Ah, Amsterdam.... home of bikes, canals and......
Trip Start Jun 15, 2010
38Trip End Sep 15, 2010
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Where I stayed
I arrived off the Eurolines bus earlier than expected, and not into central station - which actually turned out to be rather good, since i still had a dodgy stomach from dodgy food in Bruges, and i had to get a tram out to the hostel, which was closer than i expected!
Glad i chose a hostel which wasn't in the city centre too - ok, given it was about 15-20 mins out, but it was in a wicked location by a lake, they picked you up from the closest metro station, and they had everything you needed there! Bonus! And it was all caravans and cabins - no dorm room for the next few nights! Yippee! Table tennis and the 'worlds smallest cinema' - don't need much more from a hostel
Anyhoo, my first full day there i ventured into the city centre, deciding not to take the offer of the I Amsterdam card - not bad value, but after running around Paris trying to cram in as much as possible, i think the slow route is the way to go! First stop funnily enough was the sex museum - which actually had quite interesting information, and also some rather funny and kitsch displays! Another interesting fact i learnt is that despite having the red light district and prostitution being legal, Amsterdam has only one strip club! So, you can see live sex and girls in windows, but if you want a lap dance, you've only one option! Rather odd!
Anyhoo, after the museum, i ventured out and along the many canals towards the Anne Frank house - (i'm aware of the contrast of locations, but it is Amsterdam!) which had a rather long line, but was definitely worth the wait. After reading her book when i was about the same age as Anne (9 or 10) i always wanted to visit, as i was moved by it - and seeing where her and her family spent so many years inside, hiding, not being able to make a sound during the day..... well, i can't really describe it. The walls felt as though they had absorbed so much... but rather than a feeling of sadness it felt more of a feeling of hope....
Of course, after such an experience, one needs to clear the head.... so it was off on a rather long walk to find the Van Gogh museum. Luckily Amsterdam is easy to get around, and with all the canals and trees, it makes for a pretty and rather shady walk (which is always welcomed in the heat!). One thing i noticed along my walk was the way the city is rather quiet, due to everyone being mainly on bikes, and not hurtling around in cars. Saying that you do have to be rather careful when crossing bike lanes, but most people are good and will ring their bell to warn you to get out the way!
The Van Gogh museum was well worth the measly entrance fee - there were so many of his works there! And interesting tid bits about him and his life, too (which i never learnt in art at school!). Saw the sunflowers painting - but as i've never really particularly liked it all that much, it was just like looking at any of his others. Unfortunately, my favourite Van Gogh work, Starry Night, wasn't there - but you can't have it all i suppose!
On my way back to the train station i stumbled upon a local artist by the name of Mark Raven - pretty cool works and interesting to know that he started off by selling pictures off the back of his bike
Back at the hostel i decided to venture to the lake, which was only about a 5 minute walk from the hostel - great timing as it was sunset - hence many a photo was taken! Very pretty place and a nice alternative from being in the city all the time! I love it how most cities i've been to have big green areas - makes it more relaxing!
Well, best leave this entry here - and on to day 2/3!