Atlantis Alumni

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Adventures By Boat And Tram

Friday morning we took a very pleasant canal tour of Amsterdam by boat. On the ‘green line’ we saw the major canals at the heart of the city, and even traveled into the Amstel River. Canal boats are an easy way to see much of the city. We left the boat in the Jordan section of the city, near the famed Anne Frank house and the West Church. Luckily, we’d visited the Frank house before, because the huge line waiting to see it snaked around several blocks. We did peek into the grand church, where the organist was practicing for a concert to take place in the afternoon. The last queen of Holland was married in the church, Rembrandt and his son Titus are buried there, and Anne Frank wrote in her diary that she could see the church’s tower and liked to hear its bells. We walked into the notorious and colorful red light district, trying to find a house museum. Then a gigantic thunder storm, with heavy rain started. Opposite the Oude Kerk, or Old church (1571) we huddled under the eaves of a brothel. Soon the ladies inhabiting the place, dressed only in lingerie, asked if we wanted to come into their den. They had heavy Spanish accents and tried to entice us with the term ‘fucki-wuki’ several times, to no avail, as Jim explained he was my husband! We eventually left the area, still chuckling, and took several modes of transportation, both metro and tram, down to a remote residential neighborhood where the Okura Hotel exists. But after we got there, despite the fact we had reservations, the maitre d’ refused us admission to the Yamazato Restaurant because Jim was wearing shorts. In short, the place has ‘attitude,’ to use an American expression. So we took a tram back to the Center of the city, and had a pleasant Italian lunch at an eatery run by two authentic Italian girls. In the afternoon we took another canal boat ride, seeing further parts of the city that we’d not seen previously. After freshening up at our hotel, the Banks Mansion, we walked down the nearby gay street, full of people to another old section of the center. There, we ate at Haesje Claes, a typical Dutch restaurant which was a combination of six marvelous old buildings, all in red brick, with interiors of carved wood. After a salad and huge plate of smoked fish (white fishes, salmon, prawns, mackerel, herring) Dan had Dover sole and Jim slurped up a hot pot of more fish with cheese and potatoes.-Dan

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