Friday, May 7, 2010

Amsterdam at High Speed!

While we were up the in the Netherlands for the Tulip Fields we decided to also spend a day in Amsterdam. We took the train in from Den Haag, which only took about 50 minutes. So worth it, because one should never, NEVER, try to drive in Amsterdam. It is absolute craziness!! Just by walking I still almost got run over by a Light Rail Train, a Scooter, and numerous bikes!

So to explain why I titled this post, "Amsterdam at High Speed," is because we basically got to Amsterdam around noon and only had a half day to see everything. We bought the I amsterdam pass, which allowed for us to enter almost all the museums and sights for no extra charge, plus unlimited transportation on public transport, and a Canal ride. We wanted to get our money's worth so we packed as much in as we could!!

The Oude Kerk. The oldest church in Amsterdam built in 1260.

The floor of the church is made up of tombs, where approximately 10,000 people are buried.

The Bulldog; the most famous Amsterdam coffee house. Completely legal, but being government employees we couldn't partake. More than likely you will get popped as soon as you get back! Maybe we should go back after I leave my job right before we leave Europe. :) I do think it's really funny all the little old ladies standing out front!

It's basically right by the Oude Kirk, right in the center of the Red Light District. Now that was an interesting experience! Seeing scantily dressed prostitutes standing in windows like dogs in a pet store was really weird! Then you see the red light turned on above some of the windows, which means someone is in there getting serviced, even weider! And these weren't attractive women either, they were scary and had no problem glaring at you! Absolutely no pictures there!!

In the museum district.

Van Gogh museum. Really neat, but a little bit of let down. Many of his paintings were not on display since they were doing renovations. We saw his famous Vase with Twelve Sunflowers, his Self-portrait, Blossoming Almond Tree (my favorite!), and many others, but Starry Night, The Bedroom, and his Self-portrait as a painter were all missing. It was still interesting to learn about his life, and extremely interesting that he was never an appreciated artist until after his death. He only sold 1 painting ever, and that was to his brother.

I loved the Canals!

Bikes!!! And do not walk in the bike lane! Where is the bike lane? Can you see it? It's that smooth strip of pavement right by the rear end of those bikes, that has a redish grey tint. It looks exactly like a sidewalk and runs right next to the sidewalk, only if you walk in it you could get killed by a bike or scooter (yes, they cheat and ride in the bike lane!).

Heineken Experience in the original Heineken Factory.

Group Picture!

More Heineken to drink, this time in Bar #2!

Riding the light rail, after we figured out we were headed in the wrong direction and only had 15 minutes to make it to the Anne Frank House. There would soon be running involved so that we would make our reservation!

We made it!

Unfortunately no pictures are allowed inside, but it was so neat to see. They allow you to tour through the entire house, and while the house was emptied by the Germans after the raid and Otto Frank wanted it left that way, there are still posters and markings on the wall from Anne and her family. You walk through the same entryway hidden by the bookcase and go through all of the secret annex. You aren't allowed to go into the very top attic, but you can still look up the staircase and see what it looks like with mirrors that they have set up. Through the mirrors you can also see the window and the tree that Anne often wrote about. You also see the original diary on display, right up close!

We were told not to keep our expectations too high as other people have said there is not really much to see, but I think they have really made this a nice museum. This ended up being my favorite sight we went to in Amsterdam!

To end our trip in Amsterdam we took our Canal Cruise.

Really pretty!

So as you can see we packed a lot into essentially a half day! But we got our money's worth and had a great time!!

More pictures are on facebook. Copy and paste to check them out!

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