Monday night was a hot and sticky night, and no matter what we did with the fans in the room, we were all hot and uncomfortable. I woke and thrashed at one point to find Strafe emerging from the bathroom, I could almost hear him say "crap, it's hot even on the tiles!" before flopping back down on the floor.
Tuesday we woke up right around 7am local time, feeling somewhat rested, or at the least, somewhat adjusted to the local time. Again, we had breakfast at the hotel, which was always lovely with wonderfully cooked eggs, cheese and ham and all kinds of breads and jams. Did I mention the hotel was really friendly to the dogs? There was lots of outdoor seating that we happily sat at with our dogs by our sides, but as the week progressed we realized they also allowed the dogs inside at the restaurant as well! Just a really nice hotel/restaurant!
Anyways, after that we plugged in the address of a Park & Ride outside Amsterdam and set off down the Dutch freeways! It was just over a 2 hour drive, but again the freeways were really easy to negotiate and the countryside was pretty. We found the Park & Ride no problem and, with only a little confusion, figured out how to get our tickets to board the tram to Centraal Station in Amsterdam. Off we went! It was a pretty easy and quick tram ride (basically a train, but running on overhead electric wires). And then we stepped off the tram to this immediate view:
The station itself was massive, old, and impressive:
And so we set off, following the flow of pedestrians into the city. We picked up a tourist map, and basically just wandered till we'd seen all the sights we could see with our dogs along. It was a long, warm, day but full of really interesting and beautiful sights. I love just walking around an old city like this and attempting to absorb the fact of the old architecture having existed for so long; trying to picture the people building the structure so many centuries ago, how much harder that must have been than it is today, and how many generations of people have lived there throughout the years! Just astounding to think about!
First we wandered through some adorable little alleyways. Astoundingly, delivery trucks were often unloading to the shops in here, and the streets were so narrow that if another truck came up behind, it simply had to wait till the one in front was finished!
We sort of accidentally stumbled upon the Red Light District, which we had planned to see anyway but it was still amusing to just sort of walk right into it! We passed live porno theatres with quite explicit pictures on them, as well as erotic shops, and even in the alleyways the "ladies of the night" were already out, standing in their doorways and looking for business. They were each scantily clad and each had a little "bedroom" that opened right onto the alley!
(WARNING: bad language in one of the following photos if you look hard enough. Also, embarrassing items!)
And then we wandered some more, along the canals
Eventually we took a break in a nice grassy park in the shade. The dogs got to have a nice drink and cool off for a bit.
Then off we went for more walking!
There was quite a line for the wax museum, and with the dogs we did not even attempt to get in, although I'm sure it would have been very entertaining! After we passed this, we were all hot and a bit tired, so we found an air conditioned restaurant that kindly allowed our dogs to come inside, so we took a nice slow lunch while the dogs napped (like the dead!) below our table.
Then a bit more walking!
And then we realized we were all toast, and hoofed it back to Centraal Station and caught the (hot, stuffy) tram back to our parking area.
We were in Amsterdam for about 5 or 6 hours, it was a really pretty city and I'm sure without a dog along we could have spent easily another day there, going inside and seeing the sights more in-depth. But there is something really special about sight-seeing with your best friend along! I love that my dogs are as much world travelers as I am becoming myself!