Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Day 17 - London to Amsterdam

Thursday 12 April 2012

No photos again today. We have foolishly stowed the camera in an inaccessible spot.  Sigh.  We have a flight to Amsterdam at just after four o’clock. It has always been our intention to do as little as possible today and leave as late as possible for the airport. I’m hoping to catch up on some journaling along the way with so much a waiting about.  The morning proceeds smoothly and I diligently type away. Keyboard is smoking as I try to get as much recorded as I can.  I’m way behind.
Seeing as our stay was so long, and we’ve been nice :o) we are allowed to hang around until 12 oclock.  We’re heading out the door just as housekeeping is arriving to fix the room up for the next guests.  We’ve really enjoyed our stay at the Alhambra Hotel. Great, convenient location. Lovely breakfasts. Nice staff. Excellent value. What more could one want?
Easy peasy to just walk with our luggage across to the station and get ourselves out to Heathrow.  We seek out the baggage weighing area to check how we’re going with the souvenirs.  Still well under the limits. Excellent.  Check in. Drop bags. Several hours to kill.  Ah. Looky there. Carluccio’s.  Very busy. Looks great.  It’s lunch time. Not a wasted day then! We wander in and are seated.  We are seated next to a rather loud man who is having a business meeting with a fellow who sounds like he may be Italian.  During the course of our meal we get a lengthy earful about refrigerated trailers and sustainable design blah blah.  It’s a virtual monologue.  Our noisy neighbour barely shuts his mouth the whole hour or so we are there.
We had a lovely meal. Unrestrained. We get to Amsterdam quite late and are expecting dinner might not be anything substantial.  Hubby goes for the calamari and I the bruscetta. Hubby wins. His calamari is really nice. My bruscetta is ok but nothing to write home about.  Next we have decided to share the trio deal for pastas and thereby try a few.  Lasagne, venison tortellini and ricotta ravioli.  All nice, but it was a mistake to get both the tortellini and the ravioli.  Should have gone for something different. Maybe carbonara.  It’s always hard to persuade Hubby to skip dessert.  That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.  I had the pink meringue with passionfruit cream and fresh raspberries. Except that the meringue was all hard and no soft element it was very similar to a pavlova.  Hubby had .. hmm. I think it was a chocolate bread and butter pudding and nice but I won. .. hubby can’t remember what it was or whether he enjoyed it.
It’s an uneventful flight. No delays. Easy arrival. Very simple quarantine. An honour system for customs again.  Then we’re off to find the 197 bus which we have been advised is the easiest way to get to Hotel Fita near the Rijksmuseum.  First however, we go to the tourist information place and buy an Iamsterdam card.  Cash only because the card machine is down.  Then back out to the bus.  It was a leap of faith deciding to get the bus.  I noted the lady at the next counter must have been asking for a ticket for some transfer service.  The girl serving looked at her and said “you know you can get the ordinary bus” “yes, but we have big luggage” replies the customer in what sounded like a Russian or east European accent.  Girl serving looks at her strangely and just sells her what she asked for.  We found out why when we got to the bus.  There is enough leg room for us to have our suitcases in front of us.  It’s just so easy to get on the bus with our luggage.  We are impressed!
As promised, the 197 quickly and easily drops us just down the street from Hotel Fita.  It’s a job getting the luggage up the front stairs though.  The Dutch seem to like very steep staircases with narrow treads. We press the buzzer and are greeted by Martijn who helps us with our luggage to our room which is the only room that is downstairs.  He uses the stairs as we continue to do throughout our stay but there is also a lift.  Our room is nicely appointed and cosy and we are quite content.  Martijn asks about our dinner plans and recommends a restaurant not far away called Bouf.  Hubby is sold. We’ll head down there. 
We forget to get the actual address and double back but then we successfully navigate our way beyond the bathtub shaped building.. and the supermarket, past the Concertgebouw. Great here we are. We go in and are seated at a pleasant table, our coats safety deposited on the coat rack behind us.  We skipped the starters seeing as how we had a large lunch.  For a main course I have the chicken breast filled with ricotta and tarragon and served with morel sauce, seasonal vegetables and mini potatoes €22.50. It was a delicious meal.  Hubby went for the Grilled scotch beef fillet with bĂ©arnaise sauce, seasonal vegetables and La Ratte potatoes €25  and was very happy with his too.  I was very slack and did not keep adequate notes and now look at the mess I’ve got myself in. Hubby says we had dessert but I have no memory of it at all.  We rack our brains and examine the website… hmm now I think about it I think hubby had the sticky toffee pudding with caramel sauce. Quite out of character and I had the dessert special which was a layered affair with meringue, cheesecake and berries.  Hubby won.  He’s tinny he is.
We gratefully sink into bed. No time to waste tomorrow is a big day. 

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