Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Last Full Day in Amsterdam


Amsterdam is famous for its canals

Amongst other things . . .

A quick coffee to start the day

Tuesday would be my last full day in Amsterdam, so I was was up early to start another round of sightseeing.

But the coffee was not enough to start the day, I needed something more and I knew just the place.

Silent Assassins at Rest

Although I needed sustenance, I still had to remember to be en garde for bikes like these.

Bicycling is a major form of transportation in Holland's capital city but they can easily sneak up on you when you walk the streets. I've had a couple of close calls already.

Meanwhile, back at breakfast, it was time for . . .

An apple and blueberry pancake
at Sara's Pancake House

The blueberries were rich in anti-oxidents and the powdered sugar was just flat out good.

After this healthy start to my day, I decided to walk back up to Amsterdam's Centraal Station to take another view of the ornate train station.

Red and Gold

Which way is the wind blowing?

10:15, I've got to get going

Thanks for reminding me about my umbrella

I decided to amble through the Red Light District, it is a main tourist area and not as seedy as people might think.

I'm going in!

And so is this truck!

It was a tight squeeze but he made it.

I don't think it was his first ever delivery to the Red Light District.

Red Light Windows on the left

Interesting . . . "No, thank you. I'm just looking."

They don't sell coffee

But they do have other stimulants on tap so to speak.

The Red Light District later tonight

The Red Light District has more than hookers and drugs to offer. For example there is the Amstelkring Museum, a.k.a., Our Lord in the Attic Church/Museum Ons' Lieve Heer op Solder.

While Amsterdam is noted for its tolerant attitudes to differing lifestyles, it wasn't so for Catholics back in the 16th century during the Protestant Reformation.

From 1578-1795, Catholicism in Amsterdam was illegal but tolerated. When hardline Protestants came into power in 1578, Catholic churches were vandalized and shut down. Since Catholics could not practice their religious beliefs publicly, they were forced to gather for Mass in homes and offices.

In 1663, a wealthy Catholic merchant built this church in the upper floors of his house for Catholics to worship in private.

Three buildings were combined
in order too build this church

Talk about a room addition.

Our Lord in the Attic

Simple Holy Water Bowl

Wavy Blown Glass Window

This is a view of a nearby house as seen through an old window in the Our Lord in the Attic Church.

Van Gogh-like don't you think?

A laurel wreathed skull
is always a good thing

Right?

CNN's favorite African music group

This group is featured ad nauseum on CNN, my only English language TV channel back in Switzerland. Their sound is good, but CNN needs to give them a rest.

Nice Street Juxtaposition

Rio Mesa H.S.
Special Education Department?

Have Albert and Gonzo secretly opened a restaurant near the Red Light District?

I saw this establishment on my way to Begijnhof, an idyllic courtyard in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Amdterdam.

An ornate building across from the Begijnhof

This simple doorway leads to . . .

The Begijnhof Courtyard

Quiet and peaceful indeed and full of flowers like . . .

These and . . .

This Tulip

This figure atop the courtyard led me to . . .

Another hidden Catholic Chapel

Same reason for this hidden chapel as with the Our Lord in the Attic Church that I visited earlier.

I found this nice carving in this chapel

One for Kevin and one for Jacob

Time to board the #24 tram for the ride out to a piece of sports history.

Amsterdam's Olympic Stadium

The 1928 Summer Olympic Track and Field events were held in this 22,000 seat stadium.

The old Olympic Salute

It would have a totally different meaning just a few years after these Games.

The Olympic Motto

A nice little Olympic Museum
is housed here too

I would be destined to hit my head yet again for about the 20th time in the last two months on a low beamed area of the Olympic Museum drawing official Olympic blood this time.

This gold plate shows
the 1928 Olympic events

A relief inside the stadium

Discus Area

Although the Games were held here 84 years ago, the stadium is in great shape having been improved over the years due to solid renovation plans. They are currently plans to expand the stadium to seat upwards of 30,000 fans.

A new Olympic Event:
The Quadruple Jump

It is the Triple Jump with a Slam Dunk move required between the Triple Jump's normal second and third leaps.

Paavo Nurmi's Olympic outfit

The Amsterdam Olympics were the last ones for the Flying Finn.

