We were determined to make the best of our final day in Amsterdam despite being faced with a couple of hours lugging our bags around with us after checking out of our hotel at noon. However first things first – breakfast. We had the option of an eat as much as you can buffet at the Ibis for €16, but I think that’s a bit pricey for stuff that has been hanging around under heat lamps for hours and mucked about with by other people’s kids with machine coffee. However the receptionist told us there was a good place for a light breakfast just a few doors down from the hotel in Volkenburgerstraat.
Koffie – en eethuis de valk turned out to be a delightful little coffee shop where the lovely Melinda somehow juggled multiple breakfast orders and got them all right. It was a lot lighter on the wallet too at around €10 per person for a full English and a nice coffee. Next stop was the flea market at Waterlooplein.
It always amazes me that people will buy some of the junk you find in places like this, I can’t think of anything much worse than wearing someone else’s old shoes for example, but amongst all the old tat there is the odd gem. Some of the traders are a bit reticent about having their stalls photographed too, so perhaps there is some truth in the local gag that it’s where people go to buy back their stolen bikes. We bought a few T-shirts for folks back home before heading back to the hotel to check out.
We still had a couple of hours to kill before heading back to the airport so we decided that a canal cruise will be the ideal way to polish off our trip. Most of the cruises depart from quays around Centraal Station and there are quite a few operators offering trips around Amsterdam’s waterways.
You can pay anything up to €15 for a canal trip, so it pays to shop around. Our canal cruise cost €8.75 and took in the docks. the NEMO museum of science,
that is gradually sinking back into the harbour and the replica East Indiaman the Amsterdam,
that was built by unemployed people, giving them something meaningful to do rather than stacking Poundland shelves for free like they do in the UK.
Leaving the deep water we pootled around Amsterdam’s picturesque canals passing the flea market and Waterlooplein before passing through the lock at de Sluyswacht,
and returning to Centraal to disembark. Having enjoyed a leisurely hour on the boat we had just about eniough time for a drink at the rather gorgeous Niewe Kunst Eerste Klass Bar
at Centraal Station before catching the train back to the airport.
One final obserrvation about Amsterdam’s canals is that there seem to be a lot more wild birds using them than there used to be. On this trip we saw mallards, coots, cormorants, mute swans, herons and great crested grebes. I was particularly happy to see the grebes, very pretty birds.