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Published: October 17th 2013
In leaving the lake you must lock through before heading back to Amsterdam.
We typically do not go back to the same place twice as there are so many places to discover, but Amsterdam was on the way back to the North Sea and who could resist stopping again. There is plenty to discover here and we knew the marina here in Amsterdam was very convenient, quite inexpensive and had great facilities.
This time we were able to explore a few of the churches we had not made it to the first time. One that we had read about was “Our Lord in the Attic”. A wealthy merchant, Jan Hartman, bought a prestigious property which he remodeled with a shop on the ground floor and on the first floor he added a very lavish reception room to show off his status to his guests. He was a Catholic, but in Protestant Amsterdam Catholics were prevented from openly practicing their religion starting in 1561. Hartman decided that he would convert the top three floors of his house into a secret Catholic church. This served as a parish house for Catholics for over 200 years from 1663-1887. In 1887 St. Nicholas Church was dedicated as the local Catholic parish, thus eliminating the need for the
Sunny But Cold
Our sail from Enkhuizen was cold and windy - gloves & blankets come in handy!
secret churches. This was not the only secret church in the city, but it was one that as early as 1888 was opened to the public as a museum. It was a fascinating glimpse into the efforts and expense people had gone through to continue to practice their beliefs when it is illegal. At the height of its importance it served almost 200 parishioners.
We went next to St. Nicholas Church which was built between 1884-1887. When you stepped into this church what hit you was how dark it was inside. It is the major Catholic Church of Amsterdam and its’ exterior twin towers dominates the view when you come out of the Central Amsterdam station when you first arrive.
The other place we wanted to see the first time we were in Amsterdam was Begijnhof which dates back to the 14th
century. It is a group of houses built around a courtyard and gardens that had provided homes for the Beguines, a group of unmarried religious women who lived together in a close community under vows of chastity. In this area there are two churches, one is an English Reformed Church, the other a secret Catholic Church
Beautiful Twin Masts Sailing Barge
The winds were good for this twin mast sailing barge to move right along.
where the Beguines worshipped. These homes are now rented out to only females providing a safe haven for those that stay in Amsterdam. The courtyard and the two churches are open to the public on a very limited basis. The English Reformed Church was established to serve the needs of the British residents of Amsterdam and has continued to do so with all of its pastors coming from Scotland. It now serves all English speaking people in the area.
The last place of worship that we saw while in Amsterdam was the Buddhist Temple located in Chinatown. We did not enter the temple but read that much of the building material for it was imported directly from China. There are many more churches that sounded interesting to visit, but that will have to be for another time.
Amsterdam is one of the few places in the world where prostitution is legal and tightly controlled. The part of the city where the storefront prostitutes are located and many of the sex shops are found is referred to as the “ red light district”. All of the tourist information warns you not to take pictures in this area because the
The Same Lighthouse
we had seen in Marken when we spent the day with Diana and Wil earlier.
“working girls” are quite insistent that pictures not be taken. Today prostitutes in the Netherlands are taxpayers, however, discrimination is still part of this trade as some prostitutes report that banks refuse to grant them mortgages. We read that prostitutes as a legal profession are provided medical care in the Netherlands and work in better conditions due to government regulations. Since October 2000 window prostitutes have been allowed to ply their trade. Even when walking through the area in the late afternoon we noticed a few “windows” that had women showing their wares and inviting gentlemen to join them by tapping on the windows. It’s almost a surreal situation as you walk down the streets which are wall-to-wall tourists and in the windows are women in their lingerie basically strutting their stuff. We passed one shop which looked initially like a high-end jewelry store but as we got close we realized they were selling vibrators and other sex toys, for lack of a better term.
It was an interesting juxtaposition of activities today, but Amsterdam invites this with its tolerance of a wide variety of activities which now includes religious freedom for all, legalized prostitution and pot smoking. Legally
It is always strange to see just the tops of buildings on the shorelines here.
you can buy pot at coffee shops and you can actually grow your own as long as you do not have more than 3 plants.
We wanted to do our last provisioning before leaving the Netherlands. We had been told there was a store within biking distance on the marina side of the river so figured we’d try to find it. It was not the easiest store to find, but it did give us some time out on the bikes. We aren’t sure how it will be to use our bikes in the London area, so trying to use them as much as we can now.
We have enjoyed exploring the city of Amsterdam with all that it has to offer. It is an easy city to get around in with plenty of public transportation and most of it within walking distance from the central bus/train/ferry station. Probably the most dangerous thing about the city are the bicycles, they rule the roads and stop for nothing!
The weather predictions are telling us it is time to get out to the coast so we are ready to cross to the UK. We moved on to Ijmuiden to the
Who Is Joining Us In The Lock?
Looking back we saw this traditional twin mast coming in the lock with us.
Seaport Marina. There is not much to say about this marina except that it is large, expensive, with no free wi-fi, and not convenient to the town, but the location is perfect for leaving to cross the North Sea. There was one other thing that struck us about this marina, when we went in to use the facilities there was a sign on the men’s room door stating that it was closed for the winter and that men should use the ladies room. If that is not enough the ladies shower room had a sign on it stating that during the winter the ladies should use the men’s shower facility. I think this is probably the best example of what the local people here call “Being Dutch”. In this case, the saying location, location, location is what sells this place to the visiting sailor. A note to our friends if you can possibly avoid this marina we strongly recommend it (or at least try to stay here as short a time as possible).
We arrived the afternoon of October 5th
and plan to leave for our crossing to the UK early in the morning of October 6th
One of many dry docks you see while traveling toward Amsterdam.
to our time in the Netherlands. It is hard to believe we arrived in the Netherlands on August 14th
, but having a month on the hard took a large chunk of that time. We have enjoyed the places we have seen and were very pleased with the marina that we had repair work done at. All in all, it has been a wonderful visit. But once again it is the people that you meet that make a place memorable. A special thanks go to Louise and Fons and Diana and Wil for giving us their time to make our visit a special one.
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