Place Stanislas - Fontaine de Neptune, Nancy France

Place Stanislas - Fontaine de Neptune, Nancy France

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20 April 2018

Netherlands Field Report 6 – Day 5 / Amsterdam

Steps today: 27 008

Fed up with the breakfast situation (there being none in Haarlem) we decided to skip Starbucks at the Haarlem train station and have breakfast somewhere at the station in Amsterdam.  You guess it – we ended up at Starbucks there too. It was the only place we could sit, everything else was take away and we are too hungry in the morning to skip it and do brunch instead.

Here is the view we have in the morning on our way to the station in Haarlem:


Turns out the Starbucks in Haarlem and Amsterdam Station have the same stale croissants. Everything else is a desert or a lunch. Ah well… it’s really our only complaint about this trip so far, and it’s a minor thing. Still, some toast would be nice!

Side note: the Amsterdam Train Station was under renovation both times I previously visited the city, it’s so nice to see it done.




We started our morning with a walk through the Red Light District, mind you there is not much to see at 8:30 in morning aside from the left overs of last night’s party = LOTS of litter.


We stopped for a snack around a quarter after 9, this is a routine for us by now: lousy croissant around 7:30AM then a toast later around 9:30 when we finally find a decent place. This whole thing has perplexed me because when I went to Paris last year all I had for breakfast was coffee and croissant and I was fine until lunch! Whatever, maybe they were more filling.


After that bite to eat, we made our way to the Rijksmuseum. We bought our tickets on line months ago, but did not buy tickets to the Van Gogh Museum which is right next door because we were not sure we were going to visit it. When we got to the Rijksmuseum, we walked around the gardens first for a while and ended up at the V.G.M. so we said why not, let’s do that one now since we’re here. Turns out, tickets for that museum are only available on line! There was a ticket kiosk, so we were able to buy some - but only for 4PM (it was 10:30 by then).



We enjoyed our visit of the Rijksmuseum, we only stayed about 90 minutes to avoid museum fatigue but we got out of it what we needed.

IMG_3703   IMG_3704




And of course, The Night Watch


After this, it was lunch at the American Bar which I remember seeing with Frank. When he and I went, the inside dining room was closed but we snuck a peak and it was really nice! This time it was open and we enjoyed a nice meal.


Next, we went to check out the Albert Cuyp Market which for me was just a “check the box” sight. It reminded me a lot of the Portobello Market in London which was also just ok for me. I am not a shopper, so really I find it all rather dull – however I was able to try a Dutch treat that was on my list called: Poffertjes. Deceptively filling!


It was another melting hot day today, so we did our best to stay in the shade as much as possible. The walk back to the Van Gogh Museum from the Market was thankfully shady, but the line up to get in was not! UGH Thank God it moved fast!

No pictures allowed inside the museum, which I suppose is good in a way because you don’t have 10 outstretched arms in your face when you want to see a painting, but I like taking pictures of the paintings that attract me – it doesn’t take away from my enjoyment of seeing the real thing, but rather it cements them into my mind and creates memories to look back on later and enjoy.


We got out a little after 5PM and walked back to train station through the Red Light District again (this time we did see prostitutes, one of them looking bored and checking her phone, ha!) and saw the 2 narrow houses described in my guide book.

This one is 2.02m wide…


… and this one is 2.44m wide.


The warm weather is great for the trees! In just a few days the leaves are really coming in.




We got back to Haarlem around 7:10, and it was straight to the hotel to change clothes and go out for a bite. Thank God I changed into long pants and got my jacket, the wind picked up so much! The temps must have dropped 10C in an hour. By the time we left at 8:30PM, I had my gloves on. 

The intention of having “just a snack” turned into a burger… but I’m weak, marketing works on me! The meat was from DUTCH cows! It’s like yesterday in Rotterdam; I didn’t really want the croquettes but they were described as The Croquettes from Rotterdam. Well, now I have to try them!



Since the temps dropped from 25C this afternoon to 12C this evening it makes me wonder what’s in store for tomorrow! Dressing on vacation is always such a challenge!!! Wish me luck!

19 April 2018

Netherlands Field Report 5 – Day 4 / Rotterdam

Steps today: 21 733

OMG it was hot today! 30C with the humidex, thank goodness I packed summer clothes and sunscreen.

True to our routine, we were up by 6, out the door by 7, on the road by 8 and arrived at our final destination by 9. Today it was Rotterdam and frankly I thought it was just ok. I’m glad I went, no regrets but I don’t think I’ll ever have a reason to go back.

Here are some random shots of our day:






The Market Hall was pretty neat. Lots of interesting things to see like really blue cheese and fancy donughts.







We walked along the waterfront, but the sun was strong so most of the pictures are hazy.



The park near the Euromast Tower was really nice. There is a restaurant up there so we said we’d give it a shot, but there must have been over 50 people in line – forget it!






We had lunch in the Delfshaven area which was quite nice. It’s claim to fame is being the harbour where Dutch Pilgrims left from on their way to America in the early 1620s.




After lunch (by about 2PM) we had had enough and decided to return to Haarlem for the rest of the afternoon.

We got back to the hotel around 4 and my mom went down for a nap. I was very tired too but went to relax with a cool drink at a cafe. I would have liked a table overlooking the church, but they were all in the full sun, and besides, the views are marred by the stupid fun fair! I settled for a shady table near-ish the square.


I overheard the waiter talking to another customer and he was telling her how all the merchants HATE the fair and signed a petition to get rid of it. 2018 may be its last year.

After our respective rechargings, my mom and I went out for a snack (neither one of us wanting a big meal for supper) and we could not get over how the square was bustling! EVERYONE seemed to be out enjoying the weather… it was great!



After our snack, we walked around for a while and called it a day by 8:15.

The heat got to us today, so we’re both looking forward for bed! Zzzz



Good night!