Sunday, July 06, 2008

the holiday In Amsterdam (part 3)

So when In Amsterdam there are things you should remember.

1. Taking a walk.
That wide cobblestone path, that seems like a walk way, is not. It's the bike path. And there are a lot of bikes in Amsterdam, alot! You'll be tempted to walk down this path, because it's in great condition, but as you're walking, you'll hear a far away ringing sound, that becomes more insistent as it approaches behind you, this is the bicyclist, asking you to move...NOW! The smaller narrower path is the sidewalk, so get on it.

2. Crossing the street
- the streets in Amsterdam are narrow, cobble stoned,a different pattern then the bike paths. When you first arrive, after the jet lag goes away. When you first walk the city, your eyes will be upward, looking at all the cool architecture, the gables, the cornices, the pulleys at the top of the gables. You won't notice when you cross, that you standing in the middle of the side streets,you won't notice until a car stops suddenly, where the driver doesn't flip you the bird, they instead encourage you to continue, and to be polite you should, don't stand there encouraging them to go, because they'll stay there, waiting for you to go.So just go, and say thank you.

3. the bill, please. or Mag ik afrekenen. say (Maahk ik ahf-ray-ken-neng)
When you eat out, ask for the bill. The restaurant will let you sit for many hours undisturbed, not like in America, where they are in a rush to get you out of there. Your waiter will watch you stretch, drum your fingers on the table, it's not until you ask for the bill do you get it. The Dutch are laid back people, and forthright too. They don't beat around the bush, which is refreshing. They also don't bring the bill, until you ask.

4. the Tram
When you get on the tram, get on in the back, that is where the conductor is.From him or her, you can buy a ticket or a strippenkaart. In Tram have a seat, and remember that accordion looking middle does take corners, just as you would imagine it would,by bending at an angle.

5.the strippenkaart-
this ticket gets you on the tram. You should consider buying them in strips of 15, as it's less expensive. You can buy them at a supermarket, or a smoke shop, and this is the kind of smoke shop that you can buy cigars , and cigarettes at not the other kind of smoke shop.
You can still buy them on the tram, but they cost a little bit more.With srtippenkaart in hand you'll get on the tram seamlessly, not holding up the other passengers behind you.
The stamp on the strippenkaart will get you travel for up to one hour, they are stamped with the date, time, and zone in which you have boarded.
They can also be used on buses, remember with a bus you get on in the front.

In the Netherlands, the voltage is 220. Before you buy a voltage converter, look at the electrical things, you are bringing with you,most likely they are dual voltage. Look at the input voltage listed, if it gives a range, like 100-250V, you're in like Flynn. You just need a plug adaptor, because the Dutch use the two pin continental plugs. We were able to recharge batteries, for our camera's and charge our phones, and charge our laptop too, all with plug converters.

7.Albert Heijn or Dirk Van den Broek
these are supermarket chains. You can buy food, soap, booze, baked goods, delicious yogurt, tissues,water, but you cannot buy any of the OTC drugs. No Nexium to go with that spicy salsa, just chips. Also you buy your grocery bags, and they're at the front the the register line, not the end. They are worth their price 0.25Euros. They are big, and carry alot.

8. it's pronounced Gowdah not Goodah.
Buy some Gouda cheese.Find yourself a cheese shop or a Kaashuis.
Ask to try some, be it young or older aged Gouda it's all good,some of the cheese shops will even vacuum pack your cheese if you want to take some home with you, on the plane.
Where it'll be mistaken for plastic explosives in your luggage, so customs will search your luggage. I kid about the explosive part, but you'll still get your luggage searched, even when you tell them on your custom form, that you have it.

9. Good shoes
bring your best, most comfortable walking shoes, because really if you wanted too, you can walk the city of Amsterdam, it gives you a wondrous view,the cobblestone sidewalks and streets are lovely to look at, but your feet will complain at night about the whole thing. What I recommend, soak your feet, in the tub or in a basin or whatever ,nice warm water, a drink or a beverage of choice is recommended, talk about your days events and soak those dogs, you'll be surprised, how un-sore your feet will be the next day.

10. Money
Don't take alot of money, with you, instead bring your ATM card, you'll get the best daily exchange rate that way, and they are everywhere. If you're still not sure about using an ATM, get some Euros at your own local bank, but still bring your ATM card.


stephanie (bad mom) said...

I am interested in the ATM card info - one of my guide books (and it's a pretty current one) said many places don't take credit cards. So are you saying take our debit card to get cash out, or will it be accepted as a Visa?

Also - when you say 'gowda' are you pronouncing the gow to rhyme with 'cow' or 'go'?

Thanks again for all of this fabulous, valuable info!

Tracy said...

i used my ATM card to take cash out at the bank machine, so take your ATM for that reason. you can take the cash out ad you need it.

pronounced like cow-dah

stephanie (bad mom) said...

I'm revisiting to tell you how much all of these tips helped on our trip - I so loved this city, as different as it was from London & Paris; the change was really quite delightful.

We were totally prepared for the bikes & lanes & cars & walking & cash. Thank you! YOU ROCK :D