Amsterdam in a Day

Amsterdam Travel Blog

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Hotel Estherea

Since we had limited time in Amsterdam, I decided to try to pack as much into today as I could.  We got an early start and enjoyed breakfast at our hotel (included in the price of the rooms).  In addition to regular breakfast fare, they had the most excellent cherry preserves made right there that were amazing on a croissant!  That with some coffee and I was pretty happy!

We walked down to the "Dam" where the Amstel River was first dammed up.  It was a nice cool morning -- 70's and not many people out yet.  We took a boat tour of the canals and it was a great way to get my bearings.  The city is built on concentric circles of canals.

View of the 7 Bridges
  Our tour was through the King's Canal, the Prince's Canal, and the Gentleman's Canal mostly (the Keizergracht, Prinzengracht and Herengracht canals, respectively).  We saw the great old canal houses with various gables and furnitures hooks used to get furniture up to the upper floors of the houses, and the view of the 7 Bridges (old arch bridges that are lined up sequentially and make a nice view).  We also saw the "Skinny Bridge," the Mayor's House, and the Royal Dutch Shell Headquarters Building.  We also got to see the various houseboats on the canals where people live much more cheaply than those on land.  Evidently many of these are squatters and it's becoming a problem in Amsterdam.  the canal tour lasted about an hour and a half, and as I said, was a great way to get our bearings.
Houseboat

Our next stop was the Anne Frank House.  It was so amazing to see the actual home and rooms where she hid from the Nazi's with her family in the back of the jam and jelly shop where her father worked.  It was a very moving experience.  The exhibit has various media to watch and read and experience.  It was particularly moving to me when we went through the false bookcase door into the secret annex.  I cannot imagine hiding in a place like that for 2 years.  Only the father survived.  Anne and her sister died at Bergen Belsen.  Her mother died at Auschwitz.  The father survived only because he was in a hospital at the time of the liberation of Amsterdam. 

We stopped for lunch at a pizza place and had a pizza margherita, very plain and simple -- but it hit the spot.

Royal Dutch Shell Headquarters
  I also had to try the Amsterdam delicacy in season at the time -- Niew Haring -- which is raw herring fish with chopped onion and pickles.  It was ok with a beer -- just ok, not great.  :)  We walked through the flower market which was huge and amazing!  I cannot believe how many flowers that Holland exports!

The Rijksmuseum was our next adventure.  It is the largest and most famous museum in Holland.  We did the headset tour and saw some beautiful artwork -- pieces like Rembrandt's Nightwatch, the Jewish Bride, a self portrait and the Five Businessmen.  I also enjoyed the Vermeer and Frans Hals pieces quite a bit.  I had never spent much time studying Dutch artists other than Rembrandt, so the tour was a nice way to learn a bit about lesser known but still important artists.

Getting ready to try Nieu Haring

For dinner, I made reservations at an Indonesian restaurant called Sama Sebo.   Much of Indonesia was colonized by the Dutch, and there is a long relationship between the two nations.  Dutch merchants who spent time in Indonesia introduced Indonesian food back to the mother country and the Dutch have evidently had a love affair with Indonesian food ever since.  We ordered the "Rijsttafel" which literally means the "Rice Table."  It is a way to sample many different Indonesian dishes at one time.  You get many little plates of food.  The Merchants of old used to like to do the Rijsttafel for their friends back in Holland to impress them with the quantity and difference of all the dishes.  Rob and I shared 23 different dishes that night -- and nearly at it all!  It was a great experience.

View from Hotel Room

After our meal, we walked to the infamous Red Light District of Amsterdam.  The streets were very crowded that night and especially in the Red Light area.  It is just like you hear -- glass doors and picture windows wiht red neon lights around them and ll kinds of different ladies of the night trying to tempt you to enter.  We saw all shapes, sizes and colors!  We also saw three fist fights in this area -- and all were liquored up Brits.  I heard that some airline had a special going from the UK where you could fly to Amsterdam on the cheap, so lots of guys were doing that and then getting hammered once they got to Amsterdam.  We did not see a lot of guys going into the "houses" in the Red Light District though, but a few did.

Looking for a party?
  The grils would smile in the window, rub themselves suggestively, blow kisses, shake their asses and knock on the windows to get your attention.  It was quite a scene!  We did see one group of Brits that were fairly young taking up a collection to send one of their buds in to meet the girls.  He was quite shy, and did not want to go at first, but finally relented.  He did not last long.  Must have been the excitement.  :)

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Hotel Estherea
Hotel Estherea
View of the 7 Bridges
View of the 7 Bridges
Houseboat
Houseboat
Royal Dutch Shell Headquarters
Royal Dutch Shell Headquarters
Getting ready to try Nieu Haring
Getting ready to try Nieu Haring
View from Hotel Room
View from Hotel Room
Looking for a party?
Looking for a party?
Near the Dam in Amsterdam
Near the Dam in Amsterdam
Main Square in Amsterdam
Main Square in Amsterdam
Obelisk
Obelisk
Had to have my picture with a lion…
Had to have my picture with a lio…
Houseboats along the Canal
Houseboats along the Canal
Block with my hotel
Block with my hotel
Hovercraft
Hovercraft
Cathedral
Cathedral
Church near Anne Frank Museum
Church near Anne Frank Museum
Streetcars and bikes
Streetcars and bikes
Cathedral
Cathedral
Tasty!
Tasty!
Statue of Rembrandt
Statue of Rembrandt
Red Light District in Amsterdam
Red Light District in Amsterdam
Amsterdam Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
Rijsttafel in Amsterdam
Sama Sebo is supposedly the oldest Indonesian Restaurant in Amsterdam, and certainly one of the best. It is renowned for the 'Rijsttafel' or Rice Tab… read entire review
173 km (107 miles) traveled
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photo by: pearcetoyou