Madrid – Amsterdam in bonus !


So you read in last parts about my sojourn in Madrid and about wonderful places there.  Now the time at Madrid was going to end and I had to return.

When I returned to the  hotel, it was time to go. My host was waiting to drop me at the airport. I bade farewell to hotel staff, picked by handbag and started towards airport.


Bye bye Ritz Hotel


Madrid was not looking like strange now and I was feeling that I know this beautiful place now and it will call me back again.

Madrid Airport lounge

Well I reached airport and boarded the KLM flight which would take me to Amsterdam, on way to Iceland. The flight started at around 2015 and by 11 pm I was on Schiphol airport. This was my fourth visit to Amsterdam. Long ago, when I lived in Paris, I had come to Amsterdam in my own car and seen the Keukenhof, Von Gogh museum and The Hague. This time I had some hours. I reached my hotel, which was near Railway Station and slept. It continued raining heavily all the night, giving me discomfort.

Morning when I woke up and finished my breakfast, it was already 0900. I had to leave hotel at noon and reach the airport, so I had only 3 hours to see the city. I reached the Centrum, a big place with lot of touristic attractions, river cruises, shops and buildings.

Amsterdam centrum

There were so many cruises in the Centrum it was difficult to decide which one to take. More over I had only3 hrs to spend. I purchased a ticket for a one hour cruise and waited for boat to arrive.

Cruise boats


The boat came a little late and soon after we boarded, it got some technical snag and it was announced that it would take some time to repair it. I had limited time so could not afford to wait that long for a cruise which I had taken 3 times earlier, so I pleaded with the pakistani man to refund my ticket, which he reluctantly agreed. Coming out I saw Tram station and purchased a ticket for 2 Euros and boarded the tram

Tram in Amsterdam

the tram took about 30 minutes to reach its destination at the outskirts of the Amsterdam and then came back to Centrum… spending my one hour looking at the city from a tram was a new experience.  Tram, in my opinion is best way to explore Amsterdam.  One can purchase one hour ticket, or a day ticket and explore Amsterdam by changing trams.  The only precaution one has to take is to swipe the ticket everytime while boarding and alighting from the train, otherwise it will go invalid.

There is another day pass which can be used on tram, bus, metro also.   Another good way is to hire  a bicycle and explore Amsterdam freely.   I also saw some cycle rikshaws, perhaps first time in a European city.

Dam square

The tram brought me back to Centrum and I still had about 1 hour to wander so I walked towards the Dam area, which is a famous touristic spot, with lot of fun, museums, shops etc.  There was Madame Tussaud wax museum also, but before the wax museum of London, it is quite small,…but still there was long que before it.


Madam Toussad in Amsterdam

Then I passed through the lanes, which were full of different shops.  I saw a board of Falafel and my hunger woke up.  I decided to taste falafel after long time.  Falafel in Beirut was my main dish when I lived alone and was not in a mood to cook.  Falafel is pure vegetarian and is made with roti wrapping some paste of grams, cottage cheese, salad leaves and green chillies soaked in vinegar.  One Falafel is sufficient for one person.


I entered the shop and saw one dark niece of Cleopetra silently deep frying the Pakoras, which are stuffed in Falafel.  I asked her to make one for me by stuffing with some onions and other things.   She quite rudely told me that she will give the falafel and I have to fill the garnish myself.  In Lebanon, the Falfel is wrapped in a thin roti, like mexican tortillas.  But she took a round bread like “बंद-  we call in India” cut it from half and put the pakoras inside and handed it over to me for filling it with other things.   I put the garnishes inside and tried it.  The taste was no where like Lebanese falafel, but it was sufficient for a poor veggie animal like me.  Seeing my face, she asked If I did not like it.  I told her that it was ok, but not like the one I ate in Beirut.

listening Beirut, the dark Cleopetra lost all her artificial seriousness from her face… and natural smile came up.  Soon we started talking about Beirut and came to know that She was from   Tanzania, and had lived in Beirut during the time I was there, just 1 Km from my residence…. She became very friendly then and offered me to taste many of her cuisines.  Surprisingly, she was a vegetarian and all her preparations were pure veggie, a big relief for me.

