We’re so tired from all the walking that we usually have trouble getting out of bed in the morning. Yesterday was no exception. Alex and I left the hotel around 11:30 AM (after grabbing some coffee and pastries in the coffee place across the street from us) and headed to Albert Heijn, a supermarket, to get juice and snacks. And, wow, AH is so clean and all of the produce is so colorful.
First on our list was the Royal Palace, which is right across the street from our hotel and which we didn’t visit until yesterday. It is currently under construction (just as the Reijksmuseum was) so we’re not sure if we saw all there was to see, especially since we don’t know what’s public and what is not. The Palace was a lot like other palaces: lots of marble and lots of room. The coolest part was probably the judge/jury room, where prosecutions once took place.
After the Royal Palace, we walked to Begijnhof, the city’s oldest courtyard. It was originally used as early as the 14th century by Roman Catholic beguines (unwed women who prayed and worked with the sick but were not nuns as they took no vows and were free to leave at any time) who set up communities and worked together. There is also a little church there and one (of two) of the city’s last remaining wood houses. It was very quiet and peaceful, very serene.
Afterwards, Alex and I went to get lunch at the nearby cafe Dante. We split an order of bitterballen and each ordered a cheese sandwich with a beer. Yum. For dessert, we walked to Puccini, a place that makes and sells chocolates. We bought 4 pieces of chocolate and ate some of them on the boat.
Oh, yeah! After Puccini, we walked to Boathouse, a place on Prinsengracht (Prince’s Canal) that offers canal cruises for €12 per person. We were just in time for the 4 PM boat so we bought our tickets, walked to the boat, settled in, and indulged in some chocolates as we were taken through the city. We learned that boathouses are expensive (about €350,000 each) and have water + gas + electricity but no sewage system… so all their waste is flushed into the canal. However, the city cleans the water periodically so it’s all good ;)
After the tour, at 5 PM, we walked around and bought some souveniers. Then we went back to the hotel to shower and then left again for dinner. We went to Indrapura, an Indonesian restaurant in bustling Rembrantplein. Since it was a nice restaurant, Alex and I decided to splurge a little bit. We bought a bottle of red Argentinian wine, an appetizer, 2 soups, and 2 entrees. The total came to €103 — our most expensive meal yet. But it was totally worth it, everything was really, really good.
We finished dinner around 10 PM and decided to call it a night so we headed back toward the hotel. We only have one more day here :(