A city that is known for Legal marijuana, Bicycles, Canals, Red District and Boats. Well, at least these are what we can think of the right way about Amsterdam. But it has more things to offer. It is a neat, clean, very safe, beautiful and healthy city.
Yes, we did have seen almost all the shops selling marijuana-based products, sex dolls or the air smells like weeds. But don’t get fooled by those.
There are more bicycles in EVERY CORNER. That means people are literally physically active. There are signs everywhere that say that drinking alcohol, littering, peeing in public are big offences and there are big fines.
There are many big and small parks all over Amsterdam. People are extremely nice. Women and men. They are tall and they all look like some sort of models.
Other than bicycles, trams seem to be one of the main forms of public transport. Interestingly, inside of each tram, there are counters where you can buy your tickets. That’s something new to us.
The buildings are generally colourful and nice looking.
After a fairly good night sleep thanks to our bed (Finally)Link for our hotel in Amsterdam , we had a quick coffee and then headed out to explore the beautiful Amsterdam.
We needed to go to the central station to book our next trip to Hamburg so we have headed that way. By the time we reached at WIBAUTSTRAAT ( Straat is Street in Dutch), we were hungry and it was midday. So, we had some Amsterdam special for our lunch: Kebabs, alcohol-free Heineken and sugar-free sprite. It was perfect for our long day of walk.
We then passed by HERMITAGE AMSTERDAM and the Portrait Gallery of the Golden age. And reached the bank of Amstel : The River of Amsterdam. We crossed the bridge near City Hall.
The bridges here actually moves when there are boats or ships pass by. Cool. And walking alongside the canals were quite an experience. Next big transportation after bicycles: boats. Obviously. The city has a massive water network due to the number of canals it possesses. It’s like cars in London and Paris. Big, small, old, new and drowned abandoned boats.
Also, realizing that bicycles are serious business here. Riders have the ultimate priority. And of course, the well-established bike lanes are pretty impressive. You got to respect that effort take by the city.
We discovered the Rembrand place where statues are representing the artist in a middle of a scene like a battle.
As we walked through the famous Flower Market near KALVERSTRAAT and MUNTPLEIN, it reminded us of another speciality of Amsterdam or the Netherlands in general. Flowers. Especially, Tulips. We loved the flower market. It’s filled with colourful flowers of course. And the buildings are old, historical and beautiful in that area. Also, cheese shops. Particularly the Dutch speciality. It’s light orange, yellowish round-shaped cheese. We didn’t taste it. But looks pretty interesting though.
Eventually, we had arrived in a big round square on ROKIN. It was big due to the existence of a few important buildings and a big round white sculpture from where the people and tourists of Amsterdam were being observed by many pigeons.
Their important buildings were the Royal Palace, Madame Tussauds Museum, De Nieuwe Kerk (Kerk is Church in Dutch), Beurs Van Berlage ( VAN is ‘Of’ in Dutch) and then eventually we reached at the Central Station to reserve our seat for HAMBURG, on PRINS HENDRUKKADE.
We paid about 23 euros for the reservation. 8 euro per person for seats and 7 euros for service charge.
Not cheap. But less stressful by doing so.
As the automatic door opened on our way out of the station, the wind hit our face with a reminder. Marijuana is legal in Amsterdam.
After that we walked passed canals SINGEL, HERENGRACH and KEIZERSGRACHE on BROUWERGRACHT canals and took left on PRINSENGRACHT canal (Gracht means Canal in Dutch) via NOORDERKERK and reached the house of ANNE FRANK which is next to WESTERKERK.
First of all. It is not a museum. It is THE warehouse where ANNE FRANK was hiding.
Tickets on site is not an option. We had to buy tickets online.
The experience was very emotional. A well preserved, well presented and sad reminder of the Holocaust.
After 1 hour there, we took a quick beer break to absorb that heavy experience.
Then we went for another long walk via royal palace and Oude Kerk and reached at the famous RED DISTRICT on OUDEZIJU VOORBURGWAL. This is where many brothels exist, naked and seminaked females are on the display window. You can imagine the rest. One end of the red district there was an Erotic Museum and another end there Hash and Marijuana Museum.
It was a weird experience but not that exciting. Kinda, meh…
We then stopped by a supermarket near De Waag to buy a fair amount of sugary drinks and foods, plus ingredients for a sandwich for dinner and breakfast for the following day.
And then we dragged our tired body straight back to the hotel via Zuiderkerk, Rembrandt House Museum and a Portuguese Synagogue on PLANTAGE MIDDENLAAN.
Boy oh boy, what a long day it was……
After another rare good night sleep and a sugar-based breakfast, we have started our day with ARTIS, The Royal zoo of Amsterdam which happened to be on the same street where our hotel was. We didn’t really go inside though. Sorry of walked passed. Zoos are not our favourite things because its sad to see the wild animals in the cages. And we are in Amsterdam to explore see and learn about the city. Surely Royal Bengal Tigers are not very Dutch. Then we saw a huge old wind turbine on OOSRENBURGERGRACHT. Finally another Dutch speciality.
Then we took a long walk MAURITSKADE, crossing Amstel canal to STADHOUDERSKADE. Then we passed by the HEINEKEN Experience. Which is essentially the old and the new brewery and office of the Heineken beer. After that, we stopped at an Asian themed restaurant for some lunch near Casino on the other side of RIJKSMUSEUM.
After a nice big lunch, we went inside the VONDEL PARK. Massive and beautiful parks with many beautiful birds, trees, little lakes and people are having a good time. Highly recommended.
It was so relaxing that we spent an hour there and covered more than half of the park.
There was a Christmas Market near the Van Gogh Museum, Diamond Museum, Moco museum. We stopped by in that market for a refreshing Dutch Gin and tonic.
Then a tiny bit of shopping for dinner and the next day’s Lunch while we will be on the train to Hamburg, crossed the Amstel canal via Amstelkerk and Skinny Bridge back to our hotel.
We learned that Amsterdam is a beautiful city full of Churches, Museums, Canals, Boats, bicycles, Parks, Marijuana, sex shops, the air smells like weeds sometimes, people are really nice, they are good looking, healthy and active. And we had a really good time here. The canals and boats almost reminded us of Venice.
Next stop: The city of Hamburgers: Hamburg, Germany.