We spent nearly a week in Amsterdam in May. We prepared for the visit by reading: 1. tour books - the DK Eyewitness Top 10 and Rick Steves’ Amsterdam, Bruges and Brussels, 2. Amsterdam by Geer Mak – a really excellent history book that was recommended in one of the Amsterdam TA forum posts, and 3. the Jan van de Wetering crime fiction series with Grijpstra and de Gier, which I had read many years ago and enjoyed rereading for purposes of the trip. However, the most useful source of current information was the Amsterdam TA forum. I think that the mark of a “good TA forum” is the extent to which both the regular and occasional posters, through generous sharing of knowledge and experiences, make a city or country come alive for prospective visitors. The Amsterdam forum did that for us, and we thank you all.
Overall, we enjoyed our visit to Amsterdam, despite being severely jet-lagged and the awful weather. Amsterdam was the first stop on a 3 ½ week trip and as we become older, the jet lag seems to become worse. It took us most of the Amsterdam portion of the trip to come to terms with not sleeping on the overnight flight and the 9 hour time change. As to the awful weather, well, coming from the west coast of Canada, we cannot complain about anybody else’s weather. We are accustomed to windy, rainy days and, fortunately, had our fleeces and weatherproof jackets and rain pants with us. Somehow I did not expect to be wearing this gear, brought along for outdoor activities later in the trip, in Amsterdam during the third week in May. However, friends told us when we returned that it had rained in Vancouver most of the time we were away – so visitors to our city had to contend with disappointing weather as well.
We do intend to return to Amsterdam. We liked what we saw, peering through the rain drops, and were very hospitably received by everyone we encountered. English is widely spoken, which is helpful when one is operating in a fog. Despite the griping about the weather, it did not rain all the time, and we do have very positive memories about the Dutch and their country.
I had intended to write a trip report on our return, but jet-lag at this end took its toll. I’ll just outline a few practical things in the next post, in case they are of use to any other prospective visitors.
Many thanks again to the Amsterdam TA forum.