Saturday, February 23, 2013

Amsterdam 2012: Canal Cruise

Hello again!  It's 2013 and yet I'm still not done blogging about my 2012 escapades!:P  Yeah, will still try to write about my past trips in-between writing my thesis.  Wish me luck on writing (both)!! :)

To continue where I left off, I'll write about my canal cruise experience during our Amsterdam 2012 trip.

As I vividly recall, Amsterdam was a beautiful and unique city.  It had an interesting cityscape (the man-made canals), beautiful architecture, and various places of interest (museums, especially).  It is probably one of the few places in the world where sex trade is legal, and soft drug trade in 'coffee shops' is tolerated by the authorities.

To get around in Amsterdam, it is better to use public transport as driving is discouraged in the city centre.  When we were there, we had to park our car in a parking lot outside the city.  It was difficult to find parking in the city centre anyway, and if there were any at all, the fee would be exorbitant.  The preferred mode of transportation among locals, obviously, was the bike.  

City of bikes! :)

We didn't rent bikes, though.  With 3 kids in tow, we felt that it was more practical to go around on boat and foot.  I would say that walking is the best way to explore a place, but it can be a bit tiring.  So, to save you from aching feet, try the hop-on hop-off canal cruise.

There were many type of cruises available and we hopped onto one: Lover's Museum line, which took us around museum routes around Amsterdam.  The fare:  16 Euros for an adult, half of that for a child.  Don't forget to take a canal cruise map or two :).

The route map

The boat schedule

As we boarded our boat near the Amsterdam Centraal Railway Station, a multilingual tour guide cheerfully welcomed us with a fake American accent. There were not too many people in the boat that morning, so we got to sit near the window.  Looking around, I saw a building that strikingly resembled my husband's former workplace in Subang Jaya.  Check it out ... hehehe!

'Twin Tower' of Menara Mesiniaga?? :)

How was the experience?  I would say it's pretty much the same with the canal rides that you might have taken elsewhere, but of course, the scenery is different.  There were few futuristic-looking buildings like the EYE Film Institute of Netherlands...

Is it a spaceship??  No, it's just the EYE :)

... but I prefer the traditional dutch buildings along the canal :)

Alternative facade - another  reminder of home @ USJ :)

The boathouses along the canal.  Macam best je...

Replica of an 18th century Dutch East India Company (VOC) cargo ship 

Our boat :)

I took loads of picture during the canal cruise.  Alas, most of them were stored in my recently stolen Blackberry!  DAAANNNNGGGGG!!!!!!!!
Moral of the story... promptly transfer your pictures into your laptop, external hard disk or some place SAFE after each vacation :P.  They are your priceless memories ;'( ....

Canal-cruise verdict:

Canal-cruising is the most efficient way to see the wonders of Amsterdam in one day, as you won't be able to do so, walking.  If you have a tight schedule, take the canal cruise.  You can sit back and enjoy the sights of the monumental buildings and various landmarks (Anne Frank House, Westerkerk, Rijksmuseum, Nemo, etc), activities and life along the canal, and the various bridges (1500 altogether!).  If you feel like stopping at certain places, you can alight at the various stops.  That's what we did:  we hopped off at the Rijksmuseum, gawked at some Van Gogh's work (at another museum!), had lunch, lepak and ambik gambar kat Museumplein (I AMSTERDAM), and hopped onto another boat again. Remember though, the cruise is only for ONE ROUND TRIP.  Janganlah pulak ingat dengan tiket one way tu, boleh pi mai pi mai ikut suka hati korang! :P.  Kena tengoklah tiket tu untuk trip yang macamana... ;P

There are night cruises, too, though I doubt much can be seen in the dark.  Maybe, for a romantic rendezvous, sightseeing is the least of (their) concern...

I CAN'T ASSURE you, however, that the canal cruise is BEST for you, IF YOU ARE:

1)   One of those who suffer from motion-sickness @ seasickness @ mabuk laut @ yang sewaktu dengannya...  Maybe you should take tram rides, then :).

2)  An avid shutter-bug.  You will not savour the boat ride as you will be busy taking photos.  As the boat moves, you (and your shutter) will have to be quick, or you'll miss a fantastic shot :P.  You'll end up with many photos (mostly, composition entah apa-apa), a headache and  a keterkilanan yang teramatnya (as in "Kejapnya!!!  Tak sempat rasa naik bot pun??!!").  You can't have it all :).  Not if you are an amateur photo-hobbyist (pro bolehlah kot.... :)).

Well, that's all for now.  InsyaAllah, 'foot' notes next time ... (if I have the time :P).  Wassalam...