For those of you who celebrate Happy Easter Sunday! For those who don't I hope you enjoy your long weekend. I still have a couple hundred (seriously) of Portugal photos to edit before I can share them but I did manage to get some of the Amsterdam pictures edited last night and as you can tell, they all have the Spring vibe! Our visit to Amsterdam was really only two days so we tried to make the most of it. We visited Anne Frank's house, and fortunately booked our time slot two months before or we wouldn't have been able to visit as the lineup was 2-3 hours long in a very cold and blowing wind. For those interested in visiting, the price is exactly the same without the lineup when you book in advance. You bypass the line and go to a special door where they buzz you in. You are not permitted to take pictures. Anne Frank's house was very moving and I was brought to tears by the end of the 1.5 hour self-guided tour. If you have ever read the book, as I did in grade school, you will know the story. Hubby had never read it so I ordered it a few months ago and he read it right before the trip with all the details fresh in his mind. This was only one of two things I wanted to do in Amsterdam and we are so glad we did.
Another thing we wanted to do is a Canal Cruise. Only tourists ride these by the way, but it was a nice way of seeing areas of Amsterdam our feet were too tired to take us. We paid 20 Euro each for a 24 hour hop-on-hop-off tour with Canal Bus. We did not take buses or trams but walked everywhere else. It is one of those things you will likely do once on your first visit to Amsterdam, but a bit costly.
If we had avoided all the other tourist traps that Amsterdam has to offer (and there are many) we probably would have enjoyed it a little more but April has the highest crowds and I don't deal with huge crowds very well. In Portugal the crowds were underwhelming so there was no issue. We are not really art lovers so avoided the art museums (would rather look at ancient artifacts). I had one look at Dam Square and they had parked a carnival right in front of the Royal Palace! I don't know who thought that was a great idea but past Kings and Queens must have been rolling over in their graves. Originally we had intended to visit the Palace but that was out of the question with the carnival and crowds.
|View from our Canal Cruise|
|Tourist Cheese Shop|
|Glorious Tulips in Bloom|
|One of the Many Flower Bulb Shops|
If ever in Amsterdam, I do not recommend making a trip specifically to the floating flower markets. You will find bulbs and cheap tourist trinkets, not flowers. As we had gone all the way to the Floating Flower Market we were very near Waterlooplein Market so checked it out. Mostly tourist souvenirs but there were a few small older antique and vintage items. I did pick up one special old souvenir there which I shall share in a later post. So many people there though.
Our favorite market of all was a local non-tourist one located within two blocks of our hotel - the Ten Katemarkt just outside the Jordaan neighborhood which our hotel owner so kindly recommended. You could buy fresh flowers, meat, veggies, cheeses, nuts, fish, drugstore type products, tools, clothes, and the best vegetables. It was clear that those shopping there were picking up groceries and not just tourists. And yes, almost everyone gets around by bike. We spent almost an hour wandering around this market, and I am so glad we found it, definitely worth a trip.
|One of our favorite spots, Ten Katemarkt|
|Flowers at Ten Katemarkt|
|Arrangements at Ten Katemarkt|
|Westerkerk Church, burial place of Rembrandt|
|Canal living, Amsterdam|
That is just a brief overview of our two days in Amsterdam, I will share more in the coming weeks. We have spent the weekend doing laundry, mowing lawn (seriously, it is growing like crazy now on Vancouver Island), cleaning out the fridge (before all the new groceries went in), cleaning the house, getting up to speed on business items, signing our income tax from the accountant, editing photos, and later today, having a nice Easter Sunday BBQ with my Mom. I wish you all a nice relaxing Sunday!