With a blog post title like that I wouldn’t blame you for calling out “Arrrr!” with visions of pirates, bottles of rum, and the Flying Dutchman in your head. You’d be right on the money with that last item, and probably not far off with the second since we went to Amsterdam last month but the treasure we went in search of was to bring back here and bury: tulips and other spring bulbs.
You may know of our affinity for trips by train so you won’t be surprised that half the fun of this trip was traveling between Carcassonne and Amsterdam. Part of the research before moving here where we can walk to the station was to see what destinations in Europe we could reach within a reasonable time and at a fair price. For about 200 euro/dollars each round trip we can get anywhere we are likely to want to go and with our Senior cards at 60 euros each annually, the discounted rates are even cheaper.
With the main goal of finding spring bulbs, our first morning in town was spent at the floating flower market. We even went back a second time because there were so many choices we wanted to see what we had overlooked. Our new courtyard only has a couple of large planter boxes but our neighbors all have gardens so it was fun to pick out bulbs we thought that they would enjoy.
With two weeks on a canal boat the last time we were there, we had ample opportunity to visit some beautiful museums and even make some side trips to “cheesy” places like Gouda and Edam. This time we consulted the city’s tourist office’s website for recommendations of some free things to do. A following post will be all about “narrow” so today’s will take a wider perspective. Since Carcassonne is home to two UNESCO World Heritage sites, it was only fitting that we should first visit the Canal Ring in Amsterdam that has the same status. With more canals than Venice, it’s not surprising that you can stand on one particular bridge and see 15 others as you turn around.
Street markets abound with the Albert Cuypmarkt being the largest but we found the floating flower market even more interesting. We spent a morning strolling through Vondelpark (about the size of New York’s Central Park) and near there spotted the Houses of Seven Countries that an architect built at the end of the 19th century to remind him of other European architecture. That inspired us to then just wander the lanes and bricked streets of the oldest parts of the city admiring the ornamental facades before taking the free ferry that runs every 6 minutes to the north side of the city.
A funny aside: while doing a bit of research for this post, I discovered that “Talk Like A Pirate Day” is September 19 so this buried treasure trip to Amsterdam last month was perfectly timed.