Tom and Linda’s 2008 Europe Trip

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

On the train again, through Rotterdam to Amsterdam.

The Eurail passes were great - no worries about buying tickets; just find a train going the right way and get on it. After a while the conductor might or might not come by, check and stamp the pass, smile and nod.

Canals in Amsterdam

Amsterdam was good when I wasn’t miserable. The sinus thing that started in Bruges caught up with me. Visited a pharmacy, but they can’t sell pseudoephedrine or anything like it over the counter, and the only thing I could get was a nasal spray for children. It eventually did some good, I think, but Amsterdam is a bit hazy for me.

Van Gogh Museum

Our first evening we went for a stroll, a few blocks down to the Van Gogh Museum. It was a Friday night, when the museum is open late and uncrowded. Tom was pretty bored, but I enjoyed the progression of his painting styles displayed there. I was disappointed that some of his most famous works are elsewhere – “Starry Night” is in MOMA in New York, “Sheaves of Wheat” is in d’Orsay in Paris (which I missed.) They did have “Wheat Field With Crows,” which is rumored to be his last, depression-inspired painting before he shot himself.

I find his pointillist-style works amaze me, but mostly I think he was just clumsy, and perhaps at least partly the failure he thought he was. Interesting that his younger brother, Theo, who supported him most of his life, only survived him by 6 months. Vincent shot himself, but why did Theo die so young?

Getting Around

We stayed for two nights, so had one full day in town. We spent about half the day on a hop-on-hop-off canal boat. It was interesting and enjoyable on the sunny Amsterdam Saturday, and I didn’t have to move much to see a lot. I did find myself wishing I’d brought my hat.

Living on the Water

The canals are lined with houseboats of all sizes and styles, most of which have been there for years and have permanent mailboxes. In fact, there is a moratorium on houseboat berths - if you want one you have to convince someone to leave. More likely, these are sold just like more stable real estate and never really move.

Kinda like having a car parked outside your house.

Taller boats need drawbridges.

Exploring Amsterdam

We hopped off at one point to wander around a canal-side flea market. Gas masks to pumps.

Saturday - a good day to mess about in boats. With swans.

I guess this guy didn't want to get his clothes wet. Even in Amsterdam this gets some hoots.

Fancy urinals on the street?

Grand Canal View

Tom's Evening Out

Back to the hotel at about 3PM, and I stayed there to nurse my cold. Took a long soak in the wonderful deep bathtub, read a little and slept.

Tom left me sleeping and went out to check out the Red Light District.

He got to our nearest Metro stop, Leideseplein, and found the exciting night life there – never made it to see the District. Or so he says.


Back to the Station

Our Canal Bus passes were good for 24 hours, so we decided to use that to get back to the train station. We caught the first one out and had a pleasant ride.

There were only a few of us on the boat, and the captain was pretty relaxed. She gave us the choice of music or the Tour Recording. So we road through the canals to the train station listening to classic rock.


1 Beginning 5 Paris 9 Frankfurt and the Night Train 13 Bavaria and Tirol
2 London to Edinburgh 6 Bruges 10 Vienna 14 Motorcycles in the Alps
3 The Fringe 7 Amsterdam 11 Hallstatt and the Salzkammergut 15 Switzerland near Interlaken
4 Scotland and Wales 8 Bacharach in the Rhine Valley 12 Salzburg 16 Home again

If the journal is narrow, adjusting the width of your window will make it easier to read.

Email Tom:
Email Linda: