Amsterdam

Amsterdam Travel Blog

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National Monument

I only had a day and a half in Amsterdam and so I had to make the best of it.  So, I thought I do something that I never do and that is to take a TOUR.  I hate taking tours as I don't like to explore something according to someone else's pace, but here I though "what the heck".  I took the famous FREE walking tour provided by Sandemans's New Europe company (www.newamsterdamtours.com) and it was probably the best thing that I could have done.  It was a 3.5 hour walking tour through the streets of Amsterdam all the while teaching you the entire history of the city and the famous sites.  Our tour guide (Basilio) was really cool, funny and extremely knowledgable in all things Amsterdam.

Old Church
  After the tour I definitely knew more about the city that I could ever learn on my own and had a greater appreciation for Amsterdam and the dutch people.  The more I learned about the people of Amsterdam the more I fell in love with the city and its citizen's approach towards life. 

Most foreigners, when they think of Amsterdam, only think of legalized marijuana and prostitution.  While those two things are great if you are into that kind of thing, it does not define the city and the people of Amsterdam but does give you an idea at the attitudes and the culture of the city.  The people of Amsterdam are very nice, quiet, hard-working and have a very relaxed opinion on what others should and shouldn't do.  Still it's funny how we had our tour at noon on a random weekday and we walked by a window of a prostitute who was already working at that hour and it was as if we walked by any regular store.

Is this Porn? Art? or Both? Located right in front of the Old Church. Put in by an anonymous person.
  Right around the corner from this prostitute's window was the Old Church of Amsterdam.  This was very ironic, but was very intentional.  The theory is that hundreds of years ago, when many sailors and merchants would dock at Amsterdam after months at sea, having had many months without female companionship they would all make their way to the Red Light district.  Afterwards, being the highly religious men that they were and therefore stricken with great guilt over what they've just done, they needed a place to go to confess their sins.  So right around the corner, the city built a church and the priests would charge a little wage to free these men of their guilt.  What a great moneymaker.
The statue of a Eduard Douwes Dekker who wrote about the abuses of the colonial system. He wrote under the pseudonym Multatuli meaning "I have suffered much" in Latin... Too bad that in Finnish, his name means "I have EJACULATED"... Too funny.
.. everyone makes money (the people from taxes and new revenue, the hookers and the church).  Genius.  

The great thing about the city is that just a few blocks out of the Red Light district (which is only a few blocks anyway), you see what "real" Amsterdam life is like.  It is very peaceful and quiet.  The only noice you might hear is the sound of a bicycle horn telling you to get out of its way.  The tour guide took us to what he called "probably the best place to sit and people watch" at Spui Square.  Here you can just sit there for hours sipping your coffee and watching all the people pass you by... a simple yet very fulfilling experience. 

Unfortunately, I only had 1.

Spui Square
5 day in Amsterdam, but the more I learned about the city and the more I walked around it the more I wanted to live there.  Maybe it was the stark deviation from the high-paced New York City approach to life and work, but I was quite mesmerized with Amsterdam and it's people.  All I saw was people enjoying life in a very relaxed manner and I wanted to join in.  But it wasn't meant to be as I boarded a plane and headed back to NY... back to my busy life.         

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National Monument
National Monument
Old Church
Old Church
Is this Porn? Art? or Both? Locate…
Is this Porn? Art? or Both? Locat…
The statue of a Eduard Douwes Dekk…
The statue of a Eduard Douwes Dek…
Spui Square
Spui Square
National Monument at Dam Square
National Monument at Dam Square
Amstel River
Amstel River
the Waag.  The used to weigh all o…
the Waag. The used to weigh all …
The enterance to what used to be t…
The enterance to what used to be …
The citys way to stop tourists fr…
The city's way to stop tourists f…
We support the ORANGE!
"We support the ORANGE!"
The site of The miracle of Amster…
The site of "The miracle of Amste…
The smallest house in Amsterdam. D…
The smallest house in Amsterdam. …
Begijnhof
Begijnhof
This used to be a secret catholic …
This used to be a secret catholic…
Beach volleyball tournament in the…
Beach volleyball tournament in th…
Amsterdam
photo by: pearcetoyou