Wednesday, August 01, 2007

July 1, Amsterdam

Finally getting around to writing about Amsterdam. Got the pictures up, too.

The ticket vending machines in the airport don't want to accept my credit card, even though they claim to accept Mastercard in general. Bought them for cash, which means a line and an extra 50 cents per ticket.

In general the ticket vending machines of the Netherlands Railways are not your friend. They usually want some local (debit?) cards, and some of them also accept coins. If you have paper bills you gotta stand in line and pay an extra service fee. Bugger.

Amsterdam GVB (transportation office), OTOH, is your friend. If you have a passport photo of yourself they make you a stamkaart (a card with your name and photo) for free and will sell you a week ticket for a very reasonable price. Works much like the old Helsinki one-month tickets, except that you can buy them for just one week, too.

We find our houseboat without much trouble. Leena and Ville think the houseboat is totally cool. I don't really understand the coolness - an apartment would have been just as fine by me - but as apartments go, it's a pretty nice one.

We leave our stuff and go to shop for tomorrow's breakfast. Albert Heijn is a nice chain of supermarkets, even though they don't accept credit cards.

We go to Leidseplein for dinner. Leidseplein is full of rather nice restaurants, but restaurant Chicano, where we decide to eat for some reason, is not really one of them. Out of two appetizers and three entrees one appetizer and two entrees are totally wrong. Luckily they try to fix their mistake, replace our waiter with a much better one, give us some free wine and give us a discount, so in the end the price/performance ratio is not too bad.

I totally love Amsterdam. The place is somehow overwhelmingly enjoyable.

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