Canal strolling

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NETHERLANDS

AMSTERDAM

August 2014 • Nikon P310 camera


UNESCO World Heritage site
17th century canal ring area

Dark and grey were the sky when I finally arrived at Amsterdam central station. It reminded me of Berlin's central station, with its large platforms and arched roof. The quickest and cheapest option to get from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam city center is by rail. There are frequent trains and only takes 15 minutes.

Outside the station, a familiar sight famous for Amsterdam... rows and rows of bicycles. It was around 10:45am and I had a couple of sights to see around this area before I made my way to my hotel. I hoped it would not rain, as I planned to walk to my hotel which would take around 45 minutes. This will allow me time to see more of the city and take photos.


EYE film institiute

IJpromenade 1, 1031KT Amsterdam
www.eyefilm.nl

The first sight I had on my list was the EYE film institute designed by Delugan Meissl architects. An awe-inspiring modern building with a sloping large roof, gave a futuristic feeling dressed all in white. Built on an artificial island located behind the Centraal Station, you have to catch a 5 minute ferry ride across

The building itself, while looking big on the outside, was disappointingly small inside. The interior is a nice mix of wooden floors, white walls and large glass windows. Areas within include exhibition spaces, interactive displays, cinemas and a restaurant/bar. If you are into architecture, interior design or a movie buff it is definitely worth a visit. If not, you can still take a picture across the river of this magnificent building.


ARCAM

Prins Hendrikkade 600, 1011 VX AMSTERDAM

The center of architecture (ACRAM) is a unique small building near the waterfront. Designed by Dutch architect René van Zuuk, the building has a distinctive folded aluminum surface that makes it stand out and gives it character unto itself. The side walls exposed in a glass facade on each side, allowed light into the building as well as the view from the waterfront on one side.

While impressive on the outside, it was tiny and narrow inside. The 3 stores building had a shop, exhibition space and gallery. From here I made my way in the rain to my hotel.


Did you know...

Amsterdam has more canals than Venice. With 165 canals, Amsterdam has 15 more than Venice. It is often called the “Venice of the North”





Jordaan and the Western Canals

After a brief rest at my hotel (and a change of dry clothes) I ventured out once again. Following a walking tour from my Lonely Planet guide book, I started off at the Singel canal. It has Amsterdam's oldest bridge, Torensluis, as well as the stature of Multalui, the Dutch literary giant. From here, I walked along the Herengracht canal (gentleman's canal) named because of all the wealthy owners that used to live here. Next up is often described as one of the prettiest canals in Amsterdam, the Brouwersgracht (Brewer's canal). By now the sun was poking out of the clouds and beginning to set, filling the blue sky with a warm orange light that made for a great atmosphere.

The Keizersgracht (Emperor canal) named after Emperor Maximilian of Austria followed. The whole area was picturesque and charming with boats slowly moving up and down the canal. The narrow homes lined up with large windows, curtains open, inviting you to look through as you walk past. It was a nice, calm area for canal strolling.


Turning into Prinsengracht I crossed over to walk around the Jordaan area for a bit, with small cafes and boutique shops. Next I made my way to the Anne Frank Hauis, where Anne Frank wrote her famous diary while she hid from the Nazis for over two years.

Unfortunately I did not get a chance to go in due to the long que outside. If you plan to visit turn up early! With the sun now set, I decided to head back to the city center and catch a tram back to my hotel for the night.

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The next day...

The next morning I decided to wonder around the canals before I visited some of the museums in Amsterdam.

The weather was a lot better thnn yesterday. Below are some shots that I took that day.


Final thoughts

This was a last-minute trip with not much money for me to spend, so I missed out on sampling food. I spent more time wandering around the canals in Amsterdam then I had expected too, which was a nice surprise. But that also meant the time I had planned to visit other places did not happen. Catching trams around the city is easy and cheap. But only take it if you are feeling really tired. Whenever possible walk as much as you can, as it is the best way to see Amsterdam.

While I was walking around the city center, even at night, it felt safe. Yes the nightlife is how everyone describes it. The famous red light district is a magnet for those that are curious or tempted by what is on display. Stag and Hen groups roam around drunk and loud on the small pebble streets. But it was all good-natured and fun with no trouble around when I was there.


Explore more of the Netherlands



ROTTERDAM

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An architectural walking tour of the modern city of Rotterdam

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