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Trip report - 2 days in Amsterdam in November, 2013

Grand Rapids...
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Trip report - 2 days in Amsterdam in November, 2013

A brief report on a brief trip to Amsterdam from November 23 - 25, 2013. I would have posted this/linked it to the Amsterdam trip reports board, but there was no option to add to the postings there - looks like it's been closed or limited to "admin."

What We Did - started with a 2 hour walking tour (very good and helpful with good advice re: using public transit, where to grab lunch, etc). Visited Begijnhof; Anne Frank Huis (absolutely must purchase tickets online and in advance or else be there at 9:00 am on a Sunday in November); Reijksmuseum (ditto about purchasing tickets online); Resistance Museum; canal boat.

Where We Ate - lunch in what I think was in the old custom house near Dam Square (can't remember name). Very good French onion soup, hot chocolate (I was frozen solid after the 2 hour walking tour in the morning) and "Dutch sampler"platter - huge amount of food. Dinner at Café Koosje, Plantage Middenlaan 37, near the Resistance museum and the zoo. Great family pub atmosphere, nice employees, jammed with locals enjoying beer and conversation on a Sunday evening. I was particularly fond of the fact that my purse was right where I left it after we left and walked half a mile before I realized I left it there. :). Food good and plentiful - we had "stamp pot" - potatoes, sausage, cabbage/sauerkraut.

What We Learned (in no particular order) - 1. Buy tram tickets (we got the 48 hour version at the visitor center near Centraal Station). Except for the oddity that you must check OUT with your ticket when exiting a tram (as well as check IN when you board the tram), they are so simple and convenient and take you everywhere in the central city. 2. Young people are very respectful of the elderly on trams, standing to give them seats on crowded trams. 3. If you visit the Reijksmuseum, go early and head straight up to the Night Watch and other Rembrandt masterpieces on the 2nd floor, then circle back to the other floors. It (the building) is just beautiful. 4. Visit the Resistance Museum. It's a little off the beaten path, but well worth it. Very well done. Makes you think about the small things we each decide to "go along with" every day and the results of continuing to do that. And that neighborhood is so charming and picturesque. 5. Dutch dogs seem to be very well behaved. 6. Everyone appears to be out walking, biking and/or visiting in pubs, until late in the evening. Even small children and babies - just bundled up and out there with their parents. 7. Go in the "off season" - just bring the right clothes and an umbrella. I loved it. 8. I felt very safe everywhere we went in Amsterdam. 9. However, I did notice what seemed to me to be more than normal pickpocket activity. Saw pickpockets at the Beguine area and Dam Square and the Amsterdam Museum (all in relatively close proximity).

I could spend a month there. Now if I could only say "Van Gogh" the way the Dutch do...

Kerikeri, New...
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1. Re: Trip report - 2 days in Amsterdam in November, 2013

Thank You for sharing. You mentioned you saw pickpockets, care to extend your information?

Ho Chi Minh City...
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2. Re: Trip report - 2 days in Amsterdam in November, 2013

You managed to see a lot in 2 days. Thanks for the interesting account. I love the Resistance Museum too, it complements the Anne Frank House well IMO.

liverpool, england
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3. Re: Trip report - 2 days in Amsterdam in November, 2013

I know exactly what you mean about the resistance museum and the way it leaves you thinking and challenging your own thoughts on letting stuff be. And thanks for the info that the building of the Rijksmuseum is beautiful, we have not yet been but plan to sometime this next year.

Thanks for sharing.

Grand Rapids...
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4. Re: Trip report - 2 days in Amsterdam in November, 2013

Hemikiwi, you asked me to expand on the pickpocket sightings. We have travelled a fair amount, including to Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia, but I have never actually seen pickpockets in the act until this trip. At the Begijnhof we came in with a group of people and I witnessed a pickpocket attempting to get into the coat pocket of someone while we were in the in the Catholic chapel (looking up and around, of course). Same in Dam Square area where it was very crowded. And I think I thwarted an attempted pickpocket while we we just walking through the hallway of the Amsterdam Museum to get warm when I saw a man sidle up close to the man in front of me and then look around, and saw me staring at him.

Let me emphasize, however, that in my experience, Amsterdam (and Moscow and St. Petersburg, for that matter) are safe, visitor friendly places with much good activity taking place in the city center until well after dark. Just keep your passport in a money belt and cash and credit cards well secured, just as you would at home or any other crowded place. Pickpockets don't want a confrontation - they just want your stuff! If your stuff is secure, they won't bother you.

5. Re: Trip report - 2 days in Amsterdam in November, 2013

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