Koster Diamond Company, Rain, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam Historisch Museum, Rain, and Shopping
28.05.2007 - 28.05.2007 15 °C
Our last full day in Europe. We both decided last night that we are ready to go home. I'm longing for Q-doba and Megan just wants her large bathroom and comfy bed. That doesn't mean we aren't still having fun, we just feel that our vacation has been the perfect length. Just long enough to make us ready to come home. I don't know if that has ever happened on a vacation before.
We head to the Amsterdam Historisch Museum which is very close to the hotel. This museum concentrates on the history of Amsterdam from about 1350 to the present. We get there about 10 am and they aren't open. We quickly realize that today is Monday and it is a Holiday. Not Memorial Day but the Pentacost. Not being extremely well versed in religion, we're not sure what the Pentacost is, but we can still work with it. Our travel book says that the museum doesn't open until 11 on Holidays.
We decide to walk to the Van Gogh museum and then come back. Along the way, we pass the Koster Diamonds building. They offer free tours of their diamond cutting operation. What a joke! First they ask you for a bunch of information so that you're on their mailing list. We decline. Then they let you into a room where there are a few people working. This was midly interesting as there wasn't much information detailing how or what they are doing. Then our tour guide arrives. After a quick speech that was given with almost no enthusiasm or interest, we are hearded upstairs into a room. The door is shut behind us and this is where the sales job starts. Diamonds and rings are brought out and we are encouraged to look them over. We're told that some things are 25% off for a "factory special." Yeah right! Megan and I became bored very quickly. We left even before the tour is over.
The Van Gogh museum was right across the street so we duck in there. As you can probably guess, the museum was full of Van Gogh's works. We do the audio tour which makes the whole experience much more enjoyable. Hearing the background information on various featured works is a lot better than simply strolling by painting after painting.
My belly is ready to be fed after the museum so we find a lunch spot. On our second try we end up at a crepe/pancake house. Decent pancakes but they only took cash. I'm running low on cash at this point so I wasn't real happy about that. On the bright side, it was fast. We were in and out very quickly. That's the first time that has happened on the whole trip. Usually it takes 15 minutes just to get the bill after asking for it. Americans and Europeans have very different dining schedules.
It's raining at this point so we finally got to use the umbrella Megan has been carrying with her for 11 days. The rain is actually a nice change of pace. We haven't had any rain, just sprinkles, on our trip up to this point.
After getting a candy bar, we decide to split up. Megan wants to shop a little. Mark doesn't. Mark wants to go back to the Historisch Musuem. Megan doesn't. We agree to meet at the hotel at 5 pm. I set off with Megan's Leopard print umbrella. Megan has her North Face Shell for rain protection. (She us bragging that for once, she was more prepared for the weather than me.)
The Historisch Museum was interesting. Plenty of artwork, models, artifacts, and interpretive signs. I liked it. Megan probably would have been bored.
Now let's get back to the Leopard print umbrella. I bought my ticket for the museum and went inside. I noticed a coat rack and lockers where people had hung up their wet coats and umbrellas. I decided to hang my umbrella behind a bunch of coats so it would be inconspicuous. I didn't think about it again until the end of my visit. I arrive at the coat rack to find all of the coats gone from the corner where I left my umbrella. So was my umbrella. I searched around without luck. Someone stole my umbrella. I was not happy. I'm not very proud of my next move but I decided to pick up someone else's umbrella. I spied a green one in the corner that was the same size as mine (Megan's). I grabbed it and left. It was still raining so I quickly disappeared into the crowds on the street with my "lifted" umbrella. Again, I'm not proud of this maneuver.
I made it back to the hotel shortly before Megan. We decided to make a reservation at a restaurant we tried to go to the night before. When we got there last night they said they were out of food. Granted it was late on a Sunday evening but we've never been told by a restaurant they were out of food.
Dinner was excellent. Vegetarian. Not for everybody but we liked it. The only problem was again, they only take cash. While Megan stayed at the restaurant, preparing to wash dishes, I tried to find an ATM. On my second attempt, I did manage to find a working one. Plastic is so much easier.
On the way home from dinner we run into a group of people drinking beer around an interesting vehicle. It's a pedal powered car that has seats for 18 around the outside. The driver stands in the middle with a beer tap at the ready. Basically you drink and pedal while you cruise around the city. We find out that the group is a college basketball team from the UK. They were definitely having a good time. We got information from the driver about the car. Legal in Amsterdam. Probably not legal in the US.
After the talking to the Brits we headed back to the hotel to watch some TV. BBC and bad movies. We kept saying, "This is not how Cris Kodiak would spend his last night in Europe." But we're older and don't need to party every night. At least that's our excuse.