Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Perth - Dubai - Amsterdam:- Day 1 and 2

On Thursday 29th March I caught the 6am flight to Dubai.
The early flight wasn't the best choice, but it was the only one that would enable me to meet up with my husband in Dubai (he was flying out from Sydney at 6m, or 3am Perth time) and then we would fly together to Amsterdam. 

The taxi picked me up at 2,30am, was at the airport at 2,50am and by then I was already the 10th passenger in line at the Emirates counter that opened at 3am on the dot. 
A few minutes later I was being attended, my bag dispatched, and then I took the escalators to the top floor to wait about 50 minutes until the Security/passport control opened at 4am!
Easter chicks at Perth airport
Early morning pictures - Perth, Fremantle harbour?, Rottnest island and a fluffy clourds

After an almost 11 hour flight I arrived in Dubai at 1pm local time (4h less than Perth) and walked to the departure gate for Amsterdam where I met up with my husband when he arrived from Sydney a short while later.  Luckily we had only about 1,30h to wait to board the next flight.

After another almost 7 hours flight to Amsterdam, this time on the nicer and more comfortable A380, we arrived at 8pm local time (6h less than Perth) on the Thursday evening (a positive was we arrived the same day we departed),  picked our luggage and went to the Avis counter to pick the rental car that our daughter had hired for us.

Our daughter had gone to South Africa for work and would only arrive the following day.  Like the majority of Dutch people they don't own a car and we would need a car to take us to the tulip gardens on Saturday, etc.
When we arrived at the apartment building I rang the bell so our son in law could come down and open the gate to the garage to park the car. Then he helped with the luggage and gave us dinner before we went to sleep at about 10pm. For us it was already 7am and 4am of the next day respectively.
Early morning view from my daughter's 18th floor apartment next to the IJ river (bottom right)

  On Easter Friday, 30th March, I had arranged to meet up with Dutch bloggers
Marianne and her husband Stef in front of Amsterdam Central Station at 10,30am.
It was a very cold morning (3C/37,4F!!) and I had to borrow my daughter's boots, beanie and winter coat as I hadn't wanted to carry all the heavy stuff, hoping the weather was better in Portugal and Hungary where we would go next.
Amsterdam Central Station
My husband and I caught the nr. 26 tram from Rietland Park station, a 7 min walk from the apartment, paid for a day ticket for both of us, but had to use a credit card as I didn't remember to look up what was the pin for our Qantas travel cash card, and the driver didn't accept money.
Just 3 stations later we arrived in front of Central Station and looked around the area for Marianne and Stef.

After our greetings we walked nearby to the former Stock exchange building at Beursplein 1, that now houses a beautifully decorated and quiet restaurant - Bistro Berlage.
We really enjoyed their company and hearing the stories Stef had to tell us about the city's architecture as he is a retired architect.

My husband Jose, Marianne, me and Stef
Bistro Berlage and the former Stock exchange building
The red brick building was designed for the Stock exchange by architect Hendrik Petrus Berlage, was constructed between 1896 and 1903, and the Stock exchange operated there until 1998. Its huge main hall with an area around 1600m2  is now used as a venue for concerts, exhibitions and conferences. The present King Willem-Alexander had his civil marriage ceremony in the hall in 2002 when he married the now Queen Máxima.

After a second round of coffee for them, and hot chocolate for me and delicious Dutch pastries, we left the coffee shop and crossed the street so Marianne could show us the Beurspassage on Damrak avenue, an arched passageway whose ceiling, walls and floors have been turned into a stunning artwork by Arno and Iris and Hans van Bentem.
Through the mosaic adorned ceiling, the chandeliers, mirrored walls and granite floors we are told a story about Amsterdam and the canals and we get the impression we are walking through an underwater tunnel.

The beautiful passageway Beurspassage with Marianne in the left corner
Details of beautiful Beurspassage 

The first tulips I saw around the area

Oude Kerk, leaning narrow buildings, bronze hand over breast, old green glass windows

Major Alida Bosshardt from the Salvation Army, who lived across the road, house from 1686, Boat coming through a narrow canal, a Portuguese restaurant
The tour around the area carried on with Marianne and Stef showing us through the Red light district - Amsterdam's oldest church - Oude Kerk, the quirky bronze statue "Hand over breast" on the pavement - one of a few anonymous statues around Amsterdam, who some people say were done by Queen Beatrix who is herself a sculptor, the narrow and leaning buildings, the original green glass windows of a building, the old gable stones that were used to represent names or professions of house owners when people couldn't read in the Middle Ages. All fascinating things!

House gables, corner statue and gable, street name in Chinese quarter, funny signs

Lunch time was upon us and Stef and Marianne took us to lunch at a restaurant near the Waterlooplein Market, a big outdoor flea market with over 300 stalls - the Eetcafe Blauwbrug at Waterlooplein 403.

Before they left to return to their home in Almere (about 46km away), they took us to the 
City Hall building (City center Loket), situated next to the National Opera and across from the Amstel river, where we were shown "The Fiddler" another one of the bronze statues by an unknown sculptor. It's a beautiful statue don't you think?
And here we said our goodbyes to Marianne and Stef.

The market square and the Weigh house

My husband and I then went past the flea market again and bought 2 thick scarves before walking to Market Square (Nieuwmarkt), a centre for commerce since the 17th century.  We bought some cheese at the daily market and took photos of the Weigh House (De Waag), a 15th century building, originally a city gate (St. Anthony's gate) and part of the old city walls of Amsterdam.
Nowadays the bottom floor hosts popular restaurants, while the upper floors are closed to the public. It's Amsterdam's oldest remaining non-religious building.

Interesting and colourful snippets of life in Amsterdam

City buildings, Rietland park tram station and sculpture at the station with 3 tables with bee boxes in the top tier.
By around 4pm we were tired, it was getting colder, so we walked to Central Station to catch the Nr. 26 tram back to Rietland Park station.
As we were arriving at the apartment building our daughter was just getting out of a taxi from the airport, so it was great timing.

Later that evening the four of us took the nr. 20 tram that stops in front of their building and went out to dinner at the Taj Indian restaurant at Marie Heinekenplein 1, in the bohemian suburb of De Pijp. Both the food and the service were good.

And so ended our second day in Amsterdam. 
The following day we drove to the Keukenhof tulip gardens in Lisse, a 45 min drive away, but that will come in the next post.

Sorry for the pictures overload, but with 650 photos taken in 3 1/2 days there's lots to show!!

Here you can read more about the statues by the "unknown sculptor":


  1. Wonderful shots! My parents both came from the Netherlands, and I'd love to see the country someday.

  2. That's interesting William. You should visit your parent's birthplace, and I'm sure you'll love the Netherlands. I like Amsterdam, have been there 3 or 4 times since my daughter moved there, it's very cosmopolitan and a city where I wouldn't mind living if it wasn't so wise I much prefer warm and sunny weather like we have in Perth.

  3. This start really sounds stressy!
    (But the chicken are cute!)
    Dunno if I could drive a car after that - other-hand-drive, too!
    And then 3C, oh, my!
    But always great to know locals! Blogging is fun, right :-)
    The passageway is beautiful indeeed!
    Is there a story behind the Fiddler, quite unusual to disappear like that.
    The shoe (clog?)-bike is clever!
    There can never be enough pictures!

    1. Well the very early start was stressful, but once on the plane I relaxed. I don't know if I could drive, I'm now so used to the automatic car, and even my husband would sometimes forget to engage the higher gears, and our daughter would remind him, lol. The "fiddler" didn't disappear Iris, it appeared out of nowhere, they don't know who the sculptor is, but I assume with all the work that had to go into inserting the statue on that marble floor someone has to know about it.

  4. A great selection of interesting photos. While Amsterdam is not my favourite city, it is certainly interesting and quirky. I love the fiddler sculpture.

    1. Thanks Andrew, I quite like Amsterdam. The fiddler is fantastic and quite unexpected, I'm glad Stef and Marianne took me there, or I wouldn't have known about it!

  5. I had a long comment go up in smoke, so to speak. I'll begin by saying what a traveler you are. You and your husband are so lucky to travel like you do. I think I would like to spend a day in Dubai. I've read it is a modern marvel. Ironically, I had a friend who visited there, and one of the photos he showed was at the airport about anyone caught with marijuana would be captured and put to death. Certainly not the case for Amsterdam (grin).

    In the market photos, you showed a bridge with bicycles. There is one quite similar in a travel magazine I got. What irony. I loved it.

    Points of interest for me, the hand on the breast, the statue of Major Alida Bosshardt, and the Fiddler. I really enjoyed the snippets of life in Amsterdam. I look forward to more. You can never have too many photos, dear Sami. I live vicariously!

