A September 2002 trip
to Amsterdam by Drumnotes
Quote: Amsterdam is a city of canals, restaurants, museums, and a cool attitude and ambience all its own. Despite a "sin city" reputation, it is quite middle-class and offers attractions for older tourists who are not easily offended.
Hotel | "Golden Tulip Barbizon Palace"
However, the location was wonderful for sightseeing, as it was right across from the Centraal Station, where you can catch canal boats for tours as well as public transportation.
The hotel has two excellent restaurants, with prices comparable to those in the U.S. We had a wonderful dinner, and the waiter was delightful and helpful. The breakfast buffet (ours was included with the room rate) was excellent and hearty, with many selections. I have only seen one better in Europe.
Service in the hotel was cheerful and polite. The very nice gift shop has good souvenir-type gifts and quite good quality.
I noticed that on a weekend evening, gay men seemed to frequent the bar and perhaps the more expensive restaurant. One looked like he had jusy stepped out of Brideshead Revisited.
The hotel is located in a commercial area rather than one of brown cafes or the red-light area. It is an upscale hotel for business travelers and some tourists, but is quiet and does not bustle with tour groups.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 29, 2002
NH Barbizon Palace
PRINS HENDRIKKADE 59 72
31 20 5564564
Attraction | "Canal boat tour"
The Rijksmuseum has the most famous collection of old Dutch Masters and is must-see. At the same canal boat stop is the Van Gogh Museum, another important sight.
Even if you are not a gardener, everyone enjoys the Flower Market. It is a good place to find inexpensive souvenirs and a hearty lunch of Dutch sandwiches and beer.
If you are after a little adventure, you will want to stop at the Red Light District. Watch your wallet and passport. Also, photographing is frowned on.
The "brown" cafes are popular with the young tourists, based on the belief the marijuana sales are legal. They are not, but are generally ignored. Lately, there have been raids because of stronger drugs being sold.
Amsterdam is notorious for the aboveboard gay life, and it is pretty obvious. The city attracts gays from all over the world and alternative lifestyles are quite visible.
Amsterdam Canal Cruises
Many are very luxurious, complete with every convenience. They go for about $1,000 a week. This is quite a bargain if you are bringing children or are traveling as a group, as it is cheaper than hotel rooms and you can prepare some or all of your own meals on the boat. You also can sit out on your deck and watch the world go by.
You can find the ads and information by using a search engine and keying in "Amsterdam" and "Canal Boats." The sites have pictures and descriptions of boats for rent. They also have articles and people telling about their experiences renting a canal boat. Even if you never rent one, you can enjoy it vicariously at the site. Apartments are also listed. Everything is furnished for the renter.
The narrator on our tour boat said that musicians favor living on the canal boats--so you may have some free music with your boat.
Please don't take the canal boat across from the Rijksmuseum--I want that one!