AMSTERDAM – what a great place

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Patrick & Janine van der Plaat
My friends, Patrick & Janine, who live there

Although the seat of Netherlands government is in The Hague, Amsterdam is the nominal capital. It is also the country’s largest city, with a population of more than 750,000 and the most visited, with over 3.5 million foreign visitors a year.

The Netherlands is in Western Europe, bordering Belgium to the south and Germany to the east. To its north and west is the North Sea. Although the Netherlands is the country’s official name, people often call it Holland. The provinces of North Holland and South Holland form only part of the Netherlands.

Climate
The warmest weather is from June to August, with temperatures between 21 – 26 degrees Celsius. There are rarely extreme temperatures. The air is relatively humid and fog is common in autumn and spring. There are stronger winds from October to March. Click for the weather.

Currency
The currency in the Netherlands is the Euro (€, EUR). Cash, Credit Cards and ATMs are commonly used. All major international cards are recognised, and you will find that most hotels, restaurants and major stores accept them. Shops often levy a 5% surcharge (or more) on credit cards to offset the commissions charged by card providers. To withdraw money at a bank counter instead of from an ATM, go to a GWK branch. You’ll need to show your passport.
Automated teller machines can be found outside most banks and at airports and most train stations. Credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard/Eurocard are widely accepted, as well as cash cards that access the Cirrus network. Be aware that, if you’re limited to a maximum withdrawal per day, the ‘day’ will coincide with that in your home country. Also note that using an ATM can be the cheapest way to exchange your money from home – but check with your home bank for service charges before you leave.

Exchange Rate
£1 = 1.32
$1 = 0.91

Hours of Business
Shops:
Mon-Fri 8:30/9:00 am – 5:30/6:00 pm, Sat 8:30/9:00 – 4:00/5:00 pm. Most cities have late-night shopping on Thursdays or Fridays. In holiday and tourist resorts many shops are open at night and on Sundays.

Banks
Mon-Fri 9:00am – 4:00/5:00pm; sometimes also on late night shopping nights and on Saturdays.

Language
Dutch is the national language of the Netherlands. However, English is spoken by almost everyone. In addition, many Dutch people speak German and French.

Things to Do

Why not experience Amsterdam by taking a look at the top attractions:

Anne Frank House

Rijksmuseum

Van Gogh Museum

Hermitage Amsterdam

The Heineken Experience

Canals of Amsterdam

Artis Zoo

The Jordaan

Vondel Park

*Information from LPWA 2016 website – http://www.iotnetworksevent.com/welcome

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Amazon – Things to Do in Manaus

setsunI have traveled to Manaus on business many times. You may have read about some of that experience at OhmyNews International where many of my articles were first published. Many people I meet in Manaus complain about the hot weather — really hot actually — and that they are tired of the hotel, etc.

My first questions to them are:

1) When do you generally go back? (to Rio/to Sao Paulo/to U.S.)
2) What about your friends here? Have made friends in Manaus?

Most of the time these travelers go home on Friday and they do not make friends in Manaus. Well, this way it is hard, very hard! First of all, don’t go home Friday evening or afternoon. Give Manaus a chance; stay one weekend or go only on Sunday afternoon.

Second, my advice is for you to try to make friends of the locals. Manauaras are very friendly. Go for it and you will see. If this is not possible there are many other lonely traveling people just like you in your hotel. I met many such people at the Adrianopolis where I usually stay.

See, during the week you may get to know the other lonely boys and girls. They are at the restaurant in the morning for breakfast, in the swimming pool in the late afternoon. Ask them where they are from, how often they come to Manaus, what they do. People tend to respond well when you want to know about them and show real respectful interest. It does work. I have gotten to know all these people at the hotel.

planeGoing around by taxi is expensive in Manaus. In a group of three or four costs will come down — as they say, “it always cheaper by the dozen.”

The willingness is there? You are ready to go, right? You got new friends, or at least friends to share expenses and good a time? Right! Where do you go now?

Let me give some suggestions. If all you’ve got is one day my bet would be a floating restaurant at the Rio Negro (Black River) You know that as citizen journalist I should tell you my own experience instead of playing the tourist agent. Let’s see.

I was at the hotel as usual by myself for two weeks, Tuesday I met Nina and two days later we both met Marcia at the swimming pool of the hotel. Both were there for work and alone in Manaus. We talked and shared experiences. With the weekend arriving and the possibility of becoming boring couch potatoes on Saturday and Sunday frightened the three of us. My friend Michel Rondini was there also, so I introduced my new friends to him, the same way I had introduced Nina to Marcia.

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Water for your trip to Brazil

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Friday night was jazz night in Manaus. Yes, the theater, known worldwide as the Amazon Theater, is a historic place everyone visiting the city must go. On Friday nights that is just the hangout place. There are many nice places to eat and there is always an outdoor show for you to enjoy. This time Michel had other plans, so I went with the girls. Check the picture on the left and the two above; they’ll tell you more than words can.

Well, Friday was done. A nice idea is to go Saturday afternoon and visit the historic Manaus Theater — its a great move — forget the TV.

We decided to be more energetic and go to one of the floating restaurants. Michel came along this time. First we went downtown — an interesting place in itself — for a view of the harbor. Check it out in the following pictures and comments:

There are many floating restaurants around. We chose one and early on Saturday went off to try it. From the harbor you may get a small speedboat; it is a 20 to 30 minute trip by river. What you get there? Check it out:

While in the flouting restaurant we met two other people. One couple, Ms Eunice and her husband Mr Hercules, took us to a boat trip and a group led by Ms Viviane Yamashita, who invited us to dinner next Thursday. Yamashita offered her own house. Manauaras (people from Manaus) are very open and nice people. They like to make friends with outsiders like foreigners and people from other states like myself and Marcia. Both things were fantastic.

So as you can see there are lots to do in Manaus. Now its up to you. I want to read your trip story to anywhere in the world. Make it nice, OK?

Oh, by the way, if you want something more adventurous, click here.

Have fun and take care!

One last shot an amazing Sunset from the floating restaurant.

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Water for your trip to Brazil