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Need Some Help With Mobility Issues

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Mount Dora, Florida
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Need Some Help With Mobility Issues

As our trip to Europe approaches we are giving more thought to utilizing our very long lay-over in AMS to try and see a bit of the city. My original plan was to store our carry-on luggage in lockers at the airport. Then we plan to catch a train into the city.

I have done a bit of reading, and I now wonder how far away the train is from the airport terminal. Is it going to be possible for us to walk to the train. We do not have any huge goals for our day in Amsterdam. We thought perhaps a canal cruise, and a very slow walk around a pleasant area. We have been given tickets to the Rijko Museum, but I do not know where this is in relationship to where the train will leave us.

So I am now wondering if we should try and take a taxi into Amsterdam, which would eliminate the need to walk to a train connection. If we take a taxi what should we expect the fare to be, and where should we ask the taxi to take us?

Can we just catch a canal cruise, or is it something we should book in advance? We are traveling next week, so I am thinking it is off-season in Amsterdam and perhaps things will not be crowded with tourists, but then I think that perhaps there will not be canal cruises during cooler months.

Can we reach the Rijko Museum easily via taxi or the train? Does anyone know if the museum rents wheelchairs?

We have avoided taking group tours through out all of our vacationing experiences, but given our mobility issues, I am wondering if taking a guided tour on a tour bus might be the best way to address our needs.

I someone would like to take this and just outline a day in the city for two old people who do not walk well, I would appreciate it. I recognize that is a challenge, but we would be happy with whatever anyone suggests. We are open to museums, good food, but not overly elaborate restaurants. We are happy to just look out the window at whatever scenery we are passing. Walking more than three or four blocks is very difficult for us.

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1. Re: Need Some Help With Mobility Issues

The train tracks are right below the aiport, all you need to do is take the escalators down. It takes about 15 minutes to get from the airport to the downtown central station and costs about 4 euros one way. The canal buses begin their route right outside this central station. I understand a taxi from the airport is about 40 euros.

Rijk museum is not (at least for you) walkable from the train. Trams run frequently.

I was there last weekend and the crowds at the popular museums have not decreased from what I saw,

I would look at a good map of Amsterdam and get oriented before deciding anything.

2. Re: Need Some Help With Mobility Issues

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Mount Dora, Florida
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3. Re: Need Some Help With Mobility Issues

Thank you for your swift response. It looks as if we can manage to see something of the city. I have been doing a bit of research on the canal system, and am wondering if a Hop On Hop Off ticket for a canal cruise would be a practical decision. One of the tours mentioned that the boat stopped at the museum as well as the Anne Frank House, which we would enjoy seeing. I will have to find out how long the walk is from the point where we Hop Off the boat and reach the Anne Frank House or the museum.

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4. Re: Need Some Help With Mobility Issues

After dropping your bags in a locker at the airport I would take the 197 bus opposite the exit on the arrivals level. For 4 eurp it will drop you off within steps of the Rijksmuseum or Rijks, note spelling, in 30 minutes. A taxi would be about 40 euro and could take about the same time depending on traffic. Use the following website for door to door directions, http://9292.nl/en There is even a cafe on the premises and even more across the square from the museum. They also offer wheelchairs available if you need it, https:/…facilities

About 250 m from the museum is Blue Boat canal tour offering one of the slightly longer tours. www.blueboat.nl/en/rondvaarten/index.html And its not necessary to book in advance, tours leave frequently but you may have to wait on other passengers.

Depending on your level of mobility I would suggest the following. Take a slow stroll down the Spiegelgracht (just on the other side of the museum) and window shop in the many galleries that line the canal. Once you make it to the first canal crossing you, Prinsengracht make a left and head towards the bridge. You can continue window shopping and have a drink at one of the many cafes on the Leidseplein. Depending on how much time you have maybe even have dinner at Castell if you like grilled meats. From there it is only a couple of minutes to the bus stop where you can catch the 197 back to the airport.

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5. Re: Need Some Help With Mobility Issues

Take Balou's suggestion - it will not be too much more than walking around the square in Mount Dora.

Depending on your timing I would suggest this:

-Catch bus 197 to the Lediseplein.

-Have either breakfast or lunch at the American Hotel (not an American style hotel) - be sure to get a window table overlooking the square - one of my favorite experiences in Amsterdam.

-Walk a couple hundred meters to the canal boat tour - people (everybody speaks English) will be happy to direct you.

-Upon return to the boat dock, walk to the Rijksmuseum.

-When finishing at the Rijks and have time for dinner and you feel like walking 4 or 5 blocks, Casteel is an EXCELLENT recommendation (steaks might remind you of the Embers) - if you don't feel like walking so far, try Indonesian within a block here:

http://www.samasebo.nl/en/

I have not tried it myself but my wife says it is outstanding.

