Amsterdam Travel Blog› entry 6 of 49 › view all entries
December 26th, 2007 – by: TRE69
With my rail ticket in hand, I took the escalator down to get into the interior of the station and the platform.
The ride was relaxing and I enjoyed watching the scenery change from flat green fields to suburbs to the city center.
I followed the masses of people out of the rail station and onto the street...it was so cold...I could feel my face numbing and my contacts drying out. From the station, I headed down the main thoroughfare, Damrak, and passed by many storefronts selling souvenirs. One storefront had quite a line...they were selling paper cones filled with piping hot frites fresh from the fryer. I wasn't hungry yet so I made my way further down the street to the Dam.
For second Christmas, there seemed to me to be more people out and about than I thought there would be.
From the Dam I walked south along Rokin (which Damrak merges into). Following my map of the city center, I turned right on Spui. As I walked along Spui, it intersected Kalverstraat which is a famed shopping district in Amsterdam. I felt like I was in Frogger dodging the on-coming wave of pedestrians walking up and down Kalverstraat doing some after Christmas shopping.
A block from Kalverstraat, Spui opened up into a lovely and serene square also called the Spui. From the Spui, I spotted the entrance to
the Begijnhof, the only medieval inner courtyard in Amsterdam. Historically a Béguinage, a "compound" used by Beguines (a Roman Catholic lay sisterhood), the Begijnhof Chapel and Church are now part of the English Reformed Church.
The door was ajar so I walked through it and then down the hallway to the inner court. The Begijnhof was so peaceful. Even though there were other people out and about, there was still an air of respectful silence. The only audible sounds were the faint melodic singing of the choir coming from the Begijnhof Chapel. The chapel was open for viewing but I decided not to go in for fear of disrupting their prayer services.
I walked back up towards Centraal Station. Along the way I passed the Beursplein, next to the Beurs van Berlage building, where I had to navigate through a crowd of people in front of not one but two separate waffle kiosks. The scent of fresh made waffles was everywhere but I restrained myself from eating one because it was just too damned cold and I would have to remove my warm gloves to eat with a knife and fork!
It was around 4pm and I was planning on heading back early to the airport so I can view some Dutch artwork at the Rijksmuseum exhibit and grab some dinner before my connecting flight to Scotland.
By 5 pm, dusk was settling in over the city and it was getting much colder so I head to the train station and bought my ticket back to the airport from the yellow ticket kiosk to save me half a euro..woo hoo! After grabbing my stowed gear from the locker I wandered around Schiphol Plaza trying to find something I wanted to eat.
I then remembered reading a review by tvillingmarit about Brasserie Restaurant so through passport control I went up to Lounge 2 to get to the restaurant. I sat at a table in an empty section outside of the restaurant and I had an unobstructed view of the main airport concourse so I could watch the comings and goings of fellow travelers. I hadn't even been served my beverage yet when a family of 4 were directed to the section by the hostess. And just my luck they decide to sit right next to me when there were about 15 open tables in the area! I ordered way too much food and I didn't want to take the rest to go because it'll just be another package I would have to lug around.
After 2 hours of waiting around at the gate, I boarded the plane bound for my final destination...Scotland! SHOOT...I forgot to check out the Rijksmuseum art exhibit!!!
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