Sunday, December 14, 2014

Amsterdam-France - day 4

20 September 2014

Xena had a strange relationship with Tiger, our hostess's cat. She was curious about it, fond of it and yet terrified of it. 

This was the first sight of the morning -- Tiger sunning himself on the patio, and Xena watching him. 

This was her answer to "Do you like Tiger?"

And this to "Are you scared of Tiger?"

We headed off to Museumplein (Museum square), a public area housing three of Amsterdam's major museums. We had no intention to go inside any of them, even though they are immensely popular and are always listed as the top attractions of Amsterdam. The reasons were: i) Viv and I are not museum-y people, and there are very few museums we'd actually go to; ii) neither of us knows how to appreciate the kind of art found in museums; and iii) Xena was with us, and she would drive us crazy in a closed, boring place like a museum. So we decided to just explore the Museumplein, and it was great. 

Xena and I pose outside the Van Gogh museum. 

We sit near a water feature in front of the Rijkesmuseum. 

The famous and popular iAmsterdam sign was crowded as expected, and it was with much difficulty that we found a vacant letter for Xena to stand under. She didn't look at the camera though as she was wondering why 'uncle was sitting on top of the M'. 

I quickly joined her to get a touristy pic!

A little later, the 'a' was vacant so we made her sit inside. 

I had also been practising my selfie-taking skills on my newly acquired smartphone. Not too bad for a newbie, eh?

And another one showing the rare event of Xena actually eating something by herself!

Museumplein was a big, green and beautiful place to walk around, and we took lots of pictures.

Xena ascends to her favourite mode of transport.

Next, we went to the Albert Cuyp market, another popular tourist destination, which is more than 100 years old by the day. Hundreds of stalls on either side of Albert Cuyp street sell anything and everything - fruits, vegetables, fish, plants, clothes, accessories, food, anything you can think of. In many ways, it felt like the Chinatown you see in so many cities around the world.

A shop selling cheese and eggs

Xena is amazed at the liveliness of the market. 

We were looking for a place to have lunch when we stumbled upon a Surinam-Chinese restaurant! Yep, you read that right. We were too curious not to go in. 

Xena waiting for her food to arrive

Surprise, surprise! She actually ate some noodles!

After lunch, we took a leisurely walk back to Museumplein. Xena insisted that it was too sunny and that she needed her sunglasses! 

A neighbour had been to Amsterdam a week before us, and had recommended this amazing hollow fountain which was a source of much delight for her kid. So we set about looking for it.

And there it was... just behind the Rijkesmuseum.

It was indeed quite fun to watch it. 

Viv and Xena went in, while I stayed outside and took pictures.

Finally, we saw what they meant by 'hollow fountain'. These guys came out totally dry!

Xena needed a toilet break so I took her to the public toilet there. Most public toilets in Amsterdam have a fee. This one was 50ยข for adults, but free for kids. I was a bit shocked to see that the toilet cubicle doors were fully transparent. Fortunately, as soon as I locked the door, it became opaque! How cool!

We stopped to watch some street performers do a very cool act. And their comments were hilarious. They did some acts and then told the crowd that if they performed their finale, everyone would watch it and walk away without giving them any money. Therefore, they were going to collect the money first! And they did! LOL!

They were trying to get the crowd to move in, but no one bothered. Then they all started chanting, "If you move your feet, your body will follow."

And this guy's act had the audience going crazy! 

Xena insisted on having a picture taken like this. Toddlers... sigh!

It was time for her afternoon nap, so we decided to head home. 

Xena outruns her Poppy!

On the way, we saw this street performer. I asked Xena if she wanted to give the 'golden uncle' some money, but she was too scared. 

There was also a mini playground where we stopped for a bit. Check out Xena's half-terrified, half-delighted expression!

After her nap, we walked over to Vondelpark again, in search of their popular children's playground.

Xena and me at Vondelpark

Viv shows Xena the ducks in the lake.

Finally, we found the playground and Xena had lots of fun playing and making friends. 

But her favourite part had to be this! She loved jumping from stone to stone so much, she wanted to go again and again! 

We were exhausted but she wasn't!

Well, finally it was time to go home and I made another attempt at a selfie (though I'm told this should be called a 'we-fie').

We had dinner at an Indonesian place, and were soon ready to call it a day! Tiger seemed to have been waiting for us. He purred and purred and pressed against Viv's leg. Viv petted it for a while and it seemed to really enjoy it. Xena and I were a little scared so we didn't try it!

Xena snuggles up to her Poppy for a good night hug and kiss. 

Click here for Amsterdam-France day 5.



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