Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Amsterdam in 7 hours

Cricket wears the shoes

Amsterdam is a city I wanted to visit for as long as I can remember I had a penpal from Holland (as it was called back then)  and I finally had the chance because it was just over a 2 hour day trip from Dusseldorf Germany on the ICE train.  I had an early train and I was on my way, I had a window seat this time, it seemed a quick journey and as the train approached I could feel myself beaming like a fool I finally made it. I had almost 90 minutes before I would meet the Sandeman walking tour for Amsterdam so I looked around the city staying in the area of the train station. The first thing I was aware of were all the people on bicycle and trying not to get hit especially as you do not hear them sneak up on you.  I  made a quick stop in St Nicholas Basialica  and finally headed back to meet the group who had an alternative meeting place outside the station.  I did not see him so I set off to find the other meeting place I really had to hurry. I got there and found them and a few minutes later the guide who had been at the station came another way so he must have arrived after I left. 

Amsterdam Central

Our guide Geerl was lots of fun he was very interesting he gave us the history with a touch of humor. He took the time at our break to come and chat with me, a really great guide.  I During the tour we learned that Amsterdam was liberated by the Canadians at the end of World War II and that they send tulips to Ottawa every year as a thank you.

only tulips I saw in Amsterdam

We walked through the infamous red light district, it seems that  a this was a place where a church was built right in the middle of the red light district. The location wasn't chosen to allow easy ministering to the sinners but so the priests would be closer to their mistresses, so that is why later it was used for Prostitutes. We were also advised not to take any photos as the girls would come out and break your camera,  I did see some in the windows a strange sight to be sure.  There was a golden "breast" left in the street one night it was removed but later brought back as people wanted it.  Not only is buying and smoking weed legal in the coffee shops in Amsterdam and the Netherlands, walking by several "coffee" shops the smell was quite strong and I actually saw someone outside smoking it

"Belle"  Red Light District, Statue in honor of prostitutes

look really close and check the window

The tour ended near the Anne Frank House but the line was so long we could not as a group walk by it after tipping the guide I headed to the front to see the house and then I started to make my way back to the train station and was lost I asked a couple looking at a map and they were from Glasgow so we had a bit of a chat. I finally was near the station and I looked for a boat to hopefully take a canal trip and be back in time to catch my train. I found one leaving at 5 pm that would be back by 6 I was hungry by this time as had not eaten since 8 am but it was more important to me to take the canal trip as always when I travel seeing places is the most important thing  meals take second place. The Canal ride was quite interesting and our "driver" was quite entertaining. We saw interesting sites like a 3 level bicycle garage that holds 8,000 bikes, I can not even imagine looking for your bike there. We also spotted some bicycles that were half hanging into the canal.  After the boat trip I had 35 minutes to find something to eat so I got a nice looking sandwich on a roll and headed for the train. I really loved Amsterdam from what I saw and hope to go back again..    

Netherlands was the first country in the world to recognizance same sex marriages

advertising the Beatles took this tour

Cricket enjoying the cruise

Biker like an icon