Day 11: Last day in Amsterdam

After I got my act together this morning and dashed about trying to find a replacement converter and recharge the gadgets, the kids and I were finally ready to get out the door.  We had some designated plans today. First up was the canal cruise.  Luckily (for me and Havana, not so lucky for Ben) the walk to the station where the cruises began was directly through a shopping area.  I swear to god that Amsterdam has the best shoe stores I’ve ever found in Europe.  Even better than Italy in my opinion.  The prices may seem expensive at 70Euros + but the difference is that just about every shoe I find is made of real LEATHER and not the plastic manmade product that comes out of China and floods the retailers in America.   I had to restrain because I didn’t walk to walk around with shopping bags so early in the day.

Thankfully it was overcast with a few sprinkles.   Nothing is worse that walking around a city in the hot summer sun.  Our canal tour lasted about an hour pretty uneventful.  I wonder if the captain get’s tired of making the same circuit over and over.  Can you tell how thrilled Havana was?

Afterwards it was off to one of the “tourist shows” called Amsterdam Dungeon. First,we stopped at McDonalds for a quick bite  Unlike the $12 hamburger in Switzerland, here we spent 11 Euros to feed 3.  I also hit the shoe store (shhh).

Anyway, the Amsterdam Dungeon is part show, part amusement as people walked though and each room was a bit of history on torture, crime or other dark aspects of Amsterdam in the 1600’s.  At the very end, there was a rollercoaster.  Cheesy but it was very entertaining especially when the actors would double speak in both English and Dutch. At the end we skipped the rollercoaster part.  What struck me as interesting was that by the end we entered a room that was cathedral-like.  I started to knock on the walls and sure enough, it was an old church with cathedral ceilings!  Apparently (according to the guy who escorted us out) it hasn’t been in use for many decades.  I guess back in the 70s is was a mosque for a while too. How bizarre.

Then it was back to the apartment for a short rest.  Tonight’s activity was to check out the Ice Bar (as seen on the Travel Channel).  Tourist reviews didn’t give it high ratings, basically going into a freezer…but the kids wanted to see it.  I thought it was amusing and made for a great picture opportunity (their paid photos, that is).  I made the most of my fruit drink in an ice glass and danced a little boogie with a very grandfatherly type gentleman.   For those interested, don’t pay full price at the door, Tour & Tickets sells discounted tickets.

As this was our last night, we did one last stroll past Rembrandt Square and stopped at a pub for a cold drink and French fries…Dutch style, with mayonnaise.  As I sat there watching the hundreds of people congregate in the cafe’s or in the square to listen to street performers I wondered what Amsterdam in the winter would be like.  In the summer the sun does not go down until very late.  In the winter I image it gets very dark mid-afternoon.  Sometime I’d like to come back in the winter to experience the Dutch way of life in the snow and cold.

Back at the apartment, I did the last bits of laundry and cooked up the remaining Dutch pancakes for dessert.  I have to keep on top of this blog!  Tomorrow we start the Baltic cruise.  God knows if they charge a king’s ransom for internet service.  God forbid I go 12 days without it!

Good-night, dear Amsterdam.  I shall miss you.  With that, enjoy the picture show.

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