Trying to Feel the Amsterdam Vibe

On Sunday morning, we had to leave the River Queen, and set a 10:00am pickup for a taxi to take us to the Hotel Pulitzer for two nights.

We were talking to the Hotel Manager on the River Queen as we were saying our last good-byes, and he offered to take us on a tour of Uniworld’s newest ship, the S.S. Antoinette. She’s beautiful, and the tour left no doubt why she’s getting rave reviews. This is the small inside pool at the aft of the ship – it and the movie theatre get very little use, and I rather expect that they won’t be in the design of the next ship, due in 2013 or 2014.

The pool on the S.S. Antoinette
With 7 ships at our dock boarding and disembarking passengers (as well as supplies for the ships), it was a beehive of activity, very unlike our boarding at Basel with only the River Queen at the dock.

River ship dock area in Amsterdam
We arrived at the Pulitzer at 10:30, put our luggage into storage (our room, as expected, wouldn’t be ready until about 3:00pm), and went to explore Amsterdam in a different way than yesterday, with no particular destination in mind. We had started to wonder if perhaps staying 2 days was a mistake, and finding out one way or the other was today’s mission. This is the canal outside our hotel, the Prinsengracht – ahhhhhhh 🙂

Prinsengracht, Amsterdam
Road construction Amsterdam style. Bricks or cobbles are the norm for most of the side streets in the historic downtown, while the main roads are paved or concrete.

Road construction Amsterdam style
We came across a shop selling everything imaginable for cats. We eventually realized that this very life-like kitty in the window was breathing!

Cat in a shop window in Amsterdam
The gables are a significant feature of Amsterdam architecture, and each has or had a pulley or crane of some sort for moving furniture and other heavy stuff into the apartments through the windows.

If you think that a Smart Car is tiny, check out this rather cute little rig. It’s a Canta, built in the Netherlands.

Canta, a tiny car in Amsterdam
We thought about going to the Anne Frank House but the lineup to get in was several blocks long just before 1:00pm.

Anne Frank House, Amsterdam
We loved hearing the clip-clop of horses in the area around our hotel – we didn’t see/hear them anywhere else.

Horse-drawn carriage ride in Amsterdam
The details on some of the buildings are very impressive. Reading a book such as Whipped Cream: and Other Delights of Amsterdam Architecture beforehand would make it easy to spend a week doing nothing but architecture here.

Architectural details in Amsterdam
Having a large carnival set up in the historic Dom Square was quite a cultural contrast, and it was packed with people.

A carnival in Amsterdam
A new subway is being built downtown. Monitors have been installed on many buildings to watch for shifting of the soils due to the tunneling, and some buildings have been very badly damaged.

You can buy anything imaginable make with cannabis in Amsterdam stores, from smoke to cookies and drinks.

Cannabis products in an Amsterdam shop window
Yes, more building details.

The huge flower market attracts at least as many photographers as it does buyers.

One of my must-sees was a FEBO fast-food dispenser.

There’s a small counter at back the back for ordering some things but most of it is of the automatic variety. A hamburger is only 3 Euros – we didn’t try it, though.

A FEBO in Amsterdam
We went back to our hotel at about 3:00, and got the keys to our room, on the 4th floor overlooking the Prinsengracht (canal). Wow, is this ever nice! 🙂

Hotel Pulitzer, Amsterdam
I suppose every hotel folds the end of the toilet paper roll, but how many emboss it?!

Hotel Pulitzer, Amsterdam
We had both completely changed our minds about Amsterdam – we love the vibe of the place. To celebrate, we drank an entire bottle of wine before going out for dinner, more wine, and some more wandering. Our concierge recommended a small out-of-the-way cafe about a 15-minute walk away, and it was wonderful – the mussels and the ravioli were both superb.

There are a few Delft pottery shops near the hotel. Cathy found a plate that she loved (a Royal Delft polychrome) – at 375 Euros she balked at buying it without research, but now regrets it.

We got back to the hotel about 10:30pm, satisfied that we now feel the Amsterdam vibe properly 🙂


For tomorrow, we decided to take a 7-hour coach tour into the countryside, and had the concierge book us seats with Key Tours.


Trying to Feel the Amsterdam Vibe — 2 Comments

  1. Thank you for publishing your photos & travel experiences. Which came first, I wonder, the Amsterdam Architecture book or Herb Alpert’s LP, “Whipped Cream and Other Delights”? I have the LPs of that and “The Lonely Bull”.