Discovering Amsterdam

Amsterdam Travel Blog

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Settling buildings

Amsterdam was much smaller than I had remembered. On half a dozen one- or two-day transits through the city over the years, I had never really left the central tourist areas so it was a real thrill walking the transition from Helmut's place in the 'suburbs'. Saturdays bustle in Amsterdam and we saw several busy street markets.  We wandered past the Rijksmuseum, along part of the green and spacious Vondelpark, and toward the central area. Buildings became apparently older as we approached the central area. Many of the structures leaned or sagged by the soft, sandy soil beneath them. The problem had been enhanced by the ongoing expansion of the subway system. We stopped at a couple of places for sidewalk beers.

Amsterdam commuter
The most interesting was the Karpershoek, the oldest pub in the city, built in 1606. Located just across the street from Centraal Station, it offered a nice spot to sit outside and watch the world shuffle by - both foreigners and locals.

 

Amsterdam must be the bicycle capital of the world. They cruised the streets and sidewalks by the thousands. I had to be cautioned twice of the special lanes on many of the sidewalks specifically for them before my respect for the silent commuters finally kicked in. Back in Michigan, the few bicyclists (including myself) tended to use sidewalks, streets, and alleyways at reckless random will, darting any and all directions. But here in Amsterdam they glided in an orderly flow like any other mode of modern transportation.

Low bridge
It seemed odd at first to see adults pedaling to and from work in suits and ties, or dresses. The pedal-powered machines were so practical and efficient. One teen stood tall balancing on the back of a bike as her father pedaled. She sailed with arms outstretched to the sides absorbing the breeze and the mid-day sun. Life in Amsterdam seemed like that; so practical, fresh, and lively.

 

Helmut phoned a friend who was taking his boat out for a cruise. After a short ride on the tram, we met at a storage yard for small boats. The steel 24-foot sailboat was modified for the canals. Its mast had been removed and its stern re-configured to support a 50-horsepower Yamaha outboard motor. With music blaring from a mid-deck speaker and beer flowing, we idled under countless bridges along the seemingly endless maze of canals. We picked up two more passengers - an American and a Brit also living in the city - and motored across the wide Ij Channel, passing high-dollar condominiums, shipyards, and a huge cruise ship terminal. Across the channel from the Science Center NEMO, we docked at some old pier pilings and enjoyed a pork barbecue from a small onboard grill. Back into the city canals, we cruised Amsterdam until sometime after sunset. We got dropped off just a short walk from the apartment.

 

Dr_Seuss says:
I am always taken with the multi-storey cycle parking outside Centraal Station :-D
Posted on: Oct 09, 2009
bkretzer says:
Terrible way to have spend a day! Drinking beer on a boat, on the way to a BBQ.
Posted on: Oct 08, 2009
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Settling buildings
Settling buildings
Amsterdam commuter
Amsterdam commuter
Low bridge
Low bridge
The boat
The boat
Promoting the Dungeon
Promoting the Dungeon
Abandoned bikes
Abandoned bikes
Bicycle taxi
Bicycle taxi
Sign at the Karpershoek
Sign at the Karpershoek
Nice beer at tha Karpershoek
Nice beer at tha Karpershoek
The Karpershoek
The Karpershoek
Cruising the canals
Cruising the canals
Canal bridge
Canal bridge
Under way on the Amsterdam canals
Under way on the Amsterdam canals
Draw bridge or canal gate
Draw bridge or canal gate
Behind the flower market
Behind the flower market
Bridge clearance marker
Bridge clearance marker
Cruising
Cruising
Entering Amsterdam from the bay
Entering Amsterdam from the bay
Ferry boats old and new
Ferry boats old and new
Lightboat across the bay
Lightboat across the bay
One of the outer canals
One of the outer canals
Science Center NEMO
Science Center NEMO
Sculpted steel vultures
Sculpted steel vultures
Sunset on the Amstel
Sunset on the Amstel
Amsterdam
photo by: pearcetoyou