Amsterdam for Easter!

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March 29th 2005
Published: March 29th 2005
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Girl In A Giant Wooden ShoeGirl In A Giant Wooden ShoeGirl In A Giant Wooden Shoe

Obligatory tourist photo
Easter is a 4 day weekend in Germany so I took advantage of having an extra day off and headed for Amsterdam in The Netherlands. It’s a city filled with canals (165), bikes (600,000) and tulips (sorry, too many to count).
I arrived in Amsterdam by train on Good Friday a few hours before the tour group I was meeting was due to arrive so I headed for the Van Gogh Museum. The museum has the world’s largest collection of Van Gogh paintings in the world as well as works by other artists. I bought myself a poster in the gift shop. (The Yellow House, 1888)
I figured this would be my Amsterdam souvenir as opposed to tacky wooden shoes or windmills. ;-)
I met with the group just in time for dinner and then we head out to the Red Light District and take in a show at Theatre Casa Rosso. Sorry folks, no pictures allowed in the Red Light District.

On Saturday I visited Keukenhof Gardens just outside the city. The park is filled with tulips and other flowers as well as sculptures. Bulb growers from all over Holland compete to have their flowers displayed here. After lunch it’s a visit to the Anne Frank Museum
Canal Houses and HouseboatsCanal Houses and HouseboatsCanal Houses and Houseboats

In the past there was a severe housing shortage in Amsterdam. Residents were permitted to live in house boats on the canals as long as they had the city’s permission. Housing is no longer an issue in the city and I actually some “To Koop” (For Sale) signs on a few of these floating houses. Anyone want to go halves?
where you can walk through the house where the Frank family was in hiding during WW2. The day is finished with a booze cruise on the city’s canals.

Sunday was a busy day. The days starts with a visit to a cheese making and clog making farm. Then a bike ride through the beautiful town of Edam. Lunch in the seaside town of Volendam then back to the city for a diamond display at one of the city’s diamond factories. I finish off the afternoon at the Rijks Museum where you’ll find art work by Dutch artists as well as a large collection of Rembrandt’s paintings.

Before catching the train back to Heidelberg on Monday I have time for some shopping and a canal cruise. The canals are lined with “canal house”. These houses where built narrow and deep. Apparently the reason for their narrowness is because at one time home owners along the waterways were taxed based on the width of their homes. Therefore, they were built narrow but long. Also along the canal are many houseboats. At one time there was a housing shortage in Amsterdam and residents were permitted to live in houseboats.

Additional photos below
Photos: 16, Displayed: 16


Keukenhof GardensKeukenhof Gardens
Keukenhof Gardens

Tulip beds in the park at the Keukenhof Gardens.
Cyclist At KeukenhofCyclist At Keukenhof
Cyclist At Keukenhof

Sculpture of a Cyclist at Keukenhof Gardens. Very appropriate to see a cyclist amongst the tulips. :-)
Tiptoe through the tulipsTiptoe through the tulips
Tiptoe through the tulips

Oh so pretty! Where’s my ukulele?
Statue of Anne FrankStatue of Anne Frank
Statue of Anne Frank

This statue of Anne Frank is near by the Anne Frank museum. At the museum you can walk through the house where the Frank family were in hiding during the Second World War.
Cyclist At KeukenhofCyclist At Keukenhof
Cyclist At Keukenhof

Sculpture of a Cyclist at Keukenhof Gardens. Very appropriate to see a cyclist amongst the tulips. :-)
Cheese making demonstrationCheese making demonstration
Cheese making demonstration

They make Edam cheese here. Boy do cheese factories stink.
Wooden Clog MakingWooden Clog Making
Wooden Clog Making

There are actually different styles of clogs for different purposes. Fishing, gardening, wedding...
Diamonds are a girl’s best friendDiamonds are a girl’s best friend
Diamonds are a girl’s best friend

At the diamond factory we had a lesson on the pricing of diamonds. Then we were shown diamonds of various qualities. On the far left is a rare pink diamond. The centre is a HUGE 1gram River diamond worth €12,500 (that’s approximately $19,600CDN). Wait a second….where did that diamond go?? Security! Actually, the demonstrator put it in a ring and was letting the girls try it on.
Gables on the canal housesGables on the canal houses
Gables on the canal houses

See the beams containing hooks in the gables of these houses? A friend on my tour explained that they are used to hoist furniture up to the upper levels of the house. Because the houses were built so narrow and have extremely narrow and steep stair cases it made it impossible to get furniture up from the ground floor. So furniture has to be brought in through the windows.
Sailboats in the canal in EdamSailboats in the canal in Edam
Sailboats in the canal in Edam

Edam is a small town on the outskirts of Amsterdam. Here we rented bicycles and rode around the quaint little town.
Edam DykesEdam Dykes
Edam Dykes

Looking out to the sea
Windmill at EdamWindmill at Edam
Windmill at Edam

This windmill operates for 1 and a half hours per day pumping water out of the canals so that it remains at a safe level. I’m told that windmill operators live inside the windmill for free and are paid very well for these jobs. Usually windmills bear the name of the daughter of the windmill operator. This one does not have a name on it. The story is that the girl who was born here by the original windmill operator was handicapped. Her father was not proud of her and therefore never put her name on the windmill.
Map to AmsterdamMap to Amsterdam
Map to Amsterdam

Amsterdam is approximately 500 kilometres from Heidelberg.

29th March 2005

Happy Birthday, Wee!
Very cool giant shoe! It's no monkey helmet, though... - Darouk

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