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Final day

Yesterday – our final one – we made the self-same stroll we did on arrival on Monday but with a great deal more assurance at to the topography.

We crossed all 3 canals – Herrengraacht, Keizergraacht and Singel – and entered the old town through Dam square.

Almost all the civic architecture and quite a few houses along the canals are of dun brown brickwork which is dull.

This did generate a discussion on Amsterdam’s failings as a capital city: there is not one proper park like Regents Park or Bois de Boulogne, there is not one fashion street of elegance like Bond Street or Avenue Montaigne in Paris and the architecture lacks diversity and colour.

I liked the hotel for its location. It’s a boutique hotel with attendant problems of insufficient light. Boutique hotels also have their irritations for me. I don’t need a bicycle repair kit nor coloured crayons, thank you, and the room was so dark I only saw the plug in the desk on the final day.

We ordered Uber to the Okura hotel.

We asked the doorman if it was arriving at the front or rear.

He ushered us into a car saying it was our Uber when in fact it was a taxi. Net result: cancellation charge from Uber and double the fare.

Alice was disappointed by the actual Rembrandt exhibition but we all liked the museum complex and the permanent collection of the Rijksmuseum.

The people were friendly enough and my abiding memory is of a smiling blonde Dutch woman in her twenties who speaks fluent English and can’t do enough to help.

The journey home was not without incident.

Bob noticed a man behaving loudly in the executive lounge dressed in a flat cap with piggy eyes like “pissholes in the snow” and giving every appearance of being a football hooligan.

On embarking he got into a row with various passengers and his colleague companion over seating resulting in him throwing his suitcase in petulant rage at his colleague. The air stewardess called his behaviour “totally unacceptable” but he did not calm down and the captain ordered him to disembark.

The air stewardess seemed a self appointed counselor to the poor woman and various other passengers nearby sympathised. It transpired that the she and the belligerent drunk were attending a cheese conference.

“They need to Edam up” , said Bob.

It was the drunk’s company for which she had worked 12 years. Her first day back should be an interesting one. The plane was late and the journey time from door to door was five hours. If I go again to Amsterdam it will be by train.

About Nancy Bright-Thompson

A widely-respected travel editor, Nancy is a past president of the Guild of Travel Writers (GTW). She and her husband Phil now run a horse sanctuary in East Sussex. More Posts