Amsterdam: Hope of Another Life?

By | September 2, 2019

After two very full and long flights via Abu Dhabi comes touchdown finally at Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam.  Despite a fairly quick processing through immigration, bags seemed to take forever to come through and for a while I was very worried that my guitar had found another owner somewhere between Sydney and here.  Eventually it too appeared and it was time to catch the train into Amsterdam Centraal station.

Like most European cities with high population densities the train system seems to work very well here and it’s not long at all before I’m dragging bags through the streets for a couple of hundred metres to the France Hotel where I’m booked in for the night.

Amsterdam certainly lives up to its reputation as a bicycle rich environment with bikes everywhere, especially outside the Centraal railway station, showing that people are used to the concept of integrating transport modes.  In the immediate vicinity of Centraal station, people on bikes pedal by while canal boats carry tourists around the canal and light rail and buses complete a picture which has far fewer cars in it.

It’s time for a welcome shower and change of clothes, washing off the accumulated grime of long haul travel.

This hotel is not fancy but it’s clean and in a great location.

I have a room overlooking the Irish Pub next door and the sound of large numbers of sports fans pre-loading before the Gaelic Football screen later in the afternoon makes me wonder about the chance of getting a good nights sleep later on.

A quick wander around the immediate area shows that this is going to be a fascinating city to explore by bike and I know that it’s going to be great when we can spend plenty of time getting a real feel for it.

It’s not too long before I find one of several craft beer bars which is warm and cosy with an interesting tap list.


The tap list at Het Elfde Gebod contains some Belgian classics but also some more local beers.  I try a very nice IPA to begin with from Gollem brewers.  Then, it’s time to enjoy the Blonde beer from the same brewers.  This is a blonde that has a nice subtlety to it and proves a nice drop for some musing and thinking about the weeks ahead.

Just across the street is a very old chapel which has a doorway adorned with a Latin motto and a bizarre scene of skeletons and wheat sheaves. The motto says:  ‘Spes Altera Vitae’ – Hope for another life.  Well, I can’t necessarily agree with the possibility of a promised afterlife but this motto makes me think that it seems like a good idea to do the best we can with the life we’ve got. So, time to raise another Gollem Blonde as a toast to the weeks ahead and then head off for some dinner and a long sleep.

Amsterdam, with clouds framing the charming buildings across the canals will be there in the morning: ready and waiting.

Tomorrow will bring some more exploring before transferring to Hoorn to begin the process of settling in for the next month and a half.  Can’t wait!

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2 thoughts on “Amsterdam: Hope of Another Life?

  1. Glenn

    I’m Irish… You had me @ “I have a room overlooking the Irish Pub next door”
    I’ll fly with ‘Virtual Travel’ and be there in a flash!
    Do you think Ireland have a ‘world domination’ plan?

  2. admin Post author

    ‘Tis funny dat you should say so.. was remarking to the guy on reception about UIIPS – Ubiquitous International Irish Pub Syndrome – a brand indeed. Thanks for commenting 🙂


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