As I said in my last post, coming to Amsterdam was a spur of the moment decision after seeing a good offer in the British Airways sale. I caught a cab from home very early this morning to take me to nearby Heathrow Terminal 5. The flight is so short – only 45 minutes in the air – that the cabin crew barely had time to bring round thecomplimentary breakfast of orange juice, Bircher muesli, pain au chocolat and coffee or tea before we were descending for landing. The journey from Schiphol airport is so familiar to me from when I came here regularly years ago. I bought a 5€ ticket and was soon on a train that sped me to Amsterdam Central Station in 20 minutes. Coming out I was met by the inevitable sea of bicycles everywhere.
I decided to walk to the hotel rather than take a tram or taxi. I knew well where I was going from my trip last March. The Hotel de Looier was a bit further on from where Nicola and I stayed last year, but in the same direction. I guessed it would take me about half and hour to walk it. And it did. It’s so pretty even in the grey and slightly damp weather that a walk was great.
Although it it was only about midday I was able to get into my room straight away. Once I’d had a freshen up, I headed off to find some lunch. Amsterdam is full of wonderful cafes but I decided to head up the area of Prinsengracht near Westerkerk and the Anne Frank house. I was slightly surprised to see a huge, long queue of people waiting to visit the house on such a dull Sunday. I went back to a cafe Nicola and I had lunch in last March.
I’d planned to have a simple bowl of soup but in the end couldn’t resist pancakes, remembering how good they were last year. And pancakes of course is a very Dutch thing to eat!
The pancake was served with goats’ cheese, honey, fresh thyme and walnuts. It was gorgeous. I had a small draft local Heineken beer with it. You can also see in the photo that I’ve brought Donna Tartt’s THE GOLDFINCH to read, so I won’t run out of reading matter. It’s 869 pages long! I finished with a regular coffee.
A ‘regular’ coffee here is what we might call a long espresso. It’s quite a small coffee. But for me at the end of a meal, perfect, and exactly what I wanted. I paid my bill – €13 – and then walked along the canals for a bit. Despite the inclement weather, it’s great to be back in Amsterdam.