I roamed in the streets aimlessly.   I wished to purchase a good camera for my photos for Ghumakkar but I did not find a good one, the rates were also as high as in Iceland, so there was no fun in purchasing a camera from here and take to Iceland.

Shopping street in Amsterdam

Amsterdam has perfect network of canals and almost every road has a canal.  People often visit each other’s house on boats and some people even live in small house boats and keep roaming here and there.

A house boat in canal


Dam square

Now this was time to say bye to Amsterdam, I hurried back to hotel, checked out and boarded the taxi for the airport.   Schiphol airport is quite big and busy, but the terminal from where i had to board Iceland air flight was small and empty.

Schiphol Airport Amsterdam


I took my boarding pass and waited in the lounge for the embarkation.  Plane was at right time, I boarded the plane and plane rushed to touch the sky.  Amsterdam was looking beautiful from up the sky.

The tulips season was going to an end, but I could still see the vast gardens of Tulips which were looking magical from the plane…. somewhere here the shooting of Silsila and Prem Rog was done, songs among the Tulips.  Have a look on magnificient view from the plane.

Tulip Gardens seen from the sky

Amsterdam city and tulips


The plane was advancing towards Iceland and I was summing up my trip…. Indeed it was a great tour and a lucky chance to see a beautiful country.   Amsterdam in bonus was an additional benefit.


My route on plane's monitor


After 3 hours, I reached Keflavik International airport of Reykjavik and was more than happy to see my small, empty airport… I was going home soon..

My tiny Keflavik airport Iceland


Here comes the end of my Madrid yatra… hope you liked it.  waiting for your valuable comments !!


¡Viva el entusiasmo de viajar

Viva  ghumakkari larga vida !!!


  • Wow. Beautiful Amsterdam .
    My memories of 1999 and 200o refreshed . One of the most beautiful city in the world.
    The pics are marvelous so is the description.
    Dam Square is one of the most happening places in Amsterdam , whoever goes has to see it.
    Schiphol is also the best airport I have seen . One can reach any part of this giant airport in maximum 2 minutes.
    The view from top was also wonderful.
    Thanks for sharing. Keep travelling and posting.

    • Spell Checker says:

      Leaving all the flab out, your comment now looks neat, Vishal.

    • SilentSoul says:

      Thanks Vishal ji. Lucky you are that you have seen Amsterdam. Among all Europe, that I visited, I gave # 1 to Holland for being a mix of natural beauty, good people and tourist friendly.

      Did you visit keukenhof when you were in Holland. I visited Holland 3 times continuously but two times, could find this great garden closed.. only third time I saw it and was awestruck… I could not believe Flowers can be so beautiful.

      Thanks again

  • Surinder Sharma says:

    Dear S.S.
    very good writing, Ritz Hotel, Madrid Airport lounge, Amsterdam centrum, Cruise boats, Tram in Amsterdam, Dam square, Madam Toussad, A house boat in canal photos are so beautiful., but you saying you have to buy new camera…… Most appreciate photos are Tulip Gardens seen from the sky, nature is always wonderful, especially in spring .

