As many of you know, I like to live and travel comfortably. As my friend Jen once described it, "I am a hotel girl, not a motel girl." But, at the same time, I very much prefer to find a great deal that I can feel proud of. Our trip to Amsterdam was no different. We were travelling frugally, since we hadn't had time to budget for this trip. So I had Hotwired us a four star hotel in relative proximity to the conference center - and this time we had hit pay dirt. After a short, €10 cab ride to the modest exterior of the NH Musica, we were able to check in early. Our room was clean and comfortable, with a modern decor in neon green and a huge flat screen TV. The bathroom was luxurious in slate with a rain shower head.
I changed my clothes and readied myself to head back to the conference, while Jon familiarized himself with the nearby public transport. He found me a bus about a block away from the hotel that would take me right to the conference center, and he began to plan his afternoon in Amsterdam.
While I spent the afternoon listening to lectures, Jon went to the Heinenkin brewery for a three hour self led tour, complete with a tasting and a canal cruise.
He came back to the hotel with dinner from a local grocer, and we spoiled ourselves watching TV in English - Masterchef New Zealand!
The next day I again headed to my conference, excited to hear the morning's speaker, and Jon set out for the Torture Museum and Madam Toussaud's, where he caught up with George Clooney, of course.
I had purchased Jon a bicycle tour of the famous Amsterdam coffee houses through Expedia, so Jon waited patiently at the tour's meeting point, though they never arrived. So after a half hour, he decided to take himself on a tour of the coffee houses. He got quite lost on his back to the hotel after that, but he came back with yummy pizza for dinner and we called it a night after watching Christianne Amanpour.
Now I know you are probably thinking I was a big travel dud on this trip, but in my defense, I had the flu the entire time, beginning with our last day in Porto. But the moral of the story is, it gave Jon free rein to explore Amsterdam. He visited the Red Light District Musuem, the House of Bols distillery, and the Dungeon. He diligently tried to see Anne Frank's house, at my recommendation, but spent more than an hour waiting in an unmoving line. On our last day there, conference free, we went downtown to the Rijksmuseum, which had been closed for renovation on my first visit to Amsterdam in 2004. It was a beautiful spring day with Dutch tulips everywhere. We saw Blue Delft, Rembrandt, and everything in between before picnic-ing next to the pond bedecked with yet more potted tulips, as posted previously from the Rijksmuseum wifi:)
All in all, it was a successful trip despite my sickness and conference commitments, and between Jon and I, we can decisively make expert recommendations for any Amsterdam bound tourist!