A Day in Amsterdam
Amsterdam Travel Blog› entry 4 of 7 › view all entries
We're in a train on the way from The Hague to Amsterdam. We stop at Leiden which is another place that I would like to see. The trip is pretty uneventful, relaxing even until we have an incident in our car, when a woman started to shout at some young people sitting not far from us... It had to do with being quiet. I just noticed that we're in a car with "silence" "stillte" printed on all of the windows. I guess this is a silence car. I didn't know that such a thing existed! Actually, just about everyone in the car, Sue and I included were talking a little, but I think the only ones this lady felt comfortable with screaming at were the young ones, who, I should add, were amazingly respectful and polite.
The day is warm and the Sun pops out from behind the clouds once in a while. It's a nice day for some exploring. Still, even with the ocassional sunshine, it's pretty gray. There are some Elders from the Mormon Church sitting close to us. I wonder how long they stay over here, exactly what they do, how people react to them...
When we arrived at the train station we headed out into the city and began to walk towards the center.
The Begijnhof. One of the first places that we stopped in to see is called the Begijnhof. I had been here with my friend Eduardo a couple years ago and was happy to see it again. This group of homes surrounding a peaceful, green courtyard was originally built in 1346 as a sanctuary for the Beguines who were pious, unmarried Catholic women who performed good works, like nuns, but did not want to live in a convent and therefore had not taken any vows. The original houses do not remain.
We wandered all over the city, along the canals, taking lots of pictures and stopping here and there to look in an interesting shop.
A coffee was a good idea after the museum, so we had one and made our way to the main square where a amusement park attractions had been installed.
The Red Light District. After watching people on fun rides and eating our waffle, we headed over to check out the red light district. Interesting. I'd seen it before, but it doesn't cease to surprise me to see hundreds of women there, in their little shop windows. It was a busy afternoon / evening for them. Some of the streets are narrower than the hall in your house and were packed with people walking through, slowly, to check out what's available! We followed a group of tourists.
The Sun was setting as we walked through the Red Light district. There is an interesting contrast between the quaint Dutch neighborhood as a background and the scantily clad prostitutes in the small garish red store windows as the focal point. The streets just go on and on and on. The later it got, the more people showed up. It was like market day in a village! We finally ducked into the metro to escape the crowd. Thousands of people jammed in to so little space! The Metro took us to the Central Station but we stayed on and headed away from the center towards a sleepier part of town.
At 23.38 we were at the train station. Our "planning" was impeccable. With 6 minutes to spare we were sitting on the last train of the day to The Hague - a snell train even! which means it was fast! We've had fun today. I'm happy.