    Most of the times you see Indian ignoring other Indians in Europe, still dont know the reason. But I think it is everywhere. My opinion is every time our presence is important somewhere. Just we have to figure out . As you describe niece of Cleopatra she was so friendly. Here at my place after little talk it is hard to stop the other fellow. Because everyone busy here and when someone get chance then he like to tell all his story. Few years ago one Gentleman come here and we worked to gather. So many time I gave him ride as he had no car. Then he start some other job . One day I met him in mall face to face and he not say Hello , I was so surprised . Now few days ago I got phone call from him , it looks he find my phone number in his diary and talking to me, it is ok. Then I come to know he is working in Bank as mortgage (Home Loan) Manager. He can get handsome commission if he renew my Home loan. For me I just try to figure out, is my presence needed there ? if yes then ok otherwise other place . But hard with those guys who looks so strict and rude , In party or other get to gathers, when they drink few shots then hard to stop them, so frindly and nice talking up to early morning .
    Thanks and regards,

    • SilentSoul says:

      Sharma ji, you gave a very important reason. Our countrymen are always in search of money that too easy money and do not leave chance to ditch their own brothers. I gave example in my last post (Madrid city tour), as to how people misused my kindness in Paris.

      But as DL said, smiling back does not cost anything.

      Thankyou very much for reading and giving encouraging comments

  • ashok sharma says:

    nice post.Amsterdam is real are good too.

  • D.L.Narayan says:

    It is awesome, SS jee, in the way you managed to squeeze out so much in 3 hours in Amsterdam. We have seen plenty of shots of tulip fields but your shot from the plane was really unique. It looked like giant flags were spread on the ground. Are they the famous Keukenhof tulip gardens?

    No post of yours is without a khatti-meethi experience and your experience with the Tanzian felafel seller was initially khatti but it turned meethi when a common link (Beirut) was established. Amazing how people become friendly when a connection is established. Maybe it is a fear of the unknown which makes them behave in a rude and hostile manner.

    For buying your next camera, may I suggest a transit through Dubai Airport on your next visit home (I mean New Delhi, not Reykjavik, lol). The Duty Free at the airport offers a wide range at the cheapest rates this side of Hong Kong/Singapore.

    Thoroughly enjoyed your Madrid/Amsterdam series. Eagerly waiting for your next.

    • SilentSoul says:

      thanks DL for valuable comments. No this is not photo of keukenhof… but Holland is full of tulip fields and keukenhof is just a small garden… well manged, and beautifully and artistically grown tulips.

      Khatti meethi is part of everyone’s travels but perhaps I am more sensitive and note some minute energies/things which many may not notice or ignore or not remember later.

      Purchasing new Camera has become a crusade for me… but I think till I buy new one my present Nikon with few shots of beers will work well as it did in Madrid..LOL . I wanted a new one basically for Ghumakkar…but I dont think i will be posting any new travel story now as my stock has finished.

      • D.L.Narayan says:

        “i will be posting any new travel story now”
        ??? ???? ?? ??????? ?????? ?? ???, ???? ???? ?? ????? ?? ???…..
        but please keep writing and do not keep us waiting for too long.

  • Mukesh Bhalse says:

    SS Ji,
    Another enchanting post from your magic box. Thoroughly gone through and enjoyed the post in totality. Please let me know at how many places are the Madam Tussads Museums located apart from London? Tulip gardens from sky were amazing.

    Incidence of dark cousin of cleopetra was really interesting. Waiting for your next post and very eagerly waiting for next part of Khatti Meethi in Hindi.


    • SilentSoul says:

      tks Mukeshji. There are total 15 Tussauds museums viz. London, Amsterdam, Bangkok, Berlin, Blackpool ,Hollywood ,Hong Kong ,Jakarta ,Las Vegas ,New York, Shanghai, Sydney, Victoria (Canada), Vienna ,Washington, D.C. There was a small one in Paris too but I dont know if it still exists

      Next Post ? god knows only for the time being there will be long silence from me.

      thanks for being with me

  • Nandan says:

    Bonus for us as well, SS.

    Was in Kolkata last month and my better half refused to be in the tram (as a mode of seeing city :-) ) but you are so right when you say that one gets a different perspective while watching a city through a low speed semi-open vehicle. Almost close to being in a jeep during a jungle safari.

    The pics from the top are indeed very very unique.

    You can also buy cameras here, pretty competitive rates.

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