I amsterdam

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Apr 082009
 
Museumplein, Amsterdam

Museumplein, Amsterdam

We had a whirlwind visit to Amsterdam, as we had accommodation booked in Germany from the 8th of April.

I think I had a lot of misconceptions about the city.  Yes, it does allow its inhabitants considerably more freedom than most other western cities, and yes, parts of the city are all about sex and drugs.  But the city has a lot more to offer than that.  The centre itself is very pretty as many of its buildings in the centre date from the 17th century, and the canals are beautiful.  The sex/drugs stereotype is mainly confined to the Red Light District, and we never felt unsafe – except when we were trying to cross the street!  You have to be on the lookout every second for cars, bikes, trams, buses and motorbikes/scooters.  And of course, the traffic is all driving on the right side of the road – it’s enough to make your head spin!

The Van Gogh Museum is fantastic, and we were fortunate that they had a special exhibit featuring The Starry Night, which is usually displayed at the New York Metropolitan Museum.  Van Gogh is one of my favourite artists, and I enjoyed the exhibit very much.

We also went to the Anne Frank house, which was very moving.  I read the book just before leaving on this trip, so much of what she described was still fresh in my mind when I saw the “Secret Annex”.  Unfortunately, we had to queue for over an hour at both the museum and the house…  Next time we’ll have to bring a portable printer so we can buy internet tickets and avoid the lines!

Amsterdam by night

Amsterdam by night

Apr 072009
 
Tulips!

Tulips!

Yesterday we left Rotterdam and the wonderful hospitality of Tante Margreet to head to Amsterdam, via the Keukenhof.

For the uninitiated, the Keukenhof translates to “kitchen garden” and it is the world’s largest flower garden.  It is probably most famous for it’s tulips, but there are plenty of other varieties as well.

We were probably about 2 weeks early, and only half the flowers were in bloom.  Fortunately, half is still an impressive number of flowers!  We had lots of fun taking various artistic photos, which you can view here.

We arrived in Amsterdam about 6pm yesterday, where we are staying at a lovely B&B, De Vries, near Leidseplein.

Apr 042009
 
Cycling along the Rotte, Rotterdam

Cycling along the Rotte, Rotterdam

We are now spending a few nights in Rotterdam with my great-aunt.  Some time to rest and eat a home cooked meal!  We again hired bikes and pedalled along the Rotte.  It was a warm (20 deg), sunny day and the recreational space was filled with cyclists, walkers (and dogs), fishers, canoeists and other boaters.

Ten!

Wat mooi!

These kubuswoningen or ‘cube houses’ in Rotterdam were built in 1984 and consist of 38 square houses tilted at 45 degrees.   One of the houses is a ‘show-house’ so we were able to see inside at the interesting furnishings that are needed to fit the angled walls.

Kubuswoningen, Rotterdam.

Kubuswoningen, Rotterdam