I’m here at Schiphol Airport now, waiting for my connecting flight to Copenhagen at 3.30pm … feeling disgusting and wanting a shower pronto. 🙁
I arrived in Amsterdam at 5.30am, and because I had to get my luggage, I couldn’t use the shower facility at Mercure Hotel in Schiphol, because it was located beyond the passport control. So I could only brush my teeth, wash my face and put on extra cologne in the toilet – ahhh, the joy of ‘flashpacking’! 😛 So I stored my big bags and then head off to the city.
Amsterdam got up rather late because at about 7.30am, the city was still very quiet. Litters and broken bottles were all over Damrak and no cafes, not even McDonald’s were open! I did plan to go to Anne Frank Huis to kill my time in Amsterdam rather than sitting around in Schiphol doing nothing. I walked towards Anne Frank Huis and met a girl from Brisbane. We chatted a bit because she was also killing time before her flight to Heathrow at 4.00pm. It was her first time overseas and when I said that I actually liked Amsterdam for its cheeky air, she responded “To me it smells like urine, maybe it’s being cheeky then?”. 😛
The horrendous flying time from Australia to Europe really brings into mind how isolated Australia is! We arrived at Anne Frank Huis at about 8.15 and despite the signs saying that Anne Frank Huis is open after 7.00am, the sign at the door said that it would open at 9am.
I sat on a bench and soon after joined by a couple from Milwaukee, US – we did some small-talk, whereas the girl from Brisbane sat on the other couch and was joined by a couple from California. The Brissie girl, myself and the California couple had a good chuckle or two waiting for the door to open. They shared about their experience being ripped off at Vatican, where everything that they did was chargeable. Apparently even the Sistine Chapel was not immune to the sounds of shutters and chatters, so they said that the whole experience was a rip-off. Funnily they said that even though at the beginning of the trip they tried hard not to fit into the American stereotype, by the time they were in Amsterdam, they were “it”. The reason why I was bestowed with this wisdom, was because there were a group of elderly Dutch folks who stood right in front of the queue, even though the Brissie and myself came the earliest. The Californian couple insisted that the Dutch folks honoured our position – I was like, “whatever!”. I couldn’t care, since there were only some folks in front of us anyway.
After Anne Frank Huis, I walked towards Damrak and because I was so hungry, I ended up eating at McDonald’s. (I know Bev, that you’re dissapointed with me! I couldn’t help it! Old habits die hard!). After having a McMuffin, a McDonald’s croissant, coffee and orange juice – all for the price of EUR 4.75 – I headed off towards Begijnhof. Begijnhof is my favourite place in Amsterdam, it is a group of quaint houses facing a garden – some kind of walled city – the area used to be inhabited by Beguine ladies, a group of Catholic spinsters. Nowadays, even though the last of the Beguines passed away in 1971, the house-owners are still mostly Catholic. I had a good time sitting and soaking the atmosphere in Begijnhof and I sat in front of the church there, soaking the hymns and the choruses. I missed going to church – I guess I can’t take the spirituality side out of me, even when I’m on holiday …