Wednesday, 20 June 2012


We spent a few days in Amsterdam last week. It is a city I love and for the last 18 years we have been going there for short breaks once and sometimes twice a year, but had not been for 20 months.

We stayed in the Hotel Rho, as usual.

This is the lobby of the Rho which used to be a  theatre in the 1930s

the boxes are still here and are accesible

the hotel itself is huge and every time we come they seem to have acquired yet another building which gets incorporated into the hotel.

the magnificent ceiling in the lobby.

The Rho do magnificent breakfasts and this is the breakfast room as seen from the street.

We were also very pleased to get one of the corner rooms again, as they are the best - very large and with two walls of floor to ceiling windows.

Because we have been here so often we have developed a routine that we adhere to and enjoy going round the same loved streets and canals and seeing what has changed and what not. We always start by sitting here with views of the canal

or this bridge, depending which side you sit on. This place is our local, and we will come here at the beginning of the day, at end of the day's walking, and again in the early evening before venturing on to the city and again, last thing at night before turning in.

and we see old friends - not just the people who work here, but this coot has been building its nest in the spring in this tyre for as long as I can remember.

There's a lot of canal traffic around here

of all sorts

 the Three Graces on the balcony above our heads are a fixture

and there are a lot of bars and coffee shops.

Sometimes live entertainment

this group were extremely good.

Our hotel is just off  Dam Square and off Kalverstraat, a very busy street and a dividing line between the Red Light District and the district where the University is which is very quiet, in contrast to Kalverstraat which is full of fast food places, restaurants, bars and coffeeshops.

In the evenings we tend to stay around our area. If we are to go in the University District we will turn right into Oudezijds Voorburgwal. This is the bridge that leads to the Grand Hotel

past the Nes

and the University complex.

A different view of the same bridge.

We walk along Oudezijds Achterburgwal

and walk up to the beginning of Staalstraat, the only street with night life in the area

Staalmeesters in the corner, where we have had so many lovely meals

and Oorlam opposite, a very cosy bar

the Doelen Hotel by the canal

with stylish and chic Cafe de Jaren next to it

it is wonderful walking by the canals


 looking at the houses

and quite often getting glimpses of the stylish interiors


as the Dutch don't seem to like closing their curtains, a habit which I share with them

so peaceful


While we were there Euro 2012 was going on. The city was decked out in orange and on our last night Holland were playing Germany. 'The war, the war', exclaimed our waitress to us, and unfortunately Holland lost. We walked on to Rembrandtplein which is across the Amstel from the University district to have a look around.

all the bars and cafes were packed full of people watching the match on large screens. The atmosphere was jolly and relaxed - the Dutch are so civilised.

At other times, but not too often, we will turn left from Damstraat into Oudezijds Voorburgwal. We don't do this very often because this leads to the Red Light District, but if we are to have the best Thai food we have ever tasted, there is no choice.

It is beautiful around here

and as you walk on it gets busier

and not just with humans....

these houses are so close to the water they remind me of Venice

a lot of very narrow streets around here

We have reached our destination: Zeedijk. This street is Chinatown, with a temple, shops, Chinese supermarkets, eateries and restaurants.


This is our destination: The Bird. The restaurant is exactly opposite on the other side of the street, and sometimes we go to the restaurant and others, when we want a quick meal, the snack bar. The food is the same in both - the difference is the accroutements that come with a meal in a restaurant and the prices.


Lots more stylish and elegant interiors to glimpse at on our way back.


when it is very dark the canals take on a magical quality

can't help peeping in


and we're back more or less where we started from and time to turn in.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Looks like you had a great break, Eirene. Amsterdam is somewhere I really ought to get round to visiting. And your photos have reinforced that.

  3. I feel the same way about Brussels since I started reading your blog, Mick. As for Amsterdam, it is definitely worth a visit: it is a beautiful city, enhanced by the fact that there are not that many cars so that everything slows down and the pace of life is very relaxed. As for the Dutch, they are relaxed, very dignified and know how to enjoy life - an unbeatable combination.

  4. I have got to know a few Dutch people through my work and get on with them very well, so I agree with your comments Eirene. They also know how to enjoy a few beers as well!

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  6. Do you think that coot is Amsterdamaged? It can't be much fun living inside a tyre all day, day in day out.