Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Holland: Amsterdam

Amsterdam is not at all what I expected. I had in mind a sort of trashy city full of drugs and prostitution and college students creating regretful memories. But what I got was a beautiful city full of sunshine, lovely buildings, stunning waterways, convenient transportation, tons of character, and more bicycles than I have ever seen in one place in my life! Ron and I spent the entire day touring the city and I absolutely did not get my fill. The list of places we would want to return to when we’re done with our vagabond cruise ship life is short, but Amsterdam most definitely makes the list.

In the morning we walked out to Central Station where we hopped on a trolley that took us into the city. A day pass on the trolley system runs roughly $7 US and gives you unlimited use of the transportation for the whole day. And those trolleys go everywhere! So convenient!

Everywhere we roamed was so picturesque and wonderful that I had a hard time not taking pictures of everything in sight. Doesn't this riverboat scene look like it jumped right out of an oil painting? 

We walked by the Anne Frank house where the Frank Family was hidden during the war and where the infamous diary is kept on display in the museum. We wandered the waterways and ventured in some shops. Then we sought out the giant I AMSTERDAM letters in one of the city’s public parks, and had some fun taking pictures.  

I came across this dutch shoe in front of one of the souvenir shops and had to jump in it to take a picture because a bunch of years ago when my friend Christy went to Amsterdam (and I was out of my mind with envy) she came home with the same shot. So here is my homage to one of my best friends. 

Later we decided to go check out the Red Light District to see what all the fuss is about. I was told about the prostitutes in the windows that line the streets of this area of the city by many people who had been to Amsterdam before me - nobody even came close to doing it justice! There are no words to describe the experience of walking up and down these streets and seeing women in lingerie in the windows ready to negotiate rates as if selling their bodies to strangers was as simple as selling apples. I don't have to get on a soapbox for you to know what Ron and I think of that whole idea. But if you're able to separate yourself from the implications, walking around the Red Light District is really a fascinating study of culture.  

That was about all we could take so we headed back to the ship, sad to know that we wouldn't have a chance to return to this amazing city... at least for this contract. 

No comments: