Day 20: Saturday, July 24: From Osnabrück to Amsterdam

The right half of this canal street, starting with the white building, is the hotel Mai. Our room is one floor up in the large building on the right, the third window from the left edge of that building.
The view from our window.
Antje presents: Amsterdam (across from Central Station) near Prins Henrikkade.
Classic view of small crowded streets with crooked houses.
Classic view of canal with boats
Modern view of /in Amsterdam: a bridge across one of the canals that has been 3-D-printed. Mark immediately recognized it from one of his tech sites. They only finished installing it a week or so ago! If you are curious, here is a video about the construction.
Crooked houses near De Waag, the old weigh station.

Departure from Germany day–bittersweet! We are ready to start our journey home, but it was sad to take leave of Imke and of Osnabrück. In the morning, instead of my run, Mark and I took an early pre-breakfast walk, basically my running route, but with a little detour through part of part of the university campus that is near the Westerberg (yesterday, on the projected map in the museum, we could see how spread out the campus is over various parts of town). Then we picked up fresh rolls and a “Bobbes” for my mom and one for us, and had a lovely last breakfast with her. Thanks to having packed our things yesterday, I had just about enough time to finish the notes I was writing down for her about using the iPad and practice a little more.

We took off about 11 am–Imke walked us to the bus stop and then continued on to her beloved greengrocer’s at the corner–we literally ate her out of house and home (or, as the Germans say, we ate the hair off her head) as far as vegetables were concerned. There was a third of a cucumber and some fresh ginger left in the fridge but nothing else! Even so, she was clearly very happy about our visit. She had already said several times how much she enjoyed our time together, especially yesterday, where we took off together for our little shopping / museum jaunt and then for dinner, and thanked us both multiple times for what we were doing–the iPad lessons, Mark’s many repair jobs, and just spending time with her. That was very sweet. We so enjoyed being with her.

Our train left Osnabrück shortly before noon, and we had our sandwiches and sweet en route. We arrived in Amsterdam to gray skies (but no rain except the occasional super light sprinkle) at the main station around 3 pm and found our way to our hotel, Hotel Mai, which was close by and very central, but tricky to reach because of construction–and our bigger suitcase is very heavy (we will be repacking before we leave). We checked in and were told that if we waited for a couple of hours, we could get the double bed we had booked and also a view of the canal. And they’d store our luggage in the meantime. So that was a no-brainer. We left everything behind and walked the canals and narrow streets, both enjoying the views and the people AND being a bit in shock how crowded it was. I actually put my mask back on multiple times throughout our walks through the city (we took two). And I always have an issue with pot smell, so that’s a problem in Amsterdam. After about an hour we were starting to get hungry, and eventually found our way to a small Thai “eatery” near our hotel, where the fried rice and the Pad Thai were simple, yummy, and cheap, and we could eat outside at one of two tables the owner had put on the sidewalk.

We then went back to the hotel and got our room, which is lovely and very freshly renovated, with a large walk-in shower and the promised view of the canal on Gelderskade. This means facing away from the really busy street and we should have a quiet night. The hotel consists of three remodeled buildings of the classic Amsterdam style, connected rabbit-warren style by corridors and staircases that take unexpected turns (but there is an elevator). On the ground floor is an art gallery as well. Very nice! We took a shower and rested for a bit, and then ventured back out for another rambling walk through the red-light district, across various canals and open plazas. I have to say I always felt better when it wasn’t so crowded, which was my main concern about the red-light district (and the pot smell, and the very touristy, gimmicky feel of the whole thing). Mark said the strip club with the best customer draw was probably the one that advertised toilets! Not for any kinky reasons that they might have intended, but just because public restrooms are at a premium, except for those horrid urinals for men only where both the head and the legs of the men who avail themselves of the facilities are visible to all while they use them–apparently mostly with bad aim. Blergh! Toilets of the world… always an adventure.

Okay, back to OUR evening. We walked around the quieter parts of the canals, and eventually, we bought some yogurt for tomorrow morning at a small grocery store that wasn’t just a cannabis store also selling a little orange juice on the side, and went back to the hotel. They gave us a bucket of ice upon the asking (no fridge in the room), and I think we’re set for tomorrow! There is a water kettle in the room and some tea, so we have what we need!

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