Amsterdam by night

Trip Start Dec 06, 2009
1
49
55
Trip End Feb 05, 2010


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Flag of Netherlands  , Noord-Holland,
Saturday, January 23, 2010

Daniel:

This morning I uploaded a bunch of photos and video for old entries going back to Innsbruck in Austria.  There are over 40 new photos so you may want to check them out by going back through the older entries.

After sleeping in after a late night, we lazed around the house in Utrecht and were lucky enough to have Pho (vietnamese beef noodle soup) for brunch.  Having Pho two days in a row was a real treat and it was a nice last meal with the family.  We had a great time in Utrecht with the family and they made us feel completely at home.  We were really sad to leave them because we felt really comfortable and enjoyed our wonderfully long conversations with them. Ly I know in particular will miss her aunt and her three girl cousins and is keen to either visit them or have them visit us soon. They just get along like a house on fire! It's a shame we dont live closer to them.

We had decided to head to Brussels in the afternoon but after looking around Amsterdam for a while we found a candle light canal cruise which we wanted to do.  We booked into the ibis hotel right next to the train station just as the snow started to really come down heavily. Within hours the whole city was covered in white. In particular the hundreds of bikes were just covered in snow and despite this it was amazing to see so many people just wipe the mountain of snow off their seat and riding their bikes around seemingly oblivious to the fact that it was freezing cold and snowing!

We boarded the canal cruise just near our hotel and it took us right through the canals including the Amsterdam harbour and river.  It was all couples on the cruise and there was a tour guide who explained points of interest as we cruised along.  We were surprised that the most expensive real estate in Amsterdam is the boat houses you see docked along the canals. Although we would agree that the location of these boat houses were central they looked quite old and were very visible from both the sidewalk and those on canal cruises. We also got the impression they were small and a bit like a mobile or motor home!

The cruise boat we were on was quite big and the captain did a great job of getting us through such narrow canals although at one point it took him four or five attempts to turn under a particularly narrow bridge. We were worried the boat was going to crack or fall apart because he kept bashing it loudly against various walls.

Part of the canal cruise included a tour through the (in)famous red light district on foot.  We had a look in one of the smart shops which sold all sorts of semi legal drugs and paraphanelia including herbal ecstacy, pot seeds of varying species, smoking pipes and other various pills and potions.

Of course there were the many windows with girls scantily dressed in advertising their wares. Most look really bored and often just stand there either primping or preening, reading a magazine or talking to the girl next door.  You feel as though you cant really stare and you walk by as quickly as possible because our tour guide warned us that if you stare or are deemed to look at the girls for too long then the pimp and his men will come out and demand money from you. Of course taking a photo is likely to get you bashed!

Amsterdam is also known for its 'coffee shops'. As soon as the door opens to one of these coffee shops the smell of pot just hits you and we're not sure how people can sit in there and actually breathe.  There seemed to be lots of drunk young english guys in the district and
I'm sure they keep the local businesses going with cheap flights from the UK.  With the snow coming down heavily and Ly being paranoid about slipping on snow and ice (she has had a couple of close calls), we treated ourselves to a late night snack of frites, hot chips in a cone with special sauce and a new unhealty looking coloured cheese sauce. It was so nice to stay in a nice warm hotel and be out of the cold snow.

Daniel + Ly
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