A rainy weekend in Amsterdam
Early spring with flowering tulips and a boat trip on Amsterdam`s channels was what we dreamt of when we last weekend got on the plain some hours delayed to Schiphol, Amsterdam. Due to the delays we never got to have the romantic dinner we planned on Friday evening. We did not arrive to the hotel before midnight. We stayed at Hotel NH Museum Quarter. It’s a nice hotel and the room was big enough and clean and we got a good night sleep. The hotel`s location is perfect if museums are your main interest.
Early up next morning to heavy rain. Breakfast at 7.00. We always try to get a solid breakfast before we go exploring when we travel. Some times it can take hours before we get the opportunity to get some lunch and then its good to start with a full belly. In spite of the heavy rain we set off to The Central Station where the Tourist Office also is located. It’s not only raining, it’s also freezing cold and windy and after a short time we are sopping wet. A cheep umbrella turns out to be disposable. And try to walk with an umbrella and simultaneously wanting to take pictures of idyllic channels and nostalgic houseboats! It turned out to be very stressing.
At the Tourist Office we where recommended to buy The Amsterdam Card. It gives free access to all museums, public transport and even a boat trip on the channels. The card costs 42 Euro and is a well worth investment. We had only one thing planned in advance and that was a visit to the Tropen Museum. Tram nr. 9 went straight to the museum.
Tropen Museum is a magnificent ethnographical museum with a big collection from the Oust Indies. That is the former Dutch colonies in that part of the world. Two hours passed and we did not register time at all. A museum worth visiting if the art museums are not first priority. Tropen Museum has a big department for the young visitors. When we were there they celebrated a child`s birthday. May be a good idea for other museums?
Well over lunchtime we took the tram no 9 back and then tram 24 down to Museum Quarter where most of the big art museums are located. The plan was to visit the Van Gogh Museum. But then our problems started!
In a nice café just round the corner from our hotel we sat down and ordered lunch. As I do now and then I took my small bag and checked if everything were where it should be. But it was not! My purse was missing. Somewhere, most likely on a crowded tram 24, someone has elegant removed it from my bag with a solid zipper. My bag was placed on my front and I never discovered anyone close to my body.
It’s actually the first time anything like this happens to us. We have traveled all over the world and have never been robbed. Normally we take precautions and I never have any values in my bag. Most often I don’t use a bag at all. I have special made pockets inside my trousers and skirts for money. All cards are distributed between Per and me and kept different places, preferable in inside pockets.
This time we just did not think! I went with a bag and a purse with all cards in the same place, how stupid can you be! Fortunately I had put my money in the special pocket. But it was not much; just enough to get us lunch.
I have the number for my banks help service on my cellphone precisely with this kind of situation in mind. So the first thing I did while waiting for food was to phone my bank and block all my cards. I believe we discovered the theft very soon after it happened. The bank could confirm that there were no movements on my accounts. I was a bit reassured but at the same time so irritated at myself. I had done exact the opposite of what I always recommend others to do. It took a long time for me to get rid of that irritation.
We should be in Amsterdam for some days and without money we could not do very much. The hotel was prepaid, but still! So it was a relief to find that the system worked. My bank transferred money through Western Union and we could still have a nice weekend in Amsterdam. But things take time! The rest of the day went trying to sort things out. First task was to find the nearest Police Station. Such things has to be reported to the police in case it turns out that money is missing or if you are going to make an insurance case.
After lunch went back out in the rain and after some unclear directions to the Police Station we managed to find it. A nice policewoman heard our story and then she asked if we have been drinking. Yes we answered and looked a bit puzzled. What has that got to do with it! We had a glass of wine for lunch. You will have to come back tomorrow, she told us. She could not make a report because we were drunk!
Well, well – nothing to do about that. No use to start an argument with a policewoman. I was very upset because of the situation and still very irritated with myself and I probably looked a bit agitated. But we accepted and agreed to come back the next morning at 9.00. But in the meantime we had to find a Western Union Office. The policewoman was helpful enough to try to find an address. But first search on the net gave no result. We started to be a bit anxious. May be they did not have an office in Amsterdam? That was not very likely and after a closer search involving many policemen they came up with an address. We really got to use our card with free transport. Back and forth and no more museums that day.
With rescue money safely close to the body we came cold and wet back to the hotel. We went straight in the bathtub in order to get warm again but also with some relief because the system worked. And all the problems facing us later like getting new cards and getting a new driving license could not be solved that day anyway.