Can you guess what Amsterdam has in common with Denver? No, it’s not the scenic canals or the red-light district. It’s the occasional smell of marijuana in the air. Beyond that, the two cities don’t have too much in common. After we found our hotel, we walked around a bit, and I was surprised at how many people were walking around the city. I guess a lot of people are traveling for the Easter weekend.
We wandered aimlessly down some touristy narrow streets packed with people until we found an old church. We were contemplating whether we wanted to pay to see the inside when I noticed something odd: women in bikinis and lingerie in some nearby windows. Oh, we stumbled on the red-light district. Maybe it’s because it was in the middle of the afternoon, but it didn’t seem that risqué or sexy. Maybe it’s different at night.
The other noticeable thing about Amsterdam is all the bikes! I’m not talking about the bikes people are actually riding, I’m referring to all the bikes locked up along every street and sidewalk. Caroline read somewhere that there are more bikes than people in this city, and I can easily believe it. I mean, they are parked and locked up everywhere! And near the train station we were speechless at the racks and racks of bike parking. Sometimes there are multi-leveled bike parking garages. It’s really amazing how many bikes there are here.
The next morning we tried to get an early start so we could visit the Anne Frank house museum before the lines got too long. Silly us, the line was already a few blocks long by the time we arrived! So instead we walked to the nearby Rijksmuseum. This museum has works by masters like Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Vermeer, and others. We walked around looking at lovely art works until our feet were tired. It seems like our feet always give out before we’ve seen our fill of museums.
After the Rijksmuseum we had a nice walk around a nearby city park and then returned to our hotel along streets full of tourists. This is a very scenic city with the canals and all the old houses built right up next to each other. That evening we ventured out again for dinner at a nearby vegetarian restaurant. While walking back to the hotel I was surprised to see a few more red-light windows not far from our hotel. I guess the red-light district here isn’t restricted to just one neighborhood. And it wasn’t really any more interesting at night. Maybe it’s because the women look so bored, sitting there on their phones or just looking out the window at passersby.
Tomorrow we’ll be catching a train to the nearby city of Utrecht to meet the woman who will help us buy and register a camper which we’ll be driving around Europe for a few months. We can’t wait!