We're back home after a great (but short) weekend in Amsterdam. The weekend was made all the shorter by the fact that our Swiss flight left about 2½ hours late on Saturday afternoon, and we didn't make it to Amsterdam until about 6 p.m., thus reaffirming Mrs. TBF's opinion that Swiss Airlines sucks! All we had time for on Saturday evening was a one-hour canal cruise and dinner at our hotel - both of which were excellent. Our room rate included a multi-course dinner. I always hesitate to take these offers because I always think that it's going to be a rip-off. However, this was not the case at the Hotel de l'Europe. It was an excellent "surprise" multi-course dinner, there was a different wine with every course, it took about three hours, and we were stuffed. I would highly recommend the hotel because the service and location were excellent. Enough for the free advertising......!
We had perfect weather for sightseeing on Sunday. It was sunny and about 18ºC. We went to the Van Gogh museum, but we only spent about 45 minutes inside. It was just too nice to spend too much time in a museum. After the museum, we walked. We saw the usual touristy sights, shopped a bit, and pretty much just enjoyed seeing all of the "in-your face" sin that Amsterdam has to offer. We didn't really have a plan. Just a little shopping, stopped for a drink here and there, etc., etc. Something that I found really strange was the number of Finns that were in Amsterdam. I heard people speaking Finnish throughout the day. I mean, I must have heard Finnish being spoken in my vicinity more than ten times during the day. Then, back at the hotel, a desk clerk saw my last name and began speaking Finnish to me. It was strange.
On the advice of our Top Ten Amsterdam book, we went out for dinner at an Indonesian restaurant (there are a lot of Indonesians in The Netherlands) called Tujuh Maret which was about a 15 minute walk from our hotel. I'm happy to report, that this restaurant continued our streak of never having had a bad meal in Europe. We ordered the "Indonesian Rice Table" which was basically two different types of rice with about two dozen little dishes containing different types of toppings ranging from mild to spicy. They were all good, but the spicy toppings did bring on a full-blown Big Finn sweatfest (a common, but not-too-pretty, sight). I can now speak from experience - Indonesian food is spicier than Swiss food! We walked back to our hotel after dinner last night, packed, went to sleep, woke up this morning, had breakfast, checked-out of the hotel, took a taxi back to the airport, and we were back in Basel before noon.
I'll have to stop now. King is very annoyed that we left him alone this weekend (although I'm sure he likes it when Uncle Dave takes care of him). He's been rubbing against my shin for the past fifteen minutes, so I think I should pay a little attention to the old guy.
I have meetings in Amsterdam next week and asked a colleague there to recommend a good Indonesian restaurant. He suggested three, one of which was Tujuh Maret, which he said was really excellent and highly recommended. Now that I have your recommendation as well I may have to give it a try...
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