Amsterdam – Day 2
This morning we got up, had our Weetabix and Jordan’s Fruit and Nut cereal mixture in our hotel room/tent, and went in search of central Amsterdam.
We caught a tram, after asking a helpful pensioner where to buy tickets. (I’m not being ageist by the way. She told us a few times about her age, and showed us what is presumably the Dutch equivalent of a pensioner bus/rail/tram pass.)
She also complained about how expensive it was. It was €2.80 for a single into town, or €7.50 to use the entire tram network as much you want for 24 hours. It seems quite reasonable to me.
After a fairly pleasant journey into the centre, we spent the day wandering.
We shunned Madame Tussaud’s immediately. I think I’d be rubbish in there. I don’t even know who the (presumably well-known) waxworks are on the outside of the building.
It has to be said that there’s not a lot of what I’d call interesting architecture. One building looks a lot like another, really. A lot of buildings are grey/dark, which makes them all look a bit drab. It didn’t help that a light drizzle turned into more of a constant heavy-drizzle, that got heavier (and windier) as the day went on, getting greyer and greyer by the minute.
Fans of Blockbusters will like the pavements at least.
More tea oddness
We stopped in a cafe called something like Le Caffier. We ordered two sandwiches and two cups of tea. So we ask for this at the till, then get ushered towards the teabag selection to make our choice. English Breakfast tea it is.
Upon choosing them though, I notice that this tea is laughable. It claims to be Devonshire tea.
(No offence to the USA, but decent black tea comes from places like India or China. It just does. Even very British companies like Twinings make blends from tea they get from India/China/other places renowned for tea expertise.)
After a short wait, the girl in the cafe brings us…two tumbler-style glasses of boiling water (no handles!), and a metal jug of hot steamed milk.
Slightly odd, but we dunk our drawstring teabags. She asks if she can pour the milk in, but we’ve not dunked or squeezed enough yet. I ask if I can keep the milk jug til it has brewed. She reluctantly lets me.
Later on, she says that she’s always just poured the milk straight, but another (British) customer recently asked if she would wait a bit (while the tea brewed) first.
The tea was…ok. I wouldn’t say nice. It’s not quite as weak as the ones in our hotel though. Note to self: we must buy some decent teabags later.
A bit more wandering. I’ve spotted loads of brands I recognise here. Obviously clothes brands are international, along with places like Vodafone and Tmobile, but I saw a Waterstone’s bookshop earlier. And a branch of M&S.
These are all large well-known brands. But then, when we were a bit lost, looking for a supermarket, we found a branch of Pieminister. What are the odds? Bristol’s finest pie shop, in the middle of Amsterdam?
And it’s open til 9.30pm every night. I’ve never got to eat-in at the one in Bristol on an evening because it shuts about 7pm and I’m too crap at organising myself to get there in time, but I’m sure I can manage this.
We had a look around some smaller shops. Who knew there was a Fifty Shades of Grey board game? For “3+ players”. Kinky.
The sex museum
We were looking for something to do inside as it was pissing it down, so we went to the sex museum. It’s an odd experience. In some ways, a lot of it is quite bawdy. There’s a (cheap) animatronic lifesize model of a man getting pulled off by a prostitute, complete with moaning, in the doorway on the way in. But it’s not all as bad as that. Although some is.
If you like statues, pill boxes, walking sticks, or really MOST other things shaped like penises, you’re in luck. There are a lot of that sort of thing.
There are also a lot of pictures of naked people. When I say pictures, that includes paintings, drawings, and photographs. Some solo, most having sex. Some are good, some aren’t. The most interesting thing for me was just how long people have been taking photos of each other having sex. There was pictures of people from the 1920s, looking just as bored as some of the people you see in porn today (so I hear, from my friends who look at that sort of thing).
I also found it weird that the photographs are separated into professional studio shots, amateur photographs, and private photos. Whose private photos are these? Did they donate them, or is this like an early version of sexting, where someone shows a photo of his girlfriend, to his mates, and before they know it – it’s in a sex museum?
As well as some quite impressively detailed statues and mannequins, there are also a few rubbish/weird animatronics in the building. As well as the guy by the door, there’s a few of men flashing, and a guy who pisses against the other side of a piece of glass. Some of them seem to be done in the same sort of style as that shooting gallery thing at Weston Pier.
There are also a few exhibits that fall into the same trap as many museums of thinking that any old shit in a glass cabinet makes an interesting exhibit.
They allow photos to be taken, interestingly. I didn’t, because I thought it a little odd, really..taking photos of other people’s naked photos. However, the place was full of Asian people keeping the stereotype alive by snapping away continually.
And if anyone is wondering the same thing I was, no – the sex museum does not sell sex toys in the gift shop. It doesn’t have a gift shop.
(Admission €4 each, and I’d have to say it was worth it for the sheer volume of stuff in there. Also, use the toilets. Apparently the mirror in front of the sinks shows a film (I didn’t see this, but my girlfriend apparently did.))
We’ve found a supermarket. There doesn’t seem to be that many really, but this is definitely one.
It seems very reasonably priced.
1 litre of milk for 85 cents.
We’re making sandwiches for a day out tomorrow, and we needed some sandwich bags. They were 20 cents, for 100. Ludicrously cheap.
Teabags? I don’t recognise any of the brands of black tea. We were trying to decide between a box of 50 and a box of 80 (given they might be as bland as the hotel teabags/the American ones), when I spotted a box of 20. 20 drawstring teabags (from India). For 31 cents. Unbelievably cheap. (And if you’re wondering, it didn’t taste bad.)