Amsterdam Travel Blog› entry 10 of 126 › view all entries
The ride from Rotterdam into Amsterdam was only about an hour-long on the express IC Train. The ticket was included in my 77 Pound Rail and Sail fare from London. I found an ATM machine at Amsterdam Centraal and got some Euros. On my last visit here Guilders were still in circulation. I rode the Metro to the fifth stop then strolled the nearby Amstel Canal - the river that flows into Ij Bay from the south. The city of Amsterdam and its network of semi-circular canals were built at the river's mouth during the early 1600's. I was hoping to run into Helmut, an Austrian friend living somewhere in the area. He worked at one of the small boatyards during the summer months then wintered in Southeast Asia.
Cafes in the area seemed to open rather late. It was after 10:00 when I found a place for a sidewalk coffee. The owner of the Amstelstroom sat in a chair out front sipping a cappuccino. Not really opened yet, he was happy to bring another cup and chair. We chatted while an employee moved chairs, benches, and tables into the morning sidewalk sun. I had Helmut's number but figuring out how to use a public payphone was rather complicated since instructions were all in Dutch. I finally stopped at a sports store/gym that was open and dumped a pocketful of unfamiliar coins onto the counter. The helpful clerk made the call for me and I met Helmut back at the Amstel Station.
From a faded blue door on a three hundred year old building, steep and narrow stairs led to his second floor apartment.
As we prepared to head out to one of the local bars, brothers Albert and Robert arrived.
We finally set out for an afternoon beer. It was a twenty minute walk through a primarily Turkish part of town then through Oosterpark. The park was fresh and green and had ponds, forest, modern artwork, winding walkways, and grassy open spaces. We finally reached the Brouwerij't Ij, a popular brew pub near the junction of two canals. Besides excellent beer, its attraction was its shaded outdoor tables beneath a turning windmill. We sampled four of its beers ranging from 5 to 8% in alcohol content but passed on the 9% brew. All was good.