We had a bargain P&O ferry ticket, from Hull to Rotterdam return. This gave a day in Holland and I had a demanding itinery in Amsterdam. The first problem was that the motorway on AA autoroute had not actually been built. This caused twenty minutes of confusion before we found an alternative route.
Arriving in Amsterdam was a bit of a trauma for me. I had driven on the continent numerous times, but never in a town with trams. Working out which bits of tarmac were for cars, which were for trams and which bits were shared gave me palpitations. Would a tram stop if you suddenly found yourself in their path? Could they stop? After a few laps of the town centre, trying to navigate to a car park, I was glad to be parked up and out on foot. The busy day was to include several parks, walks, churches and museums, but in my naivety I had planned too much. We walked the Leidseplein and Prinsengracht canal to Anne Frank’s house. This was a poignant experience to think that a family lived in such a confined space for so long.
The Westerkerk tower was closed so we walked in to The Dam to view the Nieuwe Kerk, national monument and Koninklijk palace – from the outside only. The square was a hive of activity, but it was quite a cold day so we did not stop for long. Lunch in a brown café - Eggs on bread with beer. I’m hooked now. After strolling the adjacent market and shops, we take in the Begijnhof old timber house before visiting the Van Gogh art gallery – and this was really worth it. A fantastic ‘proper art' experience. After a brief stroll through one end of Vondel Park, we are forced to drive back to Rotterdam to check in, rolling on to the ferry with only vapour left in the petrol tank.