Friday, 30 May 2014

Boats, Bikes, Baby Cars and Too Many B...... People

Well here we are in Amsterdam and I'm afraid our senses are rejecting the crowded streets and wanting the peace of the Scottish Highlands.  Still we are here so headed out to have some fun.  Firstly the stairs to our apartment - well more of a ladder really.
Perhaps Garrie at the bottom gives perspective?
As you can see from the gear it's a cold day with a light sprinkle which takes the edge off for photography but the canals, and some of the accommodation along them are still lovely.
These guys have a lovely garden on the water's edge
It is also the city for bicycles with bikes and bike paths everywhere.
No one wears a helmet, they are mostly of a "sit up and beg" style and people wear anything and everything whilst riding them.  Between bikes, cars, pigeons and trams we've had a few near misses especially as we are always expecting them to come from the other way.  Cars here are generally small, some very tiny and there are power refill points dotted about.

As you can see from that last photo the cars gain the best views of the canals. Wouldn't you have thought they'd have put their walkways there but I guess there simply isn't room for two foot ways, bikes and cars.  We do love the architecture, some of which was clearly built by the "looks about right" method.
Even the central railway station has some style.
We had a lovely lunch in the top of the Central library due to a friend's tip, (thanks Tony),here's the view
and we also wandered through the red light district so Garrie could do some window shopping.  It would seem very curvy dark girls are the flavour of the moment. How they can stand in the windows is beyond me. Thankfully photos are not allowed.  On our list of "to do's" is Anne Frank's house.  Don't know the story? These links will help you out.
It's a book I treasured from teen years and still have but alas this little girl's true story of the holocaust is still so popular that the queue to see the house was about 2 hours long. We'll try again tomorrow as online tickets are also sold out. The original house facade appears to be protected so we satisfied ourselves with a photo of her statue, which people still lay flowers at.
Then we stopped for afternoon tea...
Another on our list was "Our Lord in the Attic Chapel". Again a unique story of catholic worship in secret in the late 1600s for 200 years when such things were banned.  It's stunning.
It included more unique staircases - we'd like a $ for every step we have climbed this holiday.
And an interesting view over the city. In years gone by the more modern buildings would have been replaced by the masts of the tall ships.
After a break at home we set off for dinner to Cafe Orloff, again a recommendation, many thanks Ann. The meal was wonderful, as was the beer, the beer of the day being from a Netherlands brewery, Texels.
Garrie had local garlic sausages and I had chicken in a peanut sauce, both meals were delicious.
Everything here seems to come with mayo, in fact a favourite snack seems to be hot chips with mayo. Orloff's is a great little pub.
The evening and our local neighbour hood were much quieter and we both decided that Amsterdam is growing on us.  Everyone makes the best of their space and these guys are growing flowers and a fig tree on the pavement outside their house.
At our own apartment our host is growing several different herbs and chillis outside the window.
And since we are in Holland the final photo for the day is something very familiar.  "See" you tomorrow, off to have cheese (purchased today and local of course), biscuits and Whisky and maybe some Betty's fruitcake so a highly cultural evening ahead.