took the ferry back across for a nice dinner at small "brown cafe", named because their walls are stained from years of tobacco smoke. The meal was nice, although a bit pricey. Afterwards, we took our time strolling back to the houseboat, being careful to watch out for pickpockets!

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