30 December 2008


Well, here we are in Amsterdam, sitting in our bed at Lloyd Hotel, where we decided to have an hour of sleep at about 4pm and woke up at 11pm. Heh. So much for willpower. I can barely remember the alarm going off! And so we have decided to try to stay awake until 2 or 3, and then catch another few hours of shut-eye at a reasonable time. Yay for free wireless access at this place, so I can write to you from bed!

Flights from Melbourne to London were OK. We were in the VERY LAST ROW, which turned out to be quite alright. The first flight to Singapore felt like it was about 48930 hours long, but the longer one went by smoothly with lots of sleeping and delicious curries (mmmm, PICKLES!) There weren’t any screaming children, and despite the usual whatever kind of service and the fact our movies on demand didn’t always work (oh, Qantas, why so average?), it was fine. I watched Mamma Mia! And despite a couple of issues, which I managed to ignore slightly, I LOVED IT, OMG. SO MUCH FUN. And the crappy sound quality meant that Pierce Brosnan didn’t sound half as bad as I expected!

For a second I thought we had free wireless in Heathrow Terminal 5. I got the laptop out and all (after changing in the bathroom and drinking a cup of Earl Grey tea and sharing a sandwich from Eat). I wouldn’t have been TOO surprised, given that it is so far away from anything resembling society that it might as well be . . . well, to get there we went on a sekrit bus with a bunch of tired and/or obnoxious Australians complaining about/loving the cold (STEAMY BREATH!) for about seven hours through a variety of concrete tunnels, and I thought perhaps instead of flying they were going to bus us to Amsterdam.

Alas it wasn’t so. So we got on a half-full plane for the 45 minute flight. The squalling child in the row behind us was more than made up for as I went from side to side of the plane to watch the sun rise – it was gorgeous!

More flight pics

As we came in to land I started squeeing about the frost that was all over the grass, and the fact that some of the wee irrigation channels and whatnot had ICE on the side of them, and that the houses were all pointy and that I saw some WINDMILLS . . . I squeed quite a bit. We touched down and managed to guess our way onto the train to Amsterdam Centraal. When we got out of the station . . .


It was bright and sunny, but OMG, my face just about fell off! Dan got us some tram tickets, and the conductor on the tram was very nice – he got us exactly where we wanted to go. The room at our hotel wasn’t ready yet, but the kind staff member locked up our bags ready for us to return, and we set off to explore.

Walking was nice, even though my trousers seem to be basically the coldest item of clothing in the world – not cold as in ‘letting the cold through’ but cold as in ‘taking the cold and MAKING IT COLDER’. WTF? Tomorrow I will wear thermals underneath! Then again, what can you expect when you are walking around in weather that is COLDER THAN BEING INSIDE YOUR FRIDGE?! I kept having to make detours to crunch the frosty grass, or make finger prints in the frost on picnic tables and cars. I’m really grown up, yo.

We were in Amsterdam for a couple of days in 2005, and back then we went to a couple of museums and wandered around trying to find a vegetarian café that had been recommended (we found it, it was good). This time we were not looking for anything in particular, and it was very enjoyable. We took off in any old direction, along canals, through slightly higgledy-piggledy alleyways, into a shopping centre called SISSY-BOY HOMELAND to keep warm for a bit.

We followed some street signs to HOMOMONUMENT, which is exactly that – a kind of platform over the water of a canal dedicated to men and women who have been persecuted because of their homosexuality (but not you bisexuals and other queers, sheesh!). We saw an ad for Kiki on Steroids, but it’s only open from Wednesday to Sunday (it was Monday) and closed on the 4th of January (we’re back through on the 5th). ANNOYING!

After that, it was time for a snack, so we went to Sara’s Pancake House. Unlike the person who wrote this review, we had adequate service with a smile (and, like everywhere, the switch to English without even needing to ask), I had a plate of deliciously moreish poffertjes, and D had a kind of pizza pancake. Yes, it was overpriced, but we weren’t complaining – it was warm and we were fed!

We decided to walk along the canals back to Amsterdam Centraal, then catch the tram to the hotel. We managed that without too much hassle, wandering along the less-touristy parts, watching the street cleaners do their thing, seeing the front of a van fall off and the driver almost drive over the top of it, taking a detour through the Bloemenmarkt (so many tulip bulbs for sale!), trying to catch the last bit of the sun as it gave up its feeble attempt to rise to a point that made it look like anything more than early morning or late afternoon . . . Did I mention it was cold? IT WAS COLD!

At about 3pm, we made it back to the Hotel, got our bags and found our room. It is a lovely room – sparsely furnished, but with a big, super-comfy bed, a nice hot shower, and lots of polished floor space. Our views are quite nice – waking up at 11pm and looking out the window, we were treated to a complete change, with strings of lights sparkling over the water. The basketball court down below is now completely frosted over. It’s beautiful.

Well, I’ve just spent 2 hours editing and uploading photos, so now I will post this, then try to sleep for a bit more. Tomorrow we’re off to Ameland, where the top temperature is forecast to be OVER ZERO DEGREES! (The low is minus 4, though.) One of our Dutch relatives is driving us from Lelystad, which is very kind of her, and which might mean we get to stop off somewhere and look around. We shall see!

More Amsterdam pics here!


  1. omg it is so beautiful.



  2. thank you! we will have some fun ... FOR YOU!

  3. Gorgeous photos, but I suppose being in AMSTERDAM makes it easy! *sulks* Have a wonderful time, and catch a snowflake for me!

  4. Eee! Awesome! I wish I could go traveling again soon. I miss it!

    Keep having lots of fun!

  5. point and click, lilacsigil, point and click! i was wondering the other day if i manage to take good photos only because i go to pretty places, and if those places are particularly striking because i think they are. or something. idk, i'm tired and sick!