Friday, February 22, 2019

At AMS: Amsterdam Airport Hilton

We stayed here just last year. It’s a magnificent relatively new property connected to the airport by a covered corridor that also houses a Sheraton, a convention center, and parking garages.

It’s a quarter to a half mile walk, assisted by moving sidewalks.

Our room isn’t large, but it’s comfortable with great views of the runways.

There’s good food in the Executive Lounge, enough to keep us happy.

It’s early to bed, as tomorrow’s schedule starts with a short flight and continues with a long flight, AMS-LGW-CPT.

Amsterdam’s NDSM Wharf: a Ferry Ride Away

Even better, it’s a free ferry that runs from a spot just outside the central train station.

We’re staying at a Doubletree there on our way back from Capetown and wanted to check it out.

There must be more bikes than people here:

A pleasant ride, 20 minutes checking out the location, and we catch a ferry back.

It’s not hard to spot the Doubletree...

A discarded old Soviet sub sits forlornly near the wharf. Some promoters bought it to rent out as a party venue, but it didn’t work out.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Rijksmuseum: Rembrandt Sends His Regrets

The year 2019 marks the 350th anniversary of Rembrandt van Rijn’s death. There’s a major exhibit here.

All but one of Rembrandt’s paintings have been moved to a special display, and the (free) tickets are unavailable while we’re in Amsterdam.

On the bright side, the Rijksmuseum is still a great place to spend a rainy Thursday.

We queue behind a school group and wait our turn to enter.

We don’t go far before discovering some familiar portraits. The Dutch Masters are certainly masters of portraits, landscapes, and birds, living and defunct.

We could almost clink glasses with the three-dimensional Merry Fiddler by Van Honthorst.

And there, in its usual place of honor is Rembrandt’s masterpiece, the too-big-to-move Night Watch. An amazing work, and once cleaned it turned out not to be set at night, although the name stuck.

We spend several hours enjoying the art, and listening to descriptions on the free app.

Frank Hals...


And three Van Goghs to whet our appetite for the Van Gogh Museum, starting with his self-portrait after he’d had all his teeth pulled (note the sunken cheeks)...

What amazing technique that poor tormented genius had...

We even spot a Whistler, not his mother but another similarly titled female: Arrangement in Yellow and Gray.

Bad lighting for a photo, but a good day at the museum.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Amsterdam: a City of Bicycles

Even the odd double bass being carried to and fro (and we did see several)...

Doubletree Amsterdam Central Station

The view makes it worth the wait. The temperature in our 11th floor room is cooler too...

In the morning...

Wandering Amsterdam

An unseasonably sunny day for a walk...

We stop for lunch in Amsterdam’s miniature China town.

It’s New King for a shared appetizer plate and a filling wonton soup...

Then it’s back to the Doubletree to see if our room is ready...

Drama ensues. Our suite is now on the bottom floor 3, not the top floor 11, and it directly overlooks the train tracks.

Apparently floor 11 had a late checkout and we can move in later this evening. We’ll see how that works out after Happy Hour in the Executive Lounge.

AMS Hampton by Hilton: Amsterdam

An amusing (okay, annoying at the time) detour at Frankfurt Airport... we leave the Lufthansa Senator Lounge and head for Gate A1. We overlook an arrow pointing right and end up outside security (it’s really not that well “signed”), so are required to go through another security checkpoint to end up back where we started. Even so, we make it to the gate with time to spare.

The short Lufthansa flight is fine, with seats in economy bulkhead. We land on time. After a long walk (AMS is a big airport), we end up at the hotel shuttle bus stop, waiting only 20 minutes for the shuttle to our hotel.

When the Hampton desk clerk welcomes us back, we ask her when we’d last stayed here. May 2018 on the way to Oz Fest in Australia. We thought the hotel looked familiar. How time flies!

After a hamburger and a (complimentary) beer in their little bar, we sleep long and hard until 8AM.

We enjoy the free breakfast and then long showers back in our room. In awhile we’ll walk to the train station across the street and catch a train to the central station, where we’ll find the Doubletree, our home for the next two nights.

A short 12-Euro train ride and we arrive at Central Station.

We check in at the Doubletree. We’ve been upgraded to some kind of suite but it’s not ready. We retire to the  lounge that we visited a few years ago with grandson Jake on our trip with him.

It’s a beautiful day and it’s time for a walk.