Outside our hotel in Amsterdam
We had a wonderful break in Amsterdam. A chance drive past Southend airport during our visit in February, and having spotted the easyjet flights, I thought it would be good to have a holiday.
Having done a tremendous amount of flying as an Engineer, i’d been to Schipol countless times, and never seen anything of Amsterdam. So I booked on the easyjet website including the hotel.
Jessica drove us to Southend Airport, and it was like catching a bus, less than 20 minutes between arriving and being in the terminal building ready to board the plane. The place is so efficient, we left early.
Amsterdam was easy, just bought train tickets and we were at the Centraal Station in 45 minutes. A short tram ride later, and we were able to drop off our bags at the hotel
On the first afternoon, I’d booked timed tickets to go around the Anne Frank house, and that was chilling to see how they had lived, and another awful reminder of the capacity of humans to extreme cruelty and evil, but also the humanity of those who put their lives on the line to help their friends.
We had a lovely lunch by the canal, and met one of the canal buskers, who went on to tell us he was in Bristol the previous week. We had a lovely steak in an Argentinian steak house.
I’d booked 2 tours, so the next day we set off for a bus tour of Amsterdam, seeing canals by the score, dutch houses, windmills, the Hague, Delft and Moduradam. Exhausted after this we resorted to Burger King!
The second day of tours was to Floriade, the once every 10 years flower festival. Very good, but walked my feet off. Caroline took 1000s of photographs.
On that evening we went to an Indonesian Restuarant and sampled all the little plates of food. Fantastic.
There was a little downer on that evening, as we plucked up courage to take the walk through the red light district. Lots of tourists and their children were quite merrily walking through. But Caroline and I were saddened by the sight of the desperate young girls behind the windows. Also saddened by the large groups of young men (boys really) who were there as customers.
Reflecting on this, how sad that anyone has to resort to selling their bodies for money. One small consolation was that there is a Prostitutes information centre run by the churches, not to condemn these young people, but to try and offer them the love of God in the midst of their situation. Remember Jesus did not condemn the prostitutes that he met, he offered them a way out.
If you are reading this, say a prayer for all those caught up in these situations that they can find freedom, peace and love.
Our last day was a canal ride, dutch pancakes, and a train ride back to Schipol, a short hop on easyjet, and a single short bus ride from the airport to home. (A lot easier than Bristol folks!)