2013 0813 Amsterdam: Way too much to see in a day. Got rained on twice. But it was a wonderful visit and whetted our appetite to come back here. Boat docked at the main cruise passenger terminal at 10:00. Went outside and across the street and got on tram route 26 into the Central Station (the RR station). Stood in line in a ticketing building to get day passes for the trams/buses. It was about 11:00 before we got on route 2 headed toward the museum district.

We got off a couple of stops too early, which was fine given how crowded the tram was. This is where we got caught in our first heavy rain shower. Luckily, it didn’t last too long. We took shelter under the awning of a kiosk where they had explicit sex postcards. Sorry, didn’t buy any. Then the few blocks to the museum district.

I had bought museum tickets online before we travelled and it was a great move. Our first museum was the Ruks Museum where the line for tickets stretched about two blocks and was this long even when we left the museum later. This is a huge museum and its prize, I think, are all the Rembrandts. Hordes of people inside (and waiting to get inside). We went right through the express lane given we had prepaid tix. Three stories of great art. Cannot even begin to talk about what’s there. It’s like saying what’s in the Louvre. One of the nice thing they have are laminated large cards by many of the paintings with notes about details of the painting. And the posting on the wall by a painting was really informative. So we saw art dating back to the Netherlands’ colonial days, the who period before and through and after Rembrandt (and huge rooms of Rembrandts), up through Picasso and some impressionists. Cannot do a museum like this justice in one visit, of course.

Exited and walked across the park-like square of the district toward the Van Gogh Museum and the Stedililk Museum, the latter where we were going. Got caught in our next rain shower. The Stedililk is the museum of modern art. Went up to second floor and their café for a nice lunch and then through the “1950-present” collection that covers the entire second floor. Super stuff and great explanations. Also had purchased the audio tour, so got nice insights on many of the works.

About 3:00, we headed across the square and got on tram route 2 back to Central Station. Walked across a bridge and bought tix for a one-hour canal tour. Nice. Was about 4:00-5:00. Got good orientation to all the interconnecting canals. Slid by Anne Frank house … lines were blocks long there. We were told by the Wests that they waited 45 minutes in line just to get tickets.

Took route 26 back to the passenger terminal and had to go through Netherlands’ security tighter than any we’ve been through (take off watches, belts, totally empty pockets, et.). But it was the first time this trip I didn’t set off a scan alarm and have to be individually frisked.

We’ve had a bottle of champagne in our room since we boarded. Eric, our butler, got us ice and a nice chees tray and we drank and snacked. Then we decided to go to the Terrace Café to have a “light” dinner. Right. Light. It was very nice and we had a window table where we could watch us leaving port and wending our way out to the sea, which takes about two hours.

Lovely day. Way too compressed. Would have loved to do other stuff, but we will have to come back.

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