Before our family world trip, my friend A. and I wanted to travel together once more. I would have liked to fly to Edinburgh or Dublin, unfortunately there were no reasonable flights there. We only had two days, and did not want to spend one of them at the airports. After all, we decided to go to Amsterdam. The hotel was quickly found, and there were the perfect flight times: to Amsterdam at 6:15 on the 1st day and back to Vienna at 20:35 on the 2nd day. So almost two full days.
At the Amsterdam train station we found a map automat. Great idea!
Well equipped, we made our way to the hotel. Already the first glance at the canals sparked enthusiasm. Along the water we could see beautiful houses in different styles and colors. Many of them have big iron hooks under the gables. Since the stairs are very narrow, they were used to transport the furniture up and down.
On the canals, there are many small and large boats. A lot of them are private, another are for tourists. A boat trip is the best ways to see the canals and the houses. The tours are not cheap, but worth it. I loved the houseboats. There are some for rent, that would be a cool alternative to a hotel.
After a friendly greeting at our hotel we have got another city map and an explanatation, what to see in Amsterdam. We left the luggage there and set off. Already after a few hours we knew, the time will not even be nearly enough to explore even a part of the city. The first route took us to the flower market. Very disappointing – hardly flowers, but a lot of tulip bulbs, tulip decorations and tulip souvenirs. We then went through the streets, crossed the canals, making breaks for some drinks or food. The boat trip that we did took us through the canals along the magnificent buildings. It was expensive but informative and simply nice.
Of course we have visited De Wallen, the notorious red light district with the barely clad ladies in the windows. Most of them were really pretty. It was funny to watch a group of pubescent boys, standing in front of a window, watching a almost naked girl and giggling like little girls. Whether it was the embarrassment, the excitement or the tension – who knows. The beautiful, admired girl took it with humor.
In the middle of De Wallen stands the oldest building in the city, Oude Kerk (Old Church), from the 14th century. It is the only building in Amsterdam that has not changed since Rembrandt’s time, at least on the outside. The painter often visited the church, and all his children were baptized here. Oude Kerk was a Catholic church before the Reformation. It is used for religious and cultural events now.
On the 2nd day it was raining, so we wanted to visit the museums. Well, unfortunately we were not prepared at all. To get the tickets for the Van Gogh, we should have had to queue for hours, the same for the Rijksmuseum. Such a crap! We should have bought the tickets online. Well, for the next time we know it. The snake in front of the Moco Museum was not as long. There was an extensive exhibition of works by the British streetart artist Banksy as well as a small collection of the works of Salvador Dalí.
In Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) from the 15th century, the coronation church of the Dutch monarchs, we could see the World Press Photo 2017 exhibition. Many of the pictures were shocking. War, assassinations, environs, poverty were shown at their most dreadful moments. But there were also some beautiful pictures, as if the photographers would like to show: it’s not all lost yet.
In addition to the actual exhibition, we were able to watch some short films, such as about the American Olympian boxer, Claressa Shields.
There are many cars and many boats in Amsterdam. But most of all there are bicycles. Very many bicycles. They park everywhere, and they stand in the way everywhere. But that is half as bad. The Amsterdamers drive aggressively and recklessly, as I have never experienced before. They are fast, they do not look, and they do not brake. They do not use the bell, no, they yell at you if you do not jump quickly enough. I understand that they are annoyed by the many tourists who are in the way. But a little more consideration and courtesy would not kill them.
The trip was over much too soon.We had to get our bags again and go to the airport. On the way we have discovered a new traffic sign next to some playground:
Bye bye Amsterdam, we’ll be back!