Nurmi won three Gold Medals (10,000 meters, Individual Cross Country and Team Cross Country) and a Silver Medal (5,000 meters) in the distance races at the 1920 Antwerp Olympics.

He won another five Gold Medals (1,500 meters, 5,000 meters, Individual Cross Country, 5,000 meters Team Cross Country and 3,000 meters Team Cross Country) at the 1924 Paris Olympics.

At Amsterdam he earned his final Gold Medal (10,000 meters) and two more Silvers (5,000 meters and 3,000 meters Steeplechase).

His final Olympic medal count was an astouding NINE Gold Medals and three Silver Medals.

This is the outfit he wore in Amsterdam during his final Gold Medal run.

Dutch Olympic Superstar

She was the first woman to ever win four Gold Medals (100 meters, 200 meters, 80 meters Hurdles and 4 x 100 meter relay). She accomplished all of this at the 1948 London Summer Olympic Games.

When she competed in London, she was a 30 year old mother of two and earned the nickname the Flying Houswife.

From here, I went back to the central Amsterdam area just checking out the architecture and the canals. I even took a 75 minute, soothing canal boat ride.

Here are some of the canal sights for your perusal . . .

Near the Red Light District

The Rijksmuseum in the distance

A wide canal leading to the sea

From the canal boat ride perspective

Serene

You just have to have a boat

Tall and Skinny

Back in the day, house taxes were based on the width of a dwelling at ground level.

Thus people built up, not out.

Pleasant

Based in Amsterdam,
Ajax is Holland's #1 Soccer team

They had a XXXL (probably XL in America) T-shirt style jersey on sale for a very reasonable price, so I bought it.

I continued on to the Jewish Quarter.

The Dutch Theater

Once a very lively theater in the heart of the Jewish Quarter, during World War II this theater was used as an assembly hall for local Jews destined for Nazi concentration camps.

Approximately 70,000 of the 104,000 Amsterdam Jews deported and killed by the Nazis spent time here.

No longer a theater, it now houses a memorial to these Holocaust victims.

Memorial Tulips

These tulips and notes are left by school children at the courtyard of the Dutch Theater.
More opportunites to get run over

Entry to the Portuguese Synagogue

I wore a yamaha to enter

Make that a yarmulke.

Jewish Altar

It was time to work my way back towards the Dam Square but there would still be a lot of photo ops along the way.

Statues of Farmers

Jake and Elwood

A Stamp Maker

Canal House Doorway Sun and . . .

Stars

Of course, I saw a lot of very interesting canal houses.

A Leaning One

Since most of Amsterdam is built on land reclaimed from the sea, this can be a real problem.

I like the one on the right too

Similar style but a different canal house

A busy downtown canal street

Near the Dutch Theater

I still like red brick

Maybe I just like red
buildings in general . . .

That must be it

It was time for dinner so I opted to try Indonesian food, a first for me, at the urging of Ryan Bolland whose father was born in the Netherlands.

You may recall the Dutch East India Trading Company from your history books. That colonial experience led to a plethora of Indonesian restaurants in Amsterdanm today.

Restaurant Kantjil en de Tijger

Ryan said to try the rijsttafels. These are traditional rice dishes with lots of small courses but they are only for two or more people at a cost of 47+ Euros.

Instead, the waiter directed me to this very large plate full of items called "Bami Goreng Kantjil" from the rijsttafels' menu. It was very deliciously spicy and a bargain for only 14 Euros.

Good call Ryan!

One of the great things about old cities like Amsterdam is the random art all over the city. Here are some examples:

On the Westerkerk, a church
near the Anne Frank House

No word from Interpol yet as to the whereabouts of my pilfered umbrella.

Red Light District

Red Light District

Red Light District

Red Light District

Atop a canal house

Begijnhof Courtyard

Begijnhof Courtyard

Begijnhof Courtyard

Jacob, is that you?

Begijnhof Courtyard

Begijnhof Courtyard

Marilyn, is that you?

Begijnhof Courtyard

Canal house near the port

A light post on a bridge

Another light post on the same bridge

All told, another very interesting day in a very unique European capital.

1 comment:

David said...

Actually, make it a yarmulke that you wore into the synagogue.

Now if you'll excuse me, I think I'm going to go stock up on powdered sugar, since there seems to be a run in the Netherlands that's causing an international shortage.