Amsterdam. Wow. What a nuthouse! This city is an audacious assortment of confusion-causing norms–confusing to the visitor, that is. “Ladies of the night” selling their “wares” next to churches, “coffee shops” selling marijuana, and maps containing the names of canals, not streets.
We’ve spent three days here – that’s a long time for us to stay in one place. But in our opinion, Amsterdam is the most liveable of the cities we’ve visited on this trip.
Here we’ve been to the Anne Frank Huis, where we crouched into the annex through the little opening behind the famed bookshelf and stood in the very rooms Anne and her family lived in for two years while hiding from the Nazis. We’ve also visited Rijksmuseum where we peered at Rembrandts and the Van Gogh Museum where we followed the famous artist’s progressive works from his early days through his tragic death. We toured the under-renovation Royal Palace of Amsterdam and the fairly interesting Bible Museum.
We also ventured into the Red Light District to visit Our Lord in the Attic, a tiny Catholic church situated in the attics of three narrow canal houses, built during the 1600s when the practice of Catholocism was prohibited in Amsterdam, and nearby Oude Kerk.
The oldest buidling in Amsterdam, this church was originally built around 1200 and reinforced with stone around 1300.
It has a beautiful and unusual wooden ceiling and wonderful acoustics, which we witnessed through an organ performance. Just outside the church, we gawked at the brass breast embedded into the brick street and looked straight ahead as we walked back out of the Red Light District, past those infamous little window stalls.
Our favorite Amsterdam site, though, has to be the locals and their bicyles. Bicylces are EVERYWHERE! And the locals are quite patient as they navigate the tiny, winding streets through hordes of oblivious tourists. This city is interesting, the canals beautiful, and the people generous. We are very happy to conclude our trip here.