Amsterdam Weekend July 2007

by Syd & June Burns © 2007 
 

A busy Amsterdam street

A busy Amsterdam street

Syd and June Burns, of Penrith, England, booked an accessible room aboard a cruise ship to Holland to celebrate their sonís birthday weekend in Amsterdam. Come along as they bump the cobblestones of the city, sample street food and ferret out accessible bathrooms.

 

On Friday morning after all the horrendous wet weather we have had all summer, the day was fine. For once in his life, younger son Nick was on time, waiting the birthday boy Ian  who was 40 and his wife to drive us to Newcastle upon Tyne to board the ferry to Amsterdam. The company is DFDS We had bought Ian and Sheena a Commodore suite aboard the King of Scandinavia for his birthday gift. This really was like flying first class. June and I had an accessible cabin and Nick was somewhere in the bowels of the ferry, which suited him fine. We arrived early and visited a nearby local pub which really catered for the disabled. June said the toilet was more than adequate for wheelchair needs. Now that was a good start. Fish and chips with a pint at a reasonable price even made things better.

 

Getting on board was a very slick operation. We were met at the entrance by a steward and whisked away to our cabin.

Roll-in Shower

Roll-in Shower
King of Scandinavia cruise to Amsterdam.

 

It was a ferry not a luxurious cruise liner so we were not expecting anything spectacular. What we got was more than sufficient. Large cabin, roll-in-roll-out shower. two single beds, wardrobe and a chest of drawers. Sufficient for one night out and one back. On time the ferry departed, the bars, nightclubs, casino and restaurants all opened up. We stayed in the bar and decided to go posh and have an ala cart meal. It was a waste of space. Nick is veggie and there was no provision for him, The choice for us was mediocre, so we abandoned and went to the buffet instead. What a difference. We were well met, showed to a delightful table attentive service and the amount of food available was mind boggling. June managed nearly everything but if something was out of her reach a steward was there to help. After the meal the rest of the evening was spent in the bar. It was really expensive. A beer was about three times the price in a pub. Being a special occasion it mattered not. Amsterdam is a favourite for stag and hen nights and we were well entertained by a bevy of young "ladies" seeing one of their friends off into married life. Great fun.

 

Saturday started with announcements of when the ship was to get into port, immigration into Holland and that there would be busses to take us on a 40-minute ride into the centre of Amsterdam. This proved a problem as there were no lifts onto the busses which would have been a nasty problem for someone who lacked any mobility. Between us we managed to get June aboard without too many problems. A 40 minute taxi ride would have cost another holiday. June was not too phazed about it.
 
We were dropped off in the city centre, Dam Square, which is rutted and cobbled. It is a nightmare at times pushing a wheelchair. However we managed all things with a lot of good humour and fun. We stopped regularly at street cafes for refreshment of one sort or another. Seeing the main sights in five hours we then had the same fun and games getting June back on the bus.
 
June cruises a Chinatown Amsterdam street
June cruises a Chinatown street in Amsterdam.
 
Back to what is becoming a main theme with us, where are the public toilets and rest rooms? In short there are none in Amsterdam. We found two disabled toilets in main stores. C & A on the 2nd floor and de Bijenkorf on the 5th floor. There was a lady at a table in each place where you had to pay the right amount to gain entrance. At least they were superbly maintained loo's. A word of caution, we believe that these main stores are closed on a Monday We finished the night off after another good feed in the night club. June and I are not really built for that scene so we departed after a decent time, had a few Southern Comforts and bed.
 
Arriving back in Newcastle on time we had to go through an immigration routine that was far greater than anything I have ever known. Normally the glance at your passport smile and that's it. Now it was scanned and the whole process was more forbidding. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh,  the joys of modern living. An hour and a half later we were home, totally worn out, but it had been a terrific experience on this two night cruise. We would go again and just hope that the busses get more up to date and wheelchair friendly.
 

Check out Syd & June's many other adventures to:

 

London & the Dordogne Fall '07

 

Tennessee Trip '07

 

London in Spring '07

 

Weekend in London '07

New Zealand Part I

 

New Zealand Part II

 

Barcelona '06

 

Palma Mallorca

 

Tenerife

East Coast Of America (Boston to Richmond and return)

Chicago and Las Vegas

 

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