    1. Thanks so much Elizabeth. Our idea was also to stop in Dubai on the way back to to make the long trip easier, but because my husband didn't have much leave time we didn't have extra time. I would love to visit Dubai too, and yes I know they are ruthless with drug mules.
      I loved that bridge with the bicycles, it was so pretty. I agree, the statues are fantastic!

  6. thank you for your lovely photos an explanations, I do love hearing about your travels, you find such interesting things. That fiddler statue is quite something!

    1. Thanks Gillian. The fiddler statue is wonderful.

  7. Estive em Amesterdão no ano passado.
    E gostei imenso.
    A cidade é bonita, o ambiente relaxado.
    O Dubai vai estar na minha rota em Junho - Hong Kong/Dubai, Dubai/Paris.
    Estas no A380 (Emirates).
    De Paris para Lisboa ainda não decidimos.


    1. Esta e a terceira ou quarta vez que vou a Amesterdao nos ultimos anos Pedro, mas claro a minha filha vive la. Tambem gosto da cidade. A nossa idea nesta viagem teria sido parar no Dubai durantes uns dias no regresso, mas como nao tinhamos muito tempo de ferias nao deu, ficara para uma proxima para tornar a viagem menos cansativa.

  8. Meant to say we too when flying with Emirates had old planes to and from Australia to Dubai but nice new ones from Dubai to and from Europe. It is a long flight across the Indian Ocean.

    1. It's been the same with us, usually the smaller plane to/from Dubai and the A380 to Europe.

  9. Those chicks are super cute

  10. Amesterdão uma cidade que conheço bem, já lá estive duas vezes.
    Fotografias fantásticas deste magnifico passeio.
    Um abraço e continuação de uma boa semana.

    Dedais de Francisco e Idalisa
    O prazer dos livros

    1. Obrigada Francisco, uma cidade muito agradável. Boa semana.

  11. Thats a lot of photo's Sami but very well documented. Hope you had a good time.

    1. Yes Stef, a great time, thanks for showing us around.

  12. Very nice post Sami, you made many photos and read a lot about Amsterdam.
    Greetings, Marianne (not Mariette :)

    1. Thanks Marianne, sorry about the mix-up, still jetlagged and not thinking properly, lol.

  13. Vou voltar a este post quando um dia formos a Amesterdão. Boas dicas e belissimas fotos.

    1. Obrigada Paula. Tenho mais sobre sob o título "Holanda" no topo esquerdo (labels) de viagens anteriores.

  14. This is SO NOT PICTURE OVERLOAD! I could look at photos of Amsterdam all day! We were there about six years ago almost now and we hardly saw a tulip (but we didn't get to the garden!). Just a few so I love your tulip sighting. It's a wonderful city and it looks like you are exploring it in perfect form. Can't wait for more!

    1. Thanks Jeanie, what a pity you didn't get to see tulips.

  15. A 2.30 am taxi - ouch! Your travel schedule and coordinating flights seems to be like in our house! I loved seeing all you did, and so lovely to meet up with a fellow blogger. Of course you know when we meet in Bangkok my first question will be do you fancy a walk around Pat Pong?! haha.
    Happy travels
    Wren x

    1. Thanks Wren, I know not easy coordinating flights from different parts of the country :)
      Who knows one day I might visit Thailand again.

  16. Love those Easter Chicks and the tulips ...
    But so nice to see all of your photographs, they are all good.

    All the best Jan

  17. Dearest Sami,
    Oh my, we know how that is for meeting up with your other half; somewhere at an airport - hoping that it happens and no delay or cancellation.
    We've been at the Dubai airport too.
    Glad you could wear some warm items from your daughter as it is awful for bringing all the heavy things in your luggage. Nowadays impossible with the weight restrictions. I keep things at my best friends home, also for Pieter, just for that purpose.
    How lovely to meet with Marianne and her husband! Very special and yes, good coffee with pastry you can find in The Netherlands.
    Happy for you and good to see those photos of my birth country!

    1. A good idea to keep some clothes at your friend's house, I should do the same and leaves some clothes at my parents or my sister's house, then I wouldn't have to carry as much.
      I'm glad you enjoyed the photos of your birth country.


  18. Taxi Amsterdam

    Op zoek naar de beste zakelijke en privé-taxiservice in Nederland? Taxi Amsterdam-020 biedt professionele zakelijke taxiservice voor een geweldige.

    to get more -


I would love to hear from you, please leave a comment.