What’s really amazing about Shelter City is, free breakfast and free wifi!
The menu for breakfast looked good, until they asked us to choose one of the three things. I chose ham and cheese sandwich, which was filling but dry. Let’s go with pancakes tomorrow. ( Yes, I didn’t choose pancakes, sigh, I wanted something filling!)
I had booked the free Sandeman Tours for 10 AM, which I must recommend! Our guide Kor, was really amazing! And we went over a lot of places in the city, learning a lot about it.
Explicit content : if you’re bringing kids on the tour, be warned.
Almost all houses here have gabels ( fancy top characteristic of houses in Amsterdam) with a hook on top. This is really interesting. Taxes were paid as per the width of the houses, hence they were kept slim, leading to smaller doors and staircases, which meant furniture wouldn’t pass through it. This hook is the pulley system to take everything up! Furthermore, the houses lean forward, to make this easier and to prevent the furniture crashing into the windows. Brilliant! I couldn’t capture a decent enough picture to justify putting it here! Ah, c’est dommage!
After the tour, I bid goodbye to the new friends I made on the tour ( apparently there were a lot of students! Free stuff is attractive to us, I guess! ) and headed back to my hostel. I had bought the tickets for the Red Light District tour, simply because I was a little apprehensive venturing into this enchanting modern brothel. <= weirdest expression I’ve ever used! But this tour starts only at 7. And it was about 2 when I finished the walking tour.
Feeling famished, I decided to follow Kors’ recommendation! Try the raw herring at “harings!” Not sure if that’s dutch for herring. It’s a staple here in Amsterdam, available on every corner! Click here to see it. This was the first time I had raw fillet fish. With onion and pickels as condiments, the fish tasted amazing! Sadly, not enough for a lunch, which I realised 10 minutes later, sitting in my hostel. Go out again for food? Oh god, please no!
I texted back home for a bit, talking to my friend, who pushed me out of bed! Haha, she’s awesome 😉 i had the dutch speciality right on the corner of my street : waffles with maple syrup, sitting on a bench by the canal, with ducks, beautiful ducks : mallards and coots roaming about. ( I recognised them because I’m a bit into birdwatching. The Mallard is really beautiful, Check here )
I headed back to my hostel, sat in the cafe for a while, talked with the people over there, and then decided to take the canal cruise at about 5, so I finish by 6, and then head over for the RLD tour.I ended up missing the 5 PM cruise, so I had to take the 5:30 one! Kinda better, I guess. Less waiting in between.
Pro Tip: buy the cruise tickets beforehand and not from the place where the cruise leaves from. ( there are 3 cruise start points right in front of Centraal) generally, hostels / hotels have deals which are cheaper!
I bought the tickets for the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh and RLD in a combo. 4 Euros saved 😛 Cheaper than the I Amsterdam Card as well.
One aspect of Amsterdam I haven’t touched upon yet, is the weather. It rains almost everyday and the locals told me, ” it’s the same f***ing thing throughout the year” I experienced this after the cruise, it started raining heavily and I was stuck, deciding whether to go for the tour or back to the hostel! I decided to go to the start point of the tour, asked them if they are running, and then went back to the hostel to get the umbrella ( all close by. I was on Nieumarkt and the tour starts at National Monument, Dam square)
But, when I got to my hostel, I decided to just stay in. Who wants to go out in this weather? Best. Decision. Ever.
I had dinner in the hostel cafe and played the piano placed here. Ah, I’ve forgotten most of what I knew. Damn it! Should have listened when mom told me to practice a bit. I met this girl from Istanbul ( I really want to visit this place, it’s so beautiful! ) who would start studying here. ( Hey there 😉 ). After an hour or so, I met the first Italian ever. All the myths about them being the most flirtatious kinds ever, TRUE! To the last bit! Hahaha, this was such an eye opener! I admired his free going attitude.
Let’s just stop it at that.