We had a smooth run from Den Haag to Amsterdam which took just under an hour. Our hotel Park Lane was easy to find and very pleasant. This time we were on the second floor, the first flight of stairs was OK, but the second flight was the ‘stairs of death’- very steep, shallow steps and a spiral near the bottom. These are typical of many Dutch buildings, the building is narrow, and the stairs are steep.
As this wasn’t our first visit to Amsterdam we took a more relaxed attitude to sightseeing. Our first day consisted of catching up with some friends for lunch and then spent the rest of the day with them. It was very pleasant and good to see them now they have a baby.
The following day we wandered around to familiarize ourselves with Amsterdam again. It attracts more tourists than Den Haag. The red light district and the cannabis cafes are more of a feature here. Again we caught up with our friends for lunch going across to north of the harbor which was a nice change of view.
Afterwards we took a short canal tour which was very interesting. Amsterdam is known as Venice of the north with its hundred canals and a thousand bridges. It was an extremely prosperous and important city in the 18th Century which went from nothing to nothing in about 100 years.
For the first time since we left home it looked rain and it actually rained just as we got close to our hotel. The little café Smit & Voogt at the corner of our street turned out to be a great find and was definitely out of the tourist area as there was no English menu, the waiter was happy to translate for us.