Saturday, August 16, 2014

Friday 15th in Amsterdam

Our day started with a 35 minute walk to arrive at the Rijks Museum, the largest and most well known, museum in this city of many museums.  It is a spectacular building, even better now after a 10 year refurbishment.  It is home to many great works of art by Rembrandt, Van Gough, Der Meer and many more.  The early works date back to 1100.  Now that is old!  There were exhibits from many periods of time.  Too much to take in.  Probably only saw half the exhibits! 
After a play in the water (photo), we walked back to Vondel Park to get a better look as we only touched on it yesterday on our bike ride.
 Not long after we got there, we got to play in some more water as the sky opened up and it teemed down.  After about 15 mins of hovering under a tree, the rain eased and everybody just got on with their day, as if nothing had happened.
Th park does have lots of art work as well as natural beauty.  The park is surrounded by some of the wealthy residents of Amsterdam.  Some beautiful homes.
Munched on a banana while walking through the park for lunch, but supplemented that back in town with one of the local treats, Frits with saus. (Chips with a sauce of choice.  I had satay, Russ had mayo). Pretty tasty!
This gave us the energy to climb the bell tower of The Oude Kerk (the oldest church built about 1450). It right on the edge of the famous Redlight district.  Magnificent 360o views of the city.
Pretty exhausted by this stage, so back to the hotel for a rest.
We ventured back out to the Waterlooplien market near by then back to the main part of town to sit and watch the world go by, quite a popular pastime.
 As it is a Friday afternoon, the number of tourists seems to have increased significantly.  Lots of groups of young men in town!  Apparently a popular location for football trips etc.  The group doing the canal cruise below provided quite a bit of entertainment as the gave a rousing rendition of something.
It may be an interesting evening in town!  
Tomorrow we begin our Bike and Barge cruise.

Some observations from our short time in Amsterdam.

*The incredible number of bikes.  It is just the form of transport for everybody, whether you are going to work in your suit or high heels, or delivering something, or taking the kids to school (either in a trailer at the front or on a carrier on the back, with a little seat in front of the rider for a little one).  It is crazy at times, but it just seems to work without much hassle.
*The smell of weed being smoked everywhere (mainly by tourists, rather than the locals)
*I mentioned yesterday about the hooks at the top of the old houses for furniture.  The pics below show some more modern methods of furniture removal.
*It is the country of tulips.  It is not the season for them to be out flowering, but the bulbs are for sale (in large quantities)

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