We wrapped up a wonderful week in the Netherlands with Amsterdam being the final stay for the last 3 days. We could not have found a better way to bring our grand adventure to a perfect ending.
Amsterdam has four rings of canals expanding outward from the city center. We found a charming hotel, The Times Hotel, on the Heren canal (Herengracht) and on the west side of the city. The hotel blends right into the neighborhood residences. We had a small room but a grand view of the canal from which to watch and be entertained by the boat traffic. We started to feel like a neighborhood regular except for not having a bike.
It was here we celebrated my birthday on the last full day at the De Belhamel restaurant just down the street with an outdoor table right on the Herengracht. It was a beautiful summer evening made perfect with a fine meal and the company of a local couple celebrating their 44th wedding anniversary. Our dessert choice was, of course, a poffertjes, fluffy mini pancakes, which in this case was served with dark chocolate, ice cream and accompanied with small roman candle that add the extra sparkle to the evening.
Earlier that day we took the EBS red bus to the small town of Edam on the large Lake IJsselmeer for nice lunch on their town square. Then a nice 3 km walk along the lake to the next town of Volendam where a cool, tasty Belgium style beer was waiting under an umbrella. The lake had once been been an inlet from the North Sea but was blocked off to avoid flooding.
During our 3 days we explored Amsterdam by a hop on/off canal boat and lots of walking. We found some fun places to eat in the Jordan area near the Anne Frank house and the next door Westerkerk (Wester Church) which rings it’s bell every half hour and has for decades and prominently mentioned in Anne’s diary. On a Sunday afternoon we explored Vondelpark on the south side of the city along with tons of locals and enjoyed a nice lunch outside at a restaurant within the park.
Amsterdam was a grand way to end our wonderful Netherlands adventure and celebrate a birthday that will be very hard to top> Goodbye, so long, farewell Netherlands!