Day 20: Amsterdam by day and night

We had a brilliant night sleep and a little lie in to recharged our batteries ready for the day. First of we had our rescheduled boat cruise with the Blue Boat company, and hooray, it was totally accessible for wheelchairs! If you're a wheelchair user I'd really recommend that you take this canal cruise to explore the city- it took 90 minutes but we got to see everything that was quite far out of the centre of Amsterdam and learn about the city heritage. Maybe I'm getting older but I definitely saw Amsterdam in a different light (not red for once) and discovered how it was built for trade and can withstand the rise in water levels in time. I loved that each house was different and why it leant forward, each design of roof symbolises a different trade with some houses showing tableaus of their past. I was reassured of a different side of Amsterdam that wasn't so seedy, I'd recommend it to anyone! The boat has a platform lift which slowly lowers into the boat, and the ride was very smooth with big windows. We saw the Anne Frank house which is limited access for wheelchairs and the watchtower clock with four faces that all tell a different time so that the bells ring randomly, it was great.

We found the Vondel park when we left the boat and explored a little in huge sunshine, it's worth visiting if you get the chance and feels a little like a scaled down version of Central Park in New York City. There's also a huge iAmsterdam sign but it's always pretty busy for photo opportunities. We crossed back over the canal and decided to join in and clip of padlock on the bridge and throw the key in the river, we both made a big wish. The flower market was just around the corner, full of bright colours and seeds and bulbs. Of course we bought some tulip bulbs to take home, I couldn't resist. There was a book market here too where we found an old book in English about cooking with herbs to increase health, something I'm interested in and only know a little about so we were both happy with this find.

My wheelchair battery hasn't been holding charge well at all, and the motors feel like they are slowing up even though it's less than a year old. I think it's been the hard work over all the cobbles and the miles upon miles of exploring we have done over the past couple of weeks. So we headed back to the hotel for an hour to recharge my chair, and decide how to spend the afternoon. Of course, we headed for thee sex museum, what better to do in Amsterdam? It was only €4 per person but free for wheelchair users as only the ground floor is accessible. It's full of absolutely everything and more, the downstairs section has lots of dirty animatronics, it was hilarious but we were only there for half an hour. David and I walked down to Van Gogh museum which is very far out of the city, but it was beautiful in the sunshine. I got in for free and David paid €15, but it was a nice way to spend a few hours in the afternoon, we queue jumped and wandered around the museum, which was really modern inside and great to see the progression of his work and the classics. As it was so far away we successfully took the tram back up to the hotel, not knowing how easy it was. There's a fold up ramp which an attendant on the tram can lay down for wheelchair users, with a large space inside to park the chair. The tram was packed and not particularly fun as it does stop all of a sudden, so it's quite uncomfortable if I'm honest, but so quick we were back at the hotel in no time.

We went out for dinner at about 9:30pm for dinner in Dam Square and I think I had my favourite meal of the holiday. It was called 'Dutch Trio', the first stack was cheesy bacon mash potato with a big flat meatball made with rare minced beef, the second was a spinach and potato mash with a slice of Dutch sausage on top and on the final stack was a cheese and onion mash with a slice of thick bacon and backed breaded cheese on top, all served with think smokey beef gravy and some mustard, lovely! We took a quick walk through the Red Light District at midnight as it was dead when we visited the day before, tonight was a different story! It was so surreal, but a must for every visitor. It didn't feel threatening at all, but I'd advise a wander down the side streets as they are less crowded. And for those who need to know, most of the booths have a large step so take your time if you want a wheelchair accessible one, haha!

So so tired now, starting to look forward to being back in our little bungalow again for a good nights sleep. Onto Antwerp tomorrow for the diamond district and shopping central. Love Tori xx