Give Me One Day and I’ll Give You Amsterdam, Part 1

shower

If you only had one solid day in Amsterdam, could you see everything you wanted? Perhaps not, but that’s pretty subjective to each person, so I’m going to try!

Honestly, most people can’t handle this. It’s exhausting and busy and pretty stressful. But I’m a busy person (or I pretend to be) so I tried to get everything in Amsterdam done in one day. This is pretty much the complete opposite approach of the Lazy Man’s Way to Tokyo

In fact, there is so much stuff here, I can’t possibly put it into one post. So just imagine these things are over the course of 2 days 🙂

First, I woke up and took an awesome shower/bath I love detachable shower heads and I love European bathtubs (pictured above).

I then headed to a really nice cafe near Rembrandtplein (Rembrandt Square). Which looked like this:

cafe

Had drinks like this:

breakfast1
food like this:

breakfast2

and a view of this:

construction

While the breakfast may not look like much, it tasted fantastic and gave me enough energy (read: grease) for most of the day.

Some ask why I pay the extra few Euros to stay in a Hotel over a Hostel. One is a bit of safety, the other is location. When I can walk outside of my hotel and see this:

amstel

It’s worth it. That’s the Amstel river. Yup, just like the beer. And here is your history lesson: Amsterdam got it’s name from damming the Amstel river. Amsteldam -> Amsterdam. This also explains why all the houses look like they are about to fall over (because they are falling over, albeit slowly), it was/is a marshland.

To get a better view of this phenomenon, I hopped on a boat for a canal tour.

meonboat

Which involves sitting on a boat for an hour and just cruising along while listening to interesting historical info about the city like this:

canaltour1

and this

canaltour2

And 3 other languages one after another. However, by the time they got to English or French explanations, the point of interest was usually out of sight. However, I still took lots of pictures of bridges and water and stuff, such as the following:

canal

This is an area where several canals meet. Aside from the green water (fresh water, not salt because of the damming and the lochs… which they have to clean out every 5 days… this must have been day 4 or 5), it had some pretty views.

ducks

Ducks.

The actual canals are pretty slim, fitting about 1 lane on each side for boats to travel. Plus room on one side to dock boats or the increasingly rare houseboats, such as this:

boathouse
It’s quite interesting to see the contrast of transportation on one road:

boatscarsbikes

A docked boat, a locked bike, and a parked car.

blackhouse

Aside from my lovely reflection, I wanted to point out that Amsterdam is one of the few cities in the world which can get away with black colored houses. Very refreshing from the common mustard colored buildings in Budapest. I’ll show you soon.

If you look closely at the top of the buildings, you’ll also notice there are big hook-type things. Those are hoists, for boats. Still in use. This is because the stairwells inside of the houses are too narrow to bring big furniture and stuff into. Something will be hoisted up on those suckers from the canal and into the big windows you see.

fallingdown
I wasn’t kidding about the houses looking like they are falling down. More than half of them are lopsided like the ones you see here. It actually gives the town a sort of cartoony feel (Melee Island comes to mind) 🙂

bridge

A bridge.

bridge2

Another bridge.

importantbridge

A really important bridge. I forgot the name and the reason, sorry 🙂

underbridge

Going under a bridge. If you’re claustrophobic, I don’t recommend a canal tour. Interesting thing about this pic is the guy in the helmet. He was on another boat under the bridge cleaning up graffiti from the underside of the bridge wall. This means someone came to the bridge on a boat jsut to put graffiti under it. Amazing!

redlightboat

You can’t see from this pic. And this Blog is relatively rated PG so I wouldn’t show it anyway, but this boat had women of loose morals on it and would occasionally appear in their windows. This was on the right side of the boat. On the left side (at the exact same time)…

pussycat

There was a houseboat full of homeless cats up for adoption. This means there was pussy of negotiable affection simultaneously on both sides of the canal. Give it a second, you’ll get it 🙂

bikeparkinggarage

This was a parking garage for bicycles only. It contains roughly 3000 bicycles. I have a hard enough time finding my car in a parking garage, I can’t imagine being able to find my bike in this mess.

Decided to walk around a bit (a lot) and check out some touristy stuff. Went through the tourist shopping district, which looks exactly the same in every european city:

touristshopping

Which led to this place:

damsquare
Which is called Dam Square. Ironically enough, I think that’s Jesus tied up there. Dam indeed.

Across the street looked much more fun:

ferris

Which had a ferris wheel and all sorts of carny games. I um, I didn’t play any (I never win!).

I walked aimlessly for awhile (don’t bother with trams in Amsterdam, everything is seriously within 20-30 minutes of walking distance) and ended up in a flower market.

flowermarket

Apparently this is special because half of each shop resides on the canal as a houseboat shop thing.

flowermarket2

There were lots and lots and lots of flowers and plants and stuff I had neevr even heard of. I’m not a big flower fan so uh, wasn’t that interesting to me. Still worth a few minutes to look though.

By this time, I was dragging, it was just lunch time and I wasn’t yet hungry, but needed some sort of energy drink to pick me up, and I was shocked to find my favorite energy drink available:

monster!

God I love Monster Energy Drink. And this isn’t just because I own stock in Hansen Beverage Corp (it’s the other way around).

Since everyone talks about it and everyone is anticipating it, I figured I’d check out the Red Light District during the day to see if it’s interesting.

recdurtains

See those red curtains? That means there is some negotiable affection going on behind them. This is the only safe picture I was allowed to take without having my camera taken away and destroyed. They’re serious about that here. But I was able to take this in the Red Light District:

redlightday

Looks kinda calm and quiet and not what you were expecting, doesn’t it? Well, that’s pretty much how the Red Light District is (aside from the girls in the windows, which is an odd sight at first, but you get used to it after a few seconds… oh yeah, and they’re all wearing swimsuits/lingerie or similar. No nudity, so it’s actually kinda safe for kids).

redlightday2

It’s pretty tiny too. You’ve pretty much seen the entirety of the Red Light District. It’s only on one street (with a few side-streets) and can be walked within 10 minutes. Don’t worry, it changes a bit at night. I’ll come back to it 😉

Whoah. That’s more than enough for one post. And since the spoiled German kid behind me (I’m on a plane right now) is whining and kicking my chair again I’m done with this post to give him an evil eye and a stern face to his mother.

See you in Part 2 where I head to the Van Gogh Museum, get sidetracked by the Heineken Brewery, and head back to the Red Light District  to meet an old friend and see some pretty red lights 😉

lunch-dinner
The Lazy Man’s Way to Tokyo, Day 9