Sunday, 18 December 2016

Amsterdam - Day 1 - Dam Square and Red LIght District

This September, we spent four days in Amsterdam before our Amsterdam to Barcelona cruise around the Atlantic coast of Europe.  It was a bit of a squeeze but we got a good feel for the city and at the end of it, realized that we had also survived walking the streets without being hit by a bike.  Yes, that was pretty bad - the bikes came at you from different directions!  Just when you thought you had figured out which way to look when crossing the streets along the canals yet another bike proved you wrong.  In some ways, it was worse than Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City where even though it was difficult crossing the streets, at least you would know which direction to look.  

But it was fun walking in Amsterdam as there were so much to see along the streets.  We got a museum pass and oriented our days around the museum visits because we were warned to book our timeslots online first as it could be crowded, especially at the Anne Frank House, the Rijks and Van Gogh Museums.   We walked the streets in between museums and took in the sights along the way.

Our first day in Amsterdam we landed in the morning, jetlagged and tired.  But after a quick nap at our B&B, we ventured out to explore the central area between Dam Square and the Central Railway Station, hitting the Red Light District in the late afternoon just as some lights were coming on but before it gets dark.  Perfect timing - thanks to Rick Steves for that tip.

Looking south then north from outside our BnB

The canal banks are great places to hangout

"Limobike" with partygoers

In front of the Royal Palace on Dam Square
The New Church with banners for upcoming event celebrating 90 years of Marilyn Monroe

More action at Dam Square - demonstration against coup in Brazil

Cheese shop near Dam Square
Specialty shops en route to the Red Light District
Some red lights were already on - late afternoon
Another specialty shop - chocolates!  These are real cherries dipped in dark chocolate...
Famous Bull dog "Coffeeshop" - and the alley beside it...

Statue honouring the unknown prostitute in front of the Old Church

 These canal houses go right down to the water

These are across from the Central Station
The Central Station
Sharing the road along the Damrak

Hydrangeas galore outside the Bijenkorf Department Store on the Damrak

We asked this beautiful couple where the Stock Exchange building was - turned out it was right behind them, we walked right past it.  The Stock Exchange is in an art deco building.

Main floor bar inside the building
Statue outside

The Damrak - the main strip in central Amsterdam
 We ended the day at Winkel's, a short walk from our BnB.  It turned out it's supposed to have the best apple cake in Amsterdam!  Glad we tried was GOOD!

NNext post:  Amsterdam - Day 2 - south to Museumplein

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