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June 10th: A Busy Day in Amsterdam

Canal Tour; Reijksmuseum; Miffys, Van Gogh Museum; The Red Light District

Breakfast

Our hotel offers an extensive and tasty buffet, including mimosas, to help get you on your way.

The Canal Tour

We started the day with  a 9:00 am departure for a 1 hour tour – from a loading area right behind our hotel. We  toured several canals, and ended up at the Rijksmuseum.

In the pictures below, notice the beams that stick out from the top of the buildings – these were used to set up pulley systems to lift goods off boats on the canal into 2nd floor store rooms.

And the second picture in the second row shows a bicycle parking lot. Bikes are everywhere, and we were told there are over 900,000 in Amsterdam. There are bike lanes, (also used by mopeds) and you take your life in your hands trying to cross over, since they do not have to stop for pedestrians.

The houses are very narrow, and often the sides are not at a 90 degree angle to the main wall. The facades offer a decorative and distinguishing element to the buildings.

Rijksmuseum

Our guided tour focused on the 17th century, and Rembrandt, and in particular The Night Watch. Because it is so easy to find this artwork on the web, I didn’t take a lot of pictures. Below are a few things I saw in the other parts of the museum.

Miffys

Since the afternoon was free, I wandered through the Museumplein, a large park in front of the museum, where there was a whole row of “Miffys.” More designs, and an explanation of the history of Miffys can be seen by clicking on this link: 60 Years of Miffy.

Van Gogh Museum

This was a must for me. Again, I didn’t try to capture everything in photographs – just the famous self-portrait shown below, and a wonderful depiction of Donald Duck as Van Gogh.

Red Light District Tour

This was an evening tour, 9:00-10:00, but we are far enough north that it was still light for pretty much the whole trip. Our guide gave us a lot of information about the history, regulations and changing conditions. I also found some further information on Wikipedia. Whether the District is a good thing or not tends to be part of an on-going dispute between various factions. It has not eliminated organized crime or pimps, but registration does allow the prostitutes to have free medical care.

In addition, there are many “Coffee Shops,” where marijuana may be purchased and smoked legally.
(You go to a Coffee House for coffee, Cafe for alcohol.)

However, it is an interesting area to visit, and since it is in the downtown area, it was only a short distance from our hotel.

Note the church in the middle of the district, and the last picture shows a corner “pissoire.”

By the time I got home at 10:45, I was ready for a good night’s sleep, whatever my body-clock might be thinking!

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