After leaving the parking lot we decide to head out down the narrow streets in search of a hostel. I love Amsterdam‘s old leaning homes, built that way to deal with a few practical issues that existed at the time, namely narrow hallways and flooding.
With a forward leaning house, one could simply attach a hook and pulley system to lift furniture and supplies to the upper levels. When the high water came, as it used to regularly do, home owners could clear belongings from the main floor through the large open windows of the upper floors using the pulley system.
With the lean, it made it easier to keep items from hitting the house. Brilliant really, considering the limitations of the time. The hooks are still used currently for ‘moving house’.
Though it is very hard work, often hauling up is the only way to get your belongings to the second and third floor. The narrow, steep staircases just aren’t an option.
As usual, I did not plan accommodation ahead of time and had no idea World Cup Soccer was happening (duh!), so when we started down the list I had written of possible hostels to stay in, we realized very quickly that due to the influx of footie revellers, my fly-by-seat-of-pants planning was not going to suffice.
Booked solid, every one of them.
The last hostel we checked allowed the on-site consumption of Amsterdams favourite combustable. I thought I might die while standing in line.
The unusually sweltering heat and thick fog of smoke combined with zero ventilation and a lack of air-conditioning, was literally bringing me down. I was green and dangerously close to passing out by the time it was our turn at the desk, and the ‘concierge’ knew it.
“Don’t bother looking in another hostel, they are all going to be booked. If you want a hotel, you will be looking at the more expensive ones, as the reasonably priced are also full. It is the same every year at this time.”
He gave us directions to the nearest hotel that still had rooms, and after hearing the price, we decided it just was not in our budget – not in three days budget! And they told us the same thing – bad timing for my no planning style. Hopefully lesson learned, but not likely!
Additional photos in the slideshow.
- Amsterdam Architecture
- Leaning houses in Amsterdam
- Quirky Amsterdam facts
- Top 10 Alternative Backpacking Hostels (essentialtravel.co.uk)