Saturday, March 24, 2012


 I've spend the past couple days here now, it's been interesting. I can't say I overly like Amsterdam, or maybe just that my mood has reflected how I've viewed the city. First day I had to be out with my host when he went to work, so I was right in the heart of the city at 8am and couldn't get back in to the apartment till 7 when he finished work, which is fine, but it's quite a long day of walking around.

I spent a chunk of the morning sitting in the sun reading a guidebook I had been lent.

The Begijnhof  (very old convent)
 Then I visited the Amsterdam museum, which was pretty impressive. Had a great interactive exhibition on the history of Amsterdam city.
Fun facts:
Named after a Dam that was built on the river Amstel. Amsteldam became Amsterdam
The city is a few meters below sea level (4 meters at the airport)
Buildings are made of brick, which are built on piles that sit in marshy soils.......comforting!

 Everybody bikes in Amsterdam, this is by central station, it's like a small parking lots for thousands of bikes. Makes crossing roads difficult because you have to look for Trams, Cars, and Cyclists. Each have their own part of the road, you need to be pretty focused!

The Royal Palace of Amsterdam
 This was the original town hall, used in 1655 when Netherlands was one of the richest countries. It was a public building back then and now is reserved for dignitaries.

That evening we had Indian takeaways for dinner and headed out with a few of his friends to a couple of local bars. Hmmm probably should have packed something slightly dressy. Never mind!

Next day I was going to do the Van Gogh museum but I had lost the museum pass my host had given me. Woops, felt really bad and spent a chunk of the morning hunting for it. No such luck. I think he can get another one for free but still felt bad.

Museum Square

I amsterdam

I went shopping and bought some new walking shoes, which are really comfortable. My $20 K-mart shoes are slowly wearing out beneath my feet. 

 I went to the flower market on the street, had lots of quirky stuff. Bonsai trees, bulbs and flowers in a can, and marijuana started kits. 

Erik made a batch of muffins.....with chocolate...they were delicious!!

Don't think I'm going to go see the famous red light district that is here. I've already seen enough walking down the street during lunchtime. You'll just be casually wondering along a shop window front looking at the closely at the displays, then on your next step you're standing less than a foot away from a half dressed woman posing in a curtain booth behind a window. You casually look away to see whats on the other side of the alleyway, and oh dear more prostitutes. Quicken pace and look skywards.

But yes overall, I do like how the city operates and the generally relaxed atmosphere, I think Christchurch could take a leaf or two. I think I'd be more happier here if I was into the soft drugs, picking up prostitutes and partying every night but It's safe to say I'm ready to leave and looking forward to moving on and getting to Salzburg tomorrow morning.


  1. Amsterdam is a city I've never been to despite spending a lot of time in Holland. I'm not sure that it'll make my bucket list.