Information for Casteel is here:

http://www.castellamsterdam.nl/en/

Catch bus 197 from Leidseplein or Museumplein back to Schphol.

Mount Dora, Florida
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6. Re: Need Some Help With Mobility Issues

Thank you so much for the suggestions. I think we are more likely to take advantage of this opportunity if we have some type of plan. Special thanks to ddavis who obviously recognized my inability to visualize 40 meters and gave me examples from my own hometown. I think this sounds like a good plan. We will try to follow restaurant suggestions. Thank you again for these helpful details.

Amsterdam, The...
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7. Re: Need Some Help With Mobility Issues

Very nice suggestions by Balou and Ddavis.

Rijksmuseum is pretty big so yes, get a wheelchair. Read their website to see if you need to reserve one. Buying tickets in advance will help you skip at least the ticket line, but there may still be a line outside to get in. If one of you goes to the front and explains your mobility issues and that you cannot stand for a long time I hope they will let you skip that line (if there is one).

The elevators in the museum are quite well-hidden but just get a map at the entrance and follow the small signs.

If you need to catch a flight then keep track of time, the museum is huge (as in: much on display) and you could easily spend hours.

Blue boat has special entrance into the boat for wheelchairs and I'm sure they also help walking people who need a hand getting in.

Hop on hop off canal boats in your case are a waste of money; just do the round trip tour with explanations, and if you want to go to Anne Frank House a) make sure you get tickets in advance or don't even try going there and b) be aware that the house has steep stairs and no elevators (see their website) and c) just get a taxi there. You may prefer to skip it especially if you're low on time.

Cecilia

Amsterdam

cile.home.xs4all.nl/travel/amsterdam_tips.htm

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8. Re: Need Some Help With Mobility Issues

We have already decided to skip the Anne Frank house. I think we will focus on the museum. We already have tickets, so we should only have to stand in line at the entrance. Then we will take the Blue Boat Tour, which I assume has some narration so we will know what we are seeing.

Castell looks like a terrific restaurant. There is probably nothing we love more than a properly prepared steak. I do not think we will be able to eat there. We need to be back to the airport by 6:30pm, and, while I could not find hours on the web site, I doubt that they will serve dinner at 4pm.

Any other suggestions you might have for a place to eat after the canal tour and before we return to the airport would be appreciated.

Amsterdam, The...
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9. Re: Need Some Help With Mobility Issues

You could eat at De Balie on Leidseplein (not far from the Apple Store), a low-key grand cafe with lots of locals. They should at least serve soup and small dishes in the afternoon. tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g188590-d2…

These are other restaurants in the Leidseplein area: www.iens.nl/restaurant/amsterdam/leidseplein > It's in Dutch but the cuisine type, ratings (0-10) and average menu prices should tell you something. If you click 'Kaart' you will see them on a map. Or you can sort them by cuisine via 'Keukens'.

As for the airport, you may want to pre-arrange some assistance from your gate to the other parts you need to go to, for example be ridden around by a caddie. "Assistance on arrival

If you have requested assistance at least 48 hours in advance, you will be met at the aircraft arrival gate and accompanied to the baggage hall or arrival hall. If you need further extra help to access onward transportation, e.g. the car park, train, taxi or buses (to the hotel or otherwise), you may request this at the time." (etc) schiphol.nl/Travellers/AtSchiphol/AirportFac…

Edited: 22 October 2013, 08:50
Mount Dora, Florida
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10. Re: Need Some Help With Mobility Issues

Thanks Cecile, I appreciate the restaurant tips. If one can only eat three meals in The Netherlands, one wishes all of them to be good.

We always request wheelchair assistance when we travel via plane. Airports are so large, and sometimes we have little time to make connections. On our final trip through the AMS airport last year, something was confused between KLM and the people who provide the airport transportation for disabled passengers. My husband's name was left off the list, and the man driving the little cart would not let him ride. He told him to walk because it was only a couple of gates. It was all the way up one large arm of the terminal and all the way down another arm. It took my husband over an hour to walk, and a week to recover. My pleas with the KLM gate agent to send someone to get him were ignored. Needless to say, our experience at AMS was not pleasant, and I vowed I would not arrange connections again.

A year of perspective, and the knowledge that Paris and Rome are consistently difficult, led us back to this connection again this year. So, I have made several calls to make sure that we have transportation assistance from our plane to the exit of the terminal, and similar service when we return. I have done this by telephone so I appreciate the online links. After last year I do not believe I can confirm those requests too frequently.

Actually until that happened we were very impressed with AMS. We changed planes there six times last year, and only the final experience was unpleasant. The young man who refused to let my husband ride, and the KLM gate agent were the only difficult employees that we encountered.I am hoping that our experience was a rare problem in an otherwise well-organized operation. Among disabled people AMS ranks very high in level of service.