Amsterdam - Day 2


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Oceans and Seas » Atlantic » Atlantis
August 17th 2014
Published: November 10th 2017
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Geo: 52.3622, 4.89179

So today, I headed for Anne Franks house, got lost, worked out where I was, made a second start, got lost, found my way back to the Dam (centre square) thought screw you Anne, I'm going to the Royal Palace instead, cause I can see it, its right there! Whoever designed this city has spent way to much time in its coffee shops....or maybe one needs to spend time in the coffee shops to understand the streets. I don't know, what I do know is I got lost..... A lot!

So the Royal Palace...now thats what I call a palace, silly Frenchies don't know what they are doing. I know they had a revolution and all, but if the palace is no longer a palace, call it something else. The palace was actually the town hall until the early 1800's when Luis Bonaparte, (one of Napolean's relos) converted it to the Royal Palace. Many of the decorations inside are from that era. The displays were really good, and the audio guides were free! The guide went through every room explaining its original purpose and what had been done with the room since. In the main hall there was a map of the "known" world on the floor. Australia was there (New Holland) but it looked a bit funny, Oz and PNG were combined in a weird way.

After the Royal Palace, I headed over to the De Nieuwe Kerk (the new church) which is about 600 years old. This is where Dutch royalty get married and inaugurated. It was really well organised. Unlike other churches I've visited, this one charged an entry fee and gave out audio guides. The guides on the history of the church were fantastic. While it is still used for mass and royal functions (and they do love their royals here) the church gets used for a lot of different functions, fashion shows, exhibitions, etc. I think that's a really clever way of keeping the church involved in the community.

After the church I tried to return to my hotel because I'd cleverly left my camera in my room. Guess what...got lost again. It was pouring with rain so I decided to duck into a pub for lunch. Over lunch I was able to figure out where I was and make my way back to my hotel. Picked up my camera and made a second attempt at finding Anne Franks house. I must be getting better at this because I managed to find it this time. But the queue was five miles long, so I took a boat ride instead. I'll need to figure out how to get priority tickets if I'm going to see Annies place.

The boat ride was cool. They pointed out the hooks under the gables on most of the houses. Because the doorways and stairwells are so narrow, when Dutchies move house they can't get their furniture in the door, so they hoist it up the outside of the building and through the window. Talk about doing it the hard way. The guide also pointed out the houseboats which lined the canals, this is because there is still a housing crisis in the dam, so many people live on the canal. I wondered if these were the trailer parks of the dam. Some of them certainly looked worse for wear. Others however looked more like permanent structures. They must be the long term unemployed.

After my boat ride I returned to the hotel for a rest and some blogging. Later on I went out to the infamous Red Light District. As expected I got lost on the way there. I took the wrong street and ended up walking to central station instead. I was only one canal away. I consulted my map and started on take two. At first I didn't see much aside from a few toy stores. Berating myself as I walked along, of course I would be the only visitor to come to Amsterdam and completely miss the RLD. Theres a sex shop, theres a souvenir shop, a cafe, oh theres a naked lady in the window! I guess I found it! Gotta say, I was kinda disappointed. Maybe it was the image I had in my mind. When I'd heard wide eyed tales of this place I'd imagined streets and streets of girls in windows and sex shops like some great orgiastic basin. The reality was a bit of a let down. I think they had more restaurants and coffee shops than anything else. Actually I think it would be a really cool neighborhood to eat in. Food that is, I know what you're thinking you dirty birds!

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