Taking springtime to Mokum(long)

A forum where you can read the great
adventures of the visitors to Amsterdam.

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Taking springtime to Mokum(long)

Postby DRRB » Fri Apr 10, 8:46 pm

Finally, after years of taking joy from Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and its wonderful people, I have been able to repay...We arrived at Schipol Wednesday morning April 1 . Ask any " local " when their weather changed from a bitter cold winter to sunshine and warm weather; they will tell you April 1. You see, we brought our northern California springtime weather with us to Mokum.
After settling in to our favorite hotel, Ambassade at Herengracht 341,
we're hungry for Amsterdam. We three consist of myself, my girlfriend, and my 27 year old daughter. Actually, this is a 27th birthday trip for her. Multiple Sclerosis has taken away much of her leg functioning so she gets about primarily in a wheelchair. A foot-to-knee brace on one leg, foot and ankle brace on the other, and a crutch allow her to walk short distances and negotiate some stairs.
Albert Heijn and Old Man Shop provide what we need, so we are off to our favorite first-stop-in Mokum, La Turtulia ( what are your favorite first- stops ? )Shiva and Misty lift us far above Prinsengracht...trees are budding, some flowering bushes, sunshine flowing through the windows.
Residents are delighted; magic is in the air. Or, perhaps it is only the Shiva.Next thing I know , we are ordering take-out food at the Greek Deli, Singel 311. Must have been a great afternoon at La Turtulia.
Wheelchairs, use the bike lane; you're on two wheels just like others there. Sturdy gloves help whatever the weather. Our Greek picnic is in
one of our rooms, tall windows open, overlooking Herengracht. Passers-by smile upon the scene.Later, we stroll and roll, enjoying the warm evening air, the lighted bridges, and some very good chocolate.
Laughing Buddha from Tweede Kamer sends us smiling to our beds.
Early next morning finds my girlfriend and me wandering through Dam Square, where they are starting to set up for a carnival, and on through the Old Side of town. Multiple Sclerosis also can clobber one's energy; my daughter sleeps longer after a long flight. Later, we three connect briefly with friends visiting Amsterdam for the first time. We introduce them to
coffeeshops at Kadinsky, then take them to Westerkerk and the Ann Frank House. Our picnic tonight is a variety of Middle Eastern foods. Again, the warm weather is a blessing. Later this night the ladies roll and stroll through the Red Light District , even daring to take a picture...more of a landscape of the area. Our nightcap tonight is Super Silver Haze from
Tweede Kamer, which turns out only so-so. The New York Diesel from Kadinsky was much better.
Day three finds us on a train headed for Den Haag. Wheelchair users,
call NS 72 hours before your planned train trip to arrange for some very kind helpers who aid you up/down a ramp. I'm no art critic, but in my limited layman's opinion, I believe the art collection in the Mauritshuis is the equal of if not better than the limited if brilliant collection available currently in the Rijksmuseum. Anyway, that's our second destination in Den Haag. First, we check out Cremers Cafe, about which we had heard so many good things. Nice place, underwhelming weed. My only dissapointment with Mauritshuis this time was that my favorite painting, The Goldfinch ( Fabritius ) was not on display. A friendly guard smilingly told me that the goldfinch had flown away for a visit to Dublin, Ireland.
Gotta love the folks of Netherland..as we departed the Mauritshuis, a worker we had conversed with ealier walked her bike out of her way home to show us how to find a delightful little cafe tucked away in a beautiful courtyard of an art gallery ( I've lost the name... any help here from locals ? ).
If you enjoy the artist Escher when you are straight/ sober.....
What an afternoon ...several hours there. Then, another example of why I am so positively impressed with the residents of the Netherlands... just before leaving the soon-to-close Escher, I asked ( after apologizing beforehand in case it was inappropriate ) the cashier if she knew a good coffeeshop nearby. She replied that she did not smoke...but, her boyfriend did; and darned if she didn't call him, explain the situation, then have him talk to me in English about where and how to get there.
Wow ! How kind is that. And, better yet, his suggestion of the Juke Box was spot-on, and our choice of Mama Mia was even more spot-on.
Taxi, train,taxi, Amnesia . Warm enough this evening to sit outside enjoying Honey Bee overlooking Herengracht. My girlfriend wanders off in search of fries, returning some time later with loads of warm fries, mayo and catsup, and tales to tell of being lost.
Again, next morning finds us aboard a train; this time, Thalys headed for Paris. First time to Paree for my daughter and me; my girlfriend visited once before. After breakfast and before train, New York Diesel kicked in for me like the Thalys ramps up between Brussels and Paris.
Because I don't know if my daughter or I ever will travel to Paris again, I wanted a fantastic hotel there. The more I walk these days, the more pain I experience in my knees...so, I wanted someplace where I could sit and look out over a Paris cityscape. Choosing hotels that can accomodate wheelchairs......led me to the Hotel Brighton. Rue du Rivoli 218.
Wheelchair users and others with walking problems, consider it.
Expensive and worth it. Non-wheelchair users and those who walk well, imagine this view off your balcony: towers of Notre Dame, the Louvre, including Pyramid, overlooking Tuillerie Gardens and d'Orsay, the Obelisk, Franz Alexander bridge, Petit Palais, Grand Palais, the Invalides, and the Eiffel Tower.Walk/roll to Louvre, d'Orsay, La Orangerie, Place Vendome.
