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The Smiffs’s Travel Diary

Wednesday, 09 Jul 2014

Location: Netherlands

Map We awoke refreshed and were greeted, unfortunately, by another cold and wet windy day. It was bloody warmer in Newcastle and it's WINTER there!!!
Anyway after a fulfilling continental breakfast at The Poet, we headed up our street, hung a right and were at the Rijks Museum.
This glorious building - outside and inside holds the treasures of Dutch history and art and some from their former "colonies."
As we strolled throught the Nacht Watch display leading into the Gallery of Honour featuring Vemeer, Rembrandt, Steen and Hals (and I think some of Van Gogh) we were treated to a bonus. It's Mercedes Fashion Week, so a bevy of tall, thin, young Dutch females paraded through the crowd, creating a marked contrast to the art in the building and the building itself. Vemeer's "Milkmaid" at least looked well-fed!! And probably got more attention than the skinny Dutch giants.

After a couple of hours in the Rijks Museum we decided to wander through the museumplien and drizzle to the Van Gogh Museum. YIKES!! the queue was gigantic! Horde of people under umbrellas stretched along the footpath - so we go to Plan B and jump on a tram to Centraal Station to the Tourist Info.
The tram trip itself was a good orientation for getting the gist of how this lovely city is laid out.
We came away with an I Amsterdam 2 Day Pass (see pic to understand the I Amsterdam logo) and set off back to the Centraal Station to cash in some remaining AUD at the Travelex desk.
The cashiers were wearing orange Ts with "Wisselen!" (Change in Dutch) across the front. This word was related to how the Dutch "changed" their keeper who saved them in the Round of 16 - getting them into the semi. Nearly everyone was wearing some orange clothing in preparation for tonight's World Cup semi.
I noticed you had to change 400+ euros to get one free.
Anyway I bullshitted about how our Socceroos scared the hell out of them and ended up with a shirt even though I only changed $AUD120. She said "that's for the 3 point we got for beating your team."
We went back to The Poet and had a siesta; headed out to Leidseplein to join the masses and find a bar to watch the soccer.
Just let me say it was a memorable night/early morning.