Finally edited the first set of photos for Amsterdam :) Shall split my Amsterdam blog post into 4 parts. 2 weeks ago, Jerald and I hopped on the Thalys Train to Amsterdam straight after my work. It was the first time I've taken an Intercity (Inter-country?) train and it was FUN! 3hrs of watching videos on the train ride, occasionally getting to see various suburban cities along the way. Pretty enjoyable indeed!
We alighted at Amsterdam around 8.45pm, and headed for our Airbnb. Below is the canal right outside our landlord's place. Amsterdam is BEAUTIFUL.
Stepping out of the train station, I was so in awe of the architecture of the station itself! People were really helpful too, a lady offered to take a photo for Jerald and I when she saw us hopelessly trying to take a selfie with this tower! Great first impression indeed!
Amsterdam is a lot less crowded compared to Paris, a lot cleaner, people speak FLUENT english, and the Dutch are really very genuine!
Morning along Magere Brug (otherwise known as Skinny Bridge)
There is just something so peaceful and serene about the winding canals. Very touristy, very cliché but not one bit disappointing. We did not get to go on a canal ride due to the schizophrenic weather, unfortunately.
Flavoured ciggarettes, Space cakes, Weed coffeeshops, condoms on display, lollipops with cannabis in 7-11, definitely only found in Amsterdam.
De Wallen - the infamous red light district.
Honeslty, it fell a little short of my expectations, nevertheless an interesting sight. I expected a little more.. honesty(?) in the environment, but it felt as if it was another tourist attraction like skits/a show put up to entertain tourist. Then again, it was filled with tourist, so no wonder.
Begijnhof - famous court where Beguines lived
We were eaves dropping to what a guide was explaining to a group of tourist on a walking tour, it's sad to hear about the discrimination the Catholics face because of the taking over of Protestants, and the Begijnhof being the only roman catholic institution existing.
Discrimination is just horrid under ANY circumstance, protestant to catholics, whites to blacks, europeans to asians (vice versa for all). Accompanied with the times i've been subtly discriminated during my time here, just makes me want to ask people, at which point in your life did somebody tell you that you were better than somebody else just because of your skin colour or the language that you speak? But more about this for another time.
Musicians playing on boats in the canals, definitely never boring! Even the guy living in the apartment above the canal stuck his head out to watch these 2 talented men.
Amsterdam by night is just as beautiful, and seemed really safe! Didn't have to constantly be on the look out for people who would randomly "knock" into be on the streets, partly because there weren't that many people to begin with!
On the last morning of our trip, we took a short walk and came across a quiet neighborhood with beautiful flowers along the roadside, and obviously, we had to stop and take photos. Nobody passes up photo opportunities with beautifully bloomed flowers.
Other tourist attraction we visited that we visited included Anne Frank's House (no pictures allowed unfortunately, but a very good musuem to visit), Alkmaar cheese market and Windmills in Zaanse Schans, the Heineken Experience, Vondelpark, Bloemenlarkt (flower market), Dam Square etc. Pictures in the upcoming posts :)
I'll be forever missing Amsterdam. It was such a refreshing change to see streets sans the multitude of cars, the old and young riding on bicycles carrying their luggage in one hand and navigating with another, people cycling along the canals on waterbikes, parties on a boat where everyone sings loudly to random songs as the boat cruises slowly. Amazing city with its own unique charm.
It was such an enjoyable long weekend! Really do hope to visit other cities in Netherlands one day!