Sam and I travelled to Europe this November and Amsterdam was our first stop. I had never been, but since Sam lived in Tilburg for 18 months he had been once or twice!!
While we stayed in Amsterdam we choose to rent a room on one of the main canals. We were about a 10 min walk from the train station and close to many attractions! We walked all day, using google maps to help us maneuver the canal bridges and the circular pattern of Old Amsterdam. Our room had a nice large bed, Netflix (which we barely used) a roomy ensuite with a good sized shower. The room was a little chilly in the mornings but the duvet was so warm and cozy! I would recommend this experience!
“Gingerbread houses” is what I thought of when I looked at the facade of many homes. They were several stories high and often also has cute shutters on the windows! I was surprised to see that it appeared that buildings were built right in canals, surrounded by water! I was also surprised to see that brick work on the walking paths or streets was constantly happening! The amount of bikes is truly awesome and I was very impressed with the transit system for bikes. Also you need to remember that pedestrians don’t have the right away and one needs to watch for cars and bikes at all times!
While in Amsterdam we visited the Rijksmuseum. It was pretty great seeing some of the Dutch Masters work. I was taken back how large the Waterloo painting is in size! I also found a painting that resembles a current famous actor (well, at least I think it does!). I will always tell people to visit the art museums as I feel it is something that we don’t have in Canada and is a craft that isn’t practiced in our day and time.
While walking around, we came across an Ice skating rink. Many of the people skating were rentals and appeared to be on the less experienced side of skating! It was fun to see people of all ages enjoying the ice! The boards were also very well built and inside the rink were benches so people could take breaks!
There was also a small market by the ice rink – I wasn’t able to find mulled wine but there were coffees and hotdogs available for purchase! Along with many souvenirs!
I was so happy to see so many Christmas lights strung across the streets and on many of the buildings. It makes the cooler weather feel warmer! We are here in the last week of November and it is about 10 degrees Celsius, misty wet and very cloudy. Glad I have my jacket, hat and scarf with me! I also packed my rain boots!
We of course walked around the famous red light district! I was surprised to see the storefronts of the ladies who work, and the amount of them! There were strip joints and live shows for entertainment however to us seemed very expensive and we passed! There was a casino and many “variety stores” for your shopping pleasure! Several “museums” on the history of prostitution and sex itself! Definitely worth going to this district just to see how the culture is and how normalized sex is there.
We did enjoy a couple of taverns, one called Excalibur and the other called the Old Sailor. The Old Sailor is a bar that Sam and the guys went to a lot when they spent time in Amsterdam. The decor is very much as one would think, ships, sailors and boating paraphernalia!
The other thing I loved about Amsterdam was their bike system. Designated roadways for bike transport only. So many people use bikes over cars. Everywhere there were bikes parked. And some decorated all fun like! Many variations of baskets on the fronts and seats for kids on the back! Sam and I joked that off all the cities that we choose not to do a bike tour it’s Amsterdam!!
I had a great time in this old and unique city and hope that one day you will find yourself standing outside of the beautiful and historic train station eager to explore the city!