We settle into two rooms then taxi to Eiffel tower. Several hours soaking in the magnificence of what can be done with an Erector set.
We have a delightul dinner outside in a cafe back in Tuillerie Garden,
including wine, fruit, and chocolate. Then, after dark, back to Eiffel Tower
for several hours , which began with a laugh when we passed two kids who looked to be six years old and one called the other very clearly a mutherfugger !
No thanks, no trinkits. NO, I don't speak English. About midnight, after watching the sparkles a couple of times, we headed back to the Brighton.
How could I have forgotten two incidents from earlier in the day...aboard Thalys, a very handsome young waiter sings Happy Birthday to my daughter and provides her with some free small bottles of French red wine; and our boat ride on the Seine, seeing so many mammoth and beautiful sights.
We wake next morning and the Rue du Rivoli beneath us, normally packed with traffic, is empty. Soon it will be filled for several hours by
participants in the Paris Marathon, a tidal wave of people walking, rolling, and in some cases being carried down Rue Du Rivoli. We breakfast in our room on baguettes and fruit juice we picked up while strolling during the Marathon. We await a dear friend of long-standing who arrives about noon from Geneva. He speaks many languages; this helps immensely, particularly in Paris.
We spend several hours enjoying the architecture and art of Notre Dame. Cherry trees bloom near the flying butresses.We lunch nearby, then taxi to the Roman-built arena near Place Monge. We are delighted to find it surrounded in part by flowers and filled by groups of youngsters playing soccer and other games.Then, we enjoy several hours in d'Orsay. I am as thrilled with the architecture of train-station-turned-to Art Museum
as I am with the incredible art work. The ladies favor the Impressionists.
Before we dine in our room overlooking so much of the city, we have some wine in Tuillerie gardens. Our picnic is hummus, felafel, and the like.
Monday is our sixth straight day of sunshine and warm weather. All day we enjoy the Louvre, L'Orangerie, and Saint Chappelle ( in brilliant sunlight ...like the postcards show ).
That night my daughter decides that wheelchair or not, she is going to the top of the Eiffel Tower. I know little about astrology; I am told she is an Aries....She and my girlfriend make this trip without me. And, they pull it off. She explains she was told no wheeelchairs at the top. So braces, canes, and determination carried her up the " 17 steps, Dad " and around the top and back down again. Five minutes after they arrived back at the Brighton, a downpour bagan.
After paying our respects to one whom I consider one of France's most important heroes, Jeanne de Arc, we take Thalys back to Amsterdam. Continuing her birthday celebration, my daughter enjoys
French wine aboard the train.Later, at La Turtulia, after three days without Netherlnds weed, she learns about " whiteys ". Although LT is crowded the ladies that run it were ever-so helpful and calming, which we all very much appreciated. Lessons learned.Picnic tonight from Kantjil d' tiger to-go ( ??). A quiet evening canal-side enjoying chocolates from Geneva.
Next, our last day ( this time) in Amsterdam. All the things we put off earlier...gifts, post cards..... And a light rain begins. This pretty much empties out Sarphati Park which allows us to enjoy the Parrot Ballet there nearly by ourselves. They must have had some of the same Lavendar from Katsu that we did. Next one of our two big discoveries this trip
( Juke Box In DH being one ) ; a petit grand cafe called Granny's very near and across the street from Katsu. Delightful, charming setting, rather small, excellent food and drink ( good apple pie ,'tho not the equal of Oddette's .Albert Cuypt Market then Taxi to Hortus Botanicus. First, we cross the canal to another coffeeshop we have enjoyed in the past,
deOverkant. We are sad to leaqrn that because of robbery they now have to buzz you in through locked doors. So, buzzed from Overkant, we enjoyed Hotrus Botanicus. The ladies especially enjoyed the butterfly house. By wheelchair or afoot, my daughter explored and loved every minute of it.
Our last night, about an hour before closing time of 1900 at LaTurtulia
my daughter presents her helpers there with flowers.Then, she convinces them that she can handle the ladder-like stairs up to their loft, which she does.
Next, its Kalverstraat for the ladies to complete their gift purchases.
We enjoy the Carnival in Dam Square for a while, then head to our second favorite coffeeshop in Mokum, Amnesia.This night we sit inside and finish up our leftovers. All that's left is two pre-rolled Shivas from LT
for post-breakfast/pre-airport next morning.
A few , finally, finishing comments. Paris was immense and magnificent. I am glad we went. I would not go back. If I'm to spend money getting to Europe, it will be for Amsterdam and the Netherlands.
We decided that an apt comparison of Paris and Amsterdam is their waterways. The Seine is big, and fast, and roiling, which is how we experience Paris.The canals of Amsterdam are smaller, slower, less
disturbed. We much prefer the latter. Then, there are the people.
We encountered some nice, helpful folks in Paris, although nothing to the extent of Amsterdam.Again, another comparison..in Paris the taxi drivers were slovenly, rude, unhelful, willing to stand by and let us deal with wheelchair storage, then racing through the river-like traffic; whereas in Mokum the drivers usually were well dressed, willing to speak English, and extremely helpful and considerate of my daughter.
Thanks for taking the time to read through this.

