30 March 2017
We had just completed our first ever three months housesit.
Now we were ready to blow out a few cobwebs in creative and unique Amsterdam.
Firstly we needed to get there – which we did so by train from Calais to Lille where we changed trains for a direct one to Amsterdam.
What made this train especially enjoyable was the free WiFI and a high speed one at that. Thumbs up to a great start to our trip to Amsterdam. Friendly train station staff directed us to the taxi stand and with no further ado we were heading towards our AirBnB.
Our Airbnb hosts Martin & Smadar were very welcoming, as they ushered us through a small door [the squire had a concerned look on his face when walking through it!] down a long corridor into a patio area to a building that is actually behind the first initial building we entered.
The Jordaan District is an up and coming residential area right in the middle of the city. Very easy access to most things of interest. This area was fascinating and far more diverse in design shops and cafes than the more touristy areas. We enjoy areas frequented by the locals. Best of all it was a quiet haven to rest our weary bodies after a day wandering around this fascinating city.
We were staying down the road from the Anne Frank House, and every time we went past there were literally 150 people or more in line waiting patiently or maybe not so patient. Frankly [no pun intended] I would rather have my memories of reading the book about her life experience than being pushed and herded through something quite similar to a sheep getting drenched!. As a teenager, I didn’t particularly like reading [as do most kids with a learning disability], until I was required to read “The Diary of Anne Frank” as part of the dreaded school curriculum. This book was one book I finished and one that at the time made a big impact on me. Then and there I realised the world doesn’t revolve around Whakatane, there is much more, and the travel seed was germinated.
Some people come to see the many tulips, cheese, red light district and windmills. Others mainly to get drunk, stoned or both while taking in the tulips, cheese, red light district and windmills.
For us, it was the city itself. This city is so accepting of people who want or are different from societies conceived notion of what is ‘normal’. That is what I love most about this place. Another big plus is it’s an amazing photographer’s dream as it is such a picture postcard place to experience. So we have changed our walking style from a stop, sniff and pee ones to just stop, position, click and capture. For a small interval.
Amsterdam has over 75 museums, these range from cheese, handbags, art to name just a few. We visited the Rijks Museum, and it was incredible. We thought it was one of the best we have had the opportunity to visit. I will write up another post about our visit at a later stage. UPDATE: Blog post on Rijksmuseum
FACTS: This city is more culturally diverse than any other international capital. That canal houses are incredibly narrow because residents were once taxed on the width of their properties, and that Amsterdam has more canals than Venice, Italy, which has earned its reputation as the Amsterdam of the South.
The floating flower market – Bloemenmarkt – seeing so many tulips is a real treat as they are not so easy to grow in warmer climates where we usually reside in New Zealand. Way too touristy for us, though it was still lovely to experience the world’s only floating market.
When we weren’t walking and stopping to smell the flowers, we went to cafes. Though let me first explain when in Amsterdam there is a difference between coffeehouses and cafes as the first do have some seeds and a particular type of weed for getting a different kick start to your day as opposed to Cafes who specialise in beans for that enjoyable caffeine hit!
One of many cafes, NOT coffeehouses, we frequented, one that stood out was Caffe il Momento which of course included coffees, big and black accompanied by a recommended sweet pastry. Sometimes it is wonderful when someone who is about to serve you picks up that you are having difficulty choosing from such a wide variety of goodies and suggests one for you. With food and coffee in our hands, we then decided to enjoy the morning sun on one of the many available outdoor seats. It has been one of the most easily accessible cities for the squire to enjoy walking around and we have been to a few!! Well done Amsterdam for making so many seats available, to ponder what we had experienced in your picturesque city.
This is basically how our time went while in Amsterdam. We spent most of it wandering the many enthralling canal streets.
The weather was amazingly sunny, windless and this city with a definite feel of a town is so comfortable and relaxing just to be out and about. We walked and walked until it has become apparent even after many coffees, green teas and the last drink of the day a refreshing beer it was time to head back to home base our AirBnB room as we were exhausted
Amsterdam is still in the top 20 Happiest cities in the world. Everyone seems more content riding bikes, though sometimes not so much for walkers, as I came very close to being knocked off my perch a few hundred times, so have eyes at the back of your head! and don’t have an attention span of a goldfish!. Plus the very liberal laws may just be another reason for more happy days for the locals.
This is exactly how we left this city