Monday, July 2, 2007

Amsterdam, Holland

A long weekend in Amsterdam is a long weekend indeed as Karen, Tanis, Casey and I discovered ...

Friday night was a late night of drinking and touring the redlight district. Before we knew it, it was 4 am and the city was still hopping! We almost felt guilty calling it quits.

Oddly enough the Redlight district was tastefully done, or at least way less seedy than Pat Pong in Bangkok! We didn't even feel uncomfortable doing a little window shopping.

I don't think we were mobile before noon on Saturday, but once we got going we covered a lot of territory. Walked, walked and walked. Probably would've been smarter to rent a bike, but we were worried we might never find them again. Seriously I have never seen so many bikes as I did in Amsterdam. Here is a picture of a bicycle parkade. How would you ever find your bike if you didn't have a flag?

...and when we were too tired to walk anymore, we opted for getting onto one of the many boats and drinking some Dutch beer.

Other people who had more energy than we did decided that they would get on the peddle bar! Not a bad idea if you could burn off as many calories as you were consuming...not to mention you might even see a few of the sights on the way.

So after a few hours on the canal boats, we decided to start the walking tour again. Here are a few pics. Notice that the houses look crooked? It's actually done on purpose. All of the houses have hoists at the top so that a pulley system can be hooked up to hoist furniture up and through the windows because the houses & staircases are too narrow to get furniture up and down. Some of the houses are built leaning forwards so that the building isn't damaged when items are hoisted up and down. This creates the illusion that the houses are crooked as some lean forward and others do not.

And somehow after all that walking we managed to find a bar that has existed from the 1700's and hasn't been dusted since then. It was an interesting atmosphere, although we were a bit worried that one of the large clumps of dust was going to fall from the chandelier and into our drinks! The bartender was a very friendly guy and even taught us how to drink the locals favourite...a shot of Gin (or as it is called in Holland, Genever) with a Beer. Apparently the first sip has to be done with no hands.

And after sampling the local's favourite drink we decided some local fast food was a good idea too. Strange ordering system...but Casey was game.

Sunday was our last day in Amsterdam. We learned from the night before that not all coffee shops are the same. Some sell coffee and other sell coffee & pot. I wonder if that's why its called a coffee pot????

So we opted for sidewalk cafe instead.

And then off to check out the famous floating tulip market. Wow, have you ever seen so many tulip bulbs?

And of course being tourists, we were suckered (no pun intended) into trying some marajuana suckers. Now that was a waste of money!

Wow, what a great weekend...I could sleep for weeks now!!!!