Sunday, April 21, 2013


One feels like they have stepped into a Charles Dickens novel when walking around central Amsterdam. Softly flowing canals reflect the skinny 17th and 18th century four-story brick homes with large shutters and window boxes while the locals zip by on old bicycles down narrow cobblestone streets. Boutiques and small cafes line block after block and the good looking Dutch don't seem to mind the cool weather while enjoying a beer out on a patio.

As much fun as we had just walking around and observing daily life in this romantic city we figured we should check out some of their world famous museums. Of course no trip to Amsterdam is complete without visiting the Anne Frank House but we also decided to go a little more in depth about the Nazi occupation by visiting the Resistance Museum which was very well done. Rembrandt lived and created most of his work in Amsterdam and his house has been turned into a museum. It was cool to see some of his most famous pieces displayed the way he had them arranged in his house. The Maritime Museum was very visually stimulating and they even have a 17th century ship in the harbor as part of the tour.

Since we were in Amsterdam we figured we also had to visit a few of the other places they are known for, mainly the red light district and coffee shops. Scantily clad women up and down the beauty scale working the worlds oldest profession stand in small glass booths winking at the single men as they walk by. Window shopping for the lonely and desperate. It's confined to only one street and rather near the city center so you almost stumble upon it by accident.

The coffee shops on the other hand are not confined to one area and can be found throughout the city. Most are reminiscent of any coffee shop in the US with the major exception of the smell of marijuana as opposed to coffee beans in the air and the baristas being called 'dealers'. Being they are not allowed to serve alcohol they make for a pretty low key atmosphere. We loved our time in Amsterdam but with Paris being our next stop we were excited to continue on our journey to the city of lights.

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