Logistical Planning My First Day in Amsterdam

After dinner last night, I had a shower and then got out of my hosts’ way so they could finish packing for their trip. I went to bed around 10:30 or so and am surprised I pretty much slept the night through considering how hard the bed was (worse than Bulgaria!). But, hold on, hold on, I knew that ahead of time that the guest bed was bad and it would be a tradeoff for not having to pay for a room somewhere. Tonight, I move to the very luxurious master suite. 🙂

So, I ended up being awake pretty early. I did some online stuff, including trying to figure out why some of you long-time readers are suddenly having your comments moderated. I don’t have an answer for that yet, sorry. Just know that it’s nothing personal and that I’m working on it!

I eventually got up and made coffee and breakfast (had bought things last night), then started to plan my time in Amsterdam. The first thing I researched was whether the “Museumkaart,” an all access pass to museums all over the Netherlands, would be good value for me at 60 euros. It certainly will be, so I’ll get it and then I’ll do one or two museums a day. I’m planning to be pretty much “on vacation” through this weekend and everything is open, so I’ll be in hard core tourism mode, then I’ll work half days next week. As long as I don’t eat out much, the museum pass will be my biggest expense.

Next, I decided to see if getting a SIM card for my phone would be an option. Google told me that Lebara would be a good place to ask and there happened to be one right in front of the Albert Heijn grocery store I went to last night. So I headed there around noon.

A very nice guy from Jordan who spoke perfect English got me sorted very quickly. The SIM was free and 1GB of data was just 10 euros! I think this was my cheapest place to get online so far, possibly even better than Serbia.

I then wandered a bit around my neighbourhood.

This is a part of my street. I live at the end of it on the left.

So many bicycles. And bike lanes. I got yelled at a number of times today for not watching for bikes and/or getting in their lane. Need to be more conscious of that! Crossing streets can be challenging since you have to look both ways for bikes, then cars, then possibly trams, then cars, then bikes again!

This is where we had dinner last night, Olivity. From the outside, I would never have guessed it’s a restaurant.

I got some dinner things at a different Albert Heijn and then went home to make sure there were no last minute things my host needed me to know before she headed off. I then spent some time putting on laundry and unpacking. It was too late to go out to a museum or something since everything closed at five today. Tomorrow, Friday, things are open later and I plan to make a very full day of it, starting with a walking tour, then at least one museum.

But I still went back out in the late afternoon. It was rather gloomy and damp, but not as bitterly cold as I expected. I had to wash my sweaters today so I only wore a thin long-sleeved cotton top under my coat and I was perfectly warm. I actually don’t think I’ll need the other layer if I’m walking as much as I think I will be and it’ll save me having too many layers when I go into museums. However, I do want a fluffier scarf and some sort of warm hat.

So my afternoon walk. The endless rows of terraced houses reminded me so much of London, but the architectural style is completely different.

Neat wooden bicycle.

My first canal! (Not counting what I saw from the train.)

Bicycles and a canal, so quintessentially Amsterdam!

Like being in one of Rembrandt’s paintings. The sky didn’t really translate to pixels, but the lighting was so evocative of his paintings!

The entirety of this poem by Emily Dickinson was on several plaques. Reading it, I was hit by a surprising wave of homesickness.

To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,
One clover, and a bee.
And revery.
The revery alone will do,
If bees are few.

I didn’t actually make it to downtown tonight. It’s a bit of a hike (1.5KM just to the limits of it) and I’m doing a walking tour tomorrow so it didn’t make sense to do that. Once that’s done, I’ll go get my Museumkaart. I was advised to get it at one of the less busy museums, so I won’t be doing the two at the top of my wish list just yet, especially since you’re strongly advised to prebook your visitation slot. Can you guess what two museums they might be?

I can’t wait to go exploring tomorrow!

11 thoughts on “Logistical Planning My First Day in Amsterdam

  1. We visited the Molen van Sloten for a unique experience. They offer tours in several different languages of the inside of a working windmill. We drove to it in a rental car, though, so I don’t know what access you might have to it. I also bought a wonderful cotton carry bag there with handles long enough to actually sling it over my shoulder. I carried that bag for years until I finally wore it out.

    • Linda, it’s right at the end of my tram line, plus a bit of walking! I don’t know if I’ll have time to get there, plus it’s not included in the museum pass, but it’s something I’ll definitely keep in mind if I do find myself with more time to fill than expected. Thanks!

  2. Are you staying in the Jordaan district? I am a friend of Angela Gilbert’s and have read your blog from time to time. The photos look familiar. My sister-in-law lives in the Jordaan district, I was their in April and the Albert Hijn looks familiar.

    • Thanks for your comment, Ann. I actually have no idea what district I’m in… 😀 I’m at the Jan Pieter Heijestraat #1 tram stop, if that helps at all…

  3. I’d make a beeline to three museums:

    the RIJKS Museum (for the Vermeers and Rembrandts)

    the Van Gogh Museum

    the Anne Frank house

    (and probably the Rembrandt House museum, too. Okay, that’s four.)


    P.S. Be sure to have some “banket,” a tender almond-flavored pastry, for Christmas. My dad was Dutch, and this was a staple in our house growing up during the holidays.

    • Well done, Cindy! My top two museums to visit are the Anne Frank house and the Van Gogh museum, but the Rijks museum and Rembrandt House are also on my list!

      Thank you for the info about banket. I love almonds so it’s likely something I’d enjoy.

  4. So pleased you are enjoying it. We are planning to retire there, and are going for a “scouting” trip in April. So I am watching your blog like a hawk for tidbits. I adore a small town called Leiden. It is a university town, and where the pilgrims landed when their first boat sank. Learned that by reading that on a plaque on a small nondescript building.

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