My husband and I only had time for a quick tour round the city as we had a free afternoon in Amsterdam at the end of our holiday – a Saga river (canal) cruise in Holland, including trip to Keukenhof. We’d decided against the Saga optional excursion of Amsterdam, thinking that as the Rex Rheni was berthed so close to the centre of the city, very near Amsterdam Centraal railway station, we could just go ashore and explore independently on foot and/or by canal boat. However, we hadn’t realised how busy Amsterdam on a Saturday afternoon would be and it seemed as though any two wheeled vehicles, including motor scooters, had priority (although research online suggests that this is not strictly, legally the case). Although I am in my seventies I am fairly nimble but I didn’t enjoy the constant streams of bikes and scooters heading towards us at high speed, seemingly from round every corner, making it difficult to cross roads and bicycle tracks. We should have realised it would be like that as, on the first day of our holiday, our coach stopped on the quay opposite the Rex Rheni and we were told to wait until it was considered safe for us to be ushered across the cycle path; we later heard a rumour that on a previous holiday there had been an accident at this spot involving one of the passengers and a cyclist.
I’d read about a canal boat hop-on-hop-off service around the city but it wasn’t running so we just walked around a large part of the old city, walking along the banks of many of the canals and through a shopping district. The city seemed to be overrun with stag and hen parties. We hadn’t intended to go in any museums or art galleries as we didn’t have very much time but as each canal we encountered seemed much like the last we decided to head towards the Rijksmuseum – another long walk along busy pavements thronged with people – much like Oxford Street in London. We eventually found the museum quarter which was a more pleasant area; unfortunately at the Rijksmuseum we were told that pre-booking is required and there were no tickets left for that day anyway. After consoling cups of hot chocolate and use of the not very nice toilet facilities at the bus station (long queue, 1 Euro and only 3 cubicles) we headed back towards the boat. We had a long way to go so when we saw a tram heading towards the railway station we got on and bought our tickets from the lady in the booth. It was very crowded when we got on and more and more passengers were shoe-horned in as we progressed. I put my mask on but my husband didn’t (I was about the only person wearing one): I wasn’t surprised when we both tested positive for Covid a few days later.
I managed to take a couple of photos in quieter areas of Amsterdam, unlike the large numbers I took in Enkhuizen and Keukenhof, both of which I’d enjoyed far more.
In conclusion, for anyone wishing to stay in Amsterdam I would strongly advise against visiting at weekends.