Amsterdam Day 2 – sunny and wonderful

I woke up fairly early. Breakfast starts at 7am, so I went for it. It was pretty simple one – bread, cold meats, cheese, condiments and drinks, but it was nice never the less.

Then I started my exploration of the city. They obviously dont like to begin the day early, as the place was dead. The day was going to be lovely and the morning was a pretty indication of that. Very pleasant and clear. Few people here and there and just the bakeries and few food shops open here and there. I am tempted by the smell and venture into one of the bakeries.

Emerge a few minutes later with a yummy scroll with chocolate sauce and chips. Very lovely and fresh. No, I wasnt hungry, but that has nothing to do with this ;)

The architecture everywhere is beautiful. I find those narrow houses so fascinating wherever I see them. They are not just typical for this place.
And bikes…bikes are everywhere – ‘parked’, flying through, being pushed around, tied to some pole. There are 500,000 bikes and 750,000 population in the city. I am guessing only the babies, small children and the eldest dont have one.

Another typical thing around here, and I am guessing most of Europe really, are the small cars. Australia is not the country with the biggest cars, but compared to here, we drive tanks.

I am headed to a market that is supposed to have great produce on the weekend and the street its on heads down to a part of the city I would love to see.
As I get there, the city is barely waking up. The stalls are setting up, but a lot of the market is happening thankfully.

The produce is mouth watering. The fruits are really making me wish I didnt eat that scroll, my belly was pretty full from it and the breakfast. There are a lot of flower stands and they are busy. People must really like flowers around here. I dont think I have ever seen a queue for flowers before.

Parents with kids were roaming around with push bikes buying their fresh produce. People obviously know each other and do their mingling around the place. Its lovely to observe and watch as the place livens up by the time I go through it.

The sides offer feast for the eyes too.

Before I reach the end, my greed gets the best of me and I get a two containers of berries, find a bench and gobble them up. I love berries and they are so incredibly expensive in Aussie land. I paid 1 euro each for those. The taste was so fresh and the view pretty good too.

Then off again exploring the rest of the Jordaan area. The city is awakening and people are slowly buzzing around.

I love the familiarity that develops in the old continent between people. It doesnt seem to be the same for us, people tend to keep to themselves to a certain extend. I love that about the mentality of people here.

I guess any city after Tokyo will suffer in this impression, but yes, the place is not as clean and taken care of as the Japanese capital. A lot of garbage thrown on the streets. Shops and places not as meticulously cared for either.

But none of that can diminish the charm of the place. Canals definitely make a city that much more attractive and beautiful – the reflections, the bridges, the lack of huge streets.

I reach my next destination – the Anne Frank museum. For those of you that are not familiar with who she is, read a bit about it on wikipedia, it is an amazing story, unfortunately not with a good ending.

I had seen that one can buy tickets online and print them to save themselves the wait, but that is one thing I didnt bring with me, a printer. So off to the end of the line. The entry is around the corner!

Behind me on the queue is an American couple and we strike a conversation. They are from California and arrived in Amsterdam in the morning. They seem lovely and we manage to chat the wait away.

The museum is very well done and exploring the secret living areas was very haunting. A well worth place to visit for anyone coming to the city and having knowledge of the story.

Then I am off to Dam square, or just the Dam and walk past some other beauties.

Dam is one of the big squares in the city. A lot of people venture this way.

The Royal Palace, which is not really used as a palace apparently.

On one of the corners is a Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, but the queue and the price repel me. I dont want to see it that badly, so I go down the Rokin to the floating flower market.

The place has just about everything about flowers – pots, bonsai, pots, bulbs etc. etc. Lots of people in this area. As I said, they must really love their flowers.

Then I start up my canal and head back to the hotel. In one of the tourist shops I bought a candlelight dinner cruise, which is supposed to take 2 hours around the canals and they serve wine and nibbles. I need a bit of a rest as the thing is from 9 til 11pm.

The dutch really know how to relax…

The houses are so narrow that the staircases are pretty narrow and steep too. For this reason they all have special hooks in the front to help with moving furniture up and down through the windows. Here is how that happens. In this case, it was a fridge. You can see the other houses beams too.

After my rest I am off to my ‘cruise’

Its almost 9pm, but its still light out.

Centraal Station – built on 3 platforms and 9000 poles over the water.

The cruise boats, all set up.

After not knowing what exactly to do with my pregnant lonely self, I finally get a squeeze with another American couple. They are not quite as pleasant as the other one. The husband especially seemed very smug and off putting.

Thankfully we dont talk much and just enjoy the view.

The lit building on the water is a floating Chinese restaurant.

The most fancy hotel in the city – Amstel. This is where the queen stays, not in her Palace.

And that is how my first full day in Amsterdam ends. I have walked half the city and feel like I saw a lot. Thankfully the city is pretty small, especially compared to Tokyo, so walking every where is quite easy.

I am pretty buggered by the end and fall asleep as soon as I get back to the hotel.