Monday, June 3, 2013

An afternoon stroll in Amsterdam

Our Amsterdam exchange family had left us a map with a couple of suggested walks in the down town area. It was a lovely afternoon so we hopped on a Number 14 tram and away we went.

The trams appear to be fairly new and they are quite comfortable. They are articulated with five sections that enable them to snake around very sharp corners. We each got a one day (24 hours) ticket.  We did one trip into ant out of the city in the afternoon and we will do another trip in the morning tomorrow.

We got off the tram at Westerkerk. It is open six days a week but only for services on Sunday when we arrived outside.

It still has the shops tacked on between the buttresses. See the section on Pothouses in the link.

Statue of Anne Frank outside the church. The house where she was hidden is just around the corner. 

There was a huge queue to get in.

Amsterdam is a city of canals and there were boats everywhere on this beautiful afternoon.

Now this is a narrow house.

Every outdoor cafe table was taken. Like most of Europe, the Netherlands has had a very cold spring and so the warmer weather brought the people out to relax in the sun.

Interesting balconies.

This statue reminded me of the new conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Yannick seems to have clicked with the orchestra and the concerts which he conducts have been sold out. I have really enjoyed what I have heard him conduct so far including a fabulous Verdi Requiem.

OK this is Amsterdam. But who would want to pay 6,400 Euros for this?

Bicycles are everywhere. Thousands and thousands of them. All are chained to something solid to prevent them being stolen.

This has to be the sorriest excuse for a cart that I have ever seen. Note that the closest wheel is just a rusted rim with no tyre.

A bike to carry your baby. Rainproof as well.

Guild symbols at the top of the buildings.

It was very pleasant strolling around the streets beside the canals. It probably would have been even better to be on a boat like this puttering around.

This looked comfortable enough for me.

Marianne thought they were heart balloons but I thought they were boob balloons. I suppose it is all in the eye of the beholder.

We were intrigued by the wine bottle sculptures on the deck of the boat. It's one way to get rid of the empties.

This caught my eye.

It all seemed just so relaxed. People just out enjoying the afternoon sun. It was a little warm if you were in the sun but also a little cool if you were on the shady side of the canal.

Somehow I don't expect to see a shop like this in North East, MD in the near future.

We headed back more into the center of Amsterdam down a walking street that was lined with tacky shops.

The last time I was in Amsterdam was 1974 and I remembered walking along this long street for pedestrians (Nieuwendijk). Back then it was classy. Not any more.

The Damrak with the Central Railway Station in the distance.

The Beurs van Berlage where there is currently a Van Gogh exhibition.

We arrived at the Dam Square with lots of tourists milling about and some sort of miniature soccer game going on in a temporary small stadium.

The National Monument. It is a monument to those who died in WWII and subsequent conflicts.

Our tram had passed this way on our way to the city so we soon found where to catch it to take us back to the apartment. Fortunately we did not have to wait long and we saw other areas along the way that we will explore in future trips.

So it was all very pleasant indeed. The city seems to be very clean and the dog poo of years ago has disappeared.

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