Day 1 – Meeting Sir Albert
Our time in Amsterdam was bookended by some travel adventures, and quite a bit of work to do as well. Our trip in Monday morning started in a Paris downpour, barely making the Thalys train, and worrying the whole time that our luggage wasn’t secure from bandits at the stops along the way. Leave it to the Thalys crew to make it hard to catch up on sleep, even on an 8am train.
WATER, water, everywhere…
Arriving in Amsterdam we quickly realized that we knew far less Dutch than French. We soon learned that “Uitgang” must be exit, and a “Boot” must be a boat (wasn’t rocket science – there were pictures), since the exits all pointed towards boats as the way to get out of the train station. Luckily, even without knowing the word for Taxi, Jen found a picture of a car, and we were on our way to the Taxi line, which we found with the word “Taxi” after all.
We checked into the Sir Albert Hotel, and completely dug the style of the place. Although the room was a little small and very intimately laid out he means it was really small 🙂, it was a great way to experience the quirky city that is Amsterdam. So great, in fact, that once we checked in, and opened our computers, we got stuck there for the day. Catching up on rest and work, and making sure we kept our health for the long haul, this was a good decision. Because it was a bank holiday, many businesses, including our own, were closed. Unlike the states where holidays mean a lot of people out and about and activity, the city was actually kind of shut down, and the few places open were barely staffed.
I ran out for dinner at a burger place called The Butcher, for what is supposedly Amsterdam’s best burger. I just got the classic cheeseburger, and it was really good. I would imagine I didn’t catch them on their best night, but even still I think it’s not worth going out of the way to this place, which like Sir Albert, is about a 5 minute walk outside of the last ring of the area referred to as the City Center. I ate crackers….lots of crackers.
That was day 1 in Amsterdam, and with day 3 a travel day as well, we decided to rest up and make sure we saw more on day 2…
Day 2 – I AMsterdam
We had a great day working with the Vi Amsterdam team in a very cool office space complete with foosball and ping pong. I claimed the Championship of the ping pong table only to grant a rematch and lose my belt in the final game. Leaving for the day, our co-worker recommended a place for dinner called The Pantry, which ended up as one of the top meals of the trip.
Before dinner, we took a walk through the canals in the city center and enjoyed another incredible night. We were so lucky with weather in the first half of this trip, especially for clear cool evenings that made it awesome to be outside for meals and walks. On this night, we spent most of our time in an area called Leidesplein.
We stopped for a drink along the canal at Café de Krul, a traditional Dutch bar that’s been around since 1923 apparently. Nice place for a pre-dinner Heineken for sure, and we had plenty of ducks to keep us company.
After an amazing dinner at The Pantry (read more), we took a long walk home, finding a new way to get lost and see more of the city than we did getting lost on the way there. My map skills might be rusty, but I always get us there… just not always on the most direct route. Who would have thought I’d have a better sense of direction than John…?