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Re: Taking springtime to Mokum(long)

Postby Sir Ian of Tokesville » Fri Apr 10, 9:11 pm

DRRB wrote: Thanks for taking the time to read through this.

Thanks for taking the time to write it. 'Twas a great read.

Photo's ? Especially at the top of the Eifel tower with your courageous girl.

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Postby YuckyDog1 » Fri Apr 10, 11:07 pm

nice story DB

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Postby FitZerOy » Sat Apr 11, 12:55 am

Wonderfull stuff...


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Postby Bohannon » Sat Apr 11, 12:57 am

Excellent read. Paris is my second favorite city in Europe. It was nine years ago this week when I enjoyed similar nice weather there, then on to Bruges for the first time. Then to Amsterdam for the second time. It was a wonderful time. Thanks for bringing it back so nicely.

(Where in Nor-Cal?)

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Postby Swin » Sat Apr 11, 8:44 pm

Superb report - many thanks - wish I had been there with you (I have to wait another two months) - it sounds like my sort of easy paced trip.
Glad someone else likes LT - I think its under-rated - and the Greek place on Singel is fabulous, my second and third stops after the Gollem


Postby Birdman » Sat Apr 11, 9:33 pm

nice visuals.

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Postby JULIET » Thu Apr 16, 3:08 am

Thanks for your time, brought back fond memories of Paris and Amst for me.

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