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" Holland - 3 - Amsterdam "

Date & start time:      18th June 2022.

Location of Start :     Haarlem in the Netherlands.

Places visited :          Haarlem to Amsterdam City Centre.

Walk details :              Loes's phone reckoned we walked nearly 8 miles around town.

Highest point :           Discovering the city for me, re-discovering it for Loes.

Walked with :              Loes and Myself (Dylan and Dougal stayed in the UK).

Weather :                     Sunshine and blue skies.


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Today Loes wanted to introduce me to the delights of her home town, Amsterdam.

So with the aid of public transport we left the car behind and ventured forth to see the sights.

There were canals, narrow alleys, "red lights", old churches, markets and we even fitted in a visit to a friend of hers before the day was out.

We first travelled by bus to the centre of Haarlem, in order to catch the train to Amsterdam.

This is a closer view of the bike rack we saw yesterday, now stacked up with a busy upper tier (the rack tilts to help you store your bike).

- - - o o o - - -


Using our travel card we accessed the station

and took the walkway underpass

to reach a more central platform.


Alongside the steps was a well seasoned wooden shute

which turned out to be a bike rail

for those wishing to take their bikes onto the train itself.


You don't ride it . . . you just run the bike wheel in the trough !

It means you can avoid bouncing up (or down) the steps.


- - - o o o - - -

The train on the left looks remarkably large, until you realise it has double-decker carriages.

On the busy commuter routes and main lines, an extra set of seats upstairs increases capacity.

In no time at all we arrive in Amsterdam and stand outside Central Station to admire the architecture and the views.

The tram stop is next to the main railway buildings, which makes onward journeys a lot easier later on.

The tram infrastructure however does increase the aerial clutter above the street.

I wouldn't fancy being a pigeon trying to navigate that lot !

We walk across towards the Park Plaza, Victoria Hotel, Amsterdam.

Between the station and the canal is a fine old building, still in use as a cafe.

Loes tells me that an great uncle of her's used to own and run the establishment . . . posh or what !

The cafe and station are also well placed for the tourist boats that ply their trade around the waterways of the city.

However I decline a guided tour as I have my own guide alongside me as we walk the city.

There's so much she wants to show me.

Plenty of boats available to hire.

The city is full of old buildings . . .
. . . and narrow streets.

This was the Trompettersteeg, regarded as Amsterdam's narrowest street at just 1 metre wide.

Despite its small size it is one of the busiest alleys in the town, due to its fame and its proximity to the Red Light district . . .

Ladies of the night (and the day) are available if requested !
Low energy red lights instead of the old filament light bulbs ?

Apparently Loes was telling me that the authorities have encouraged the trade to move to the suburbs to avoid the large concentration here in the city.

[ Unfortunately this has only spread the profession and made it more obvious to those that wouldn't normally come into contact with it.]

There's a museum of erotica in an old canal-side warehouse.
On the bridge someone has provided a bike for photography.

Old Sailors and younger visitors are most welcome at the pub.

Unintentionally I photographed this sign.

Please use the street urinal where provided.

We walk on to the circa 1488 Waag building . . . the Weigh-House or weights and measures department of its day.

It now houses a nice looking restaurant . . . "Cafe in the Waag".

Behind it is one of larger market squares of the city . . . this one is Nieuwmarket.

More fun and games . . . of a specific nature.
Many "Coffee Shops" and this museum shop, are as a result of Hollands relaxed drugs laws.

However, only cannabis is legal and in small doses.  It must be consumed indoors or at home as it is illegal to smoke in the street.

Apparently the trade survives by virtue of the tourists as locals don't indulge as much as people think they do.

This is the former Stock Exchange Buildings, now used for events and exhibitions.

This is also a fine example of a multi-use street . . . pedestrian pavements, the adjacent cycle ways and a combined road and tram area.

It's up to you not to get confused and to keep your wits about you all the time !

Hen Parties are the same worldwide ?

The bride to be on the plinth reads a series of "vows or promises" out loud to her friends.

It was but a short walk (all theses short walks add up of course) to reach the Royal Palace at Dam Square.

Here an old style tram waits to take visitors on a scenic tour of town.

The central square is busy and there's a familiar name on the building opposite.

This model has her 'publicity photo' taken in front of the Palace.
This lady in a local shopping arcade doesn't quite have the same smile !
Narrow streets and hidden doorways . . . to an old Children's Orphanage.
Between the shop fronts is the entrance to a church.
The Church of De Papegaai (The Parrot).
A beautiful quiet sanctuary in a busy city.

The Church in Kalverstraat is dedicated to St Peter and St Paul.

This was previously a secret Catholic church during the times of The Reformation and is a secret architectural gem of Amsterdam.

It is nicknamed "De Papegaai" (The Parrot) because a bird-trader's house once stood in front of it, so as to disguise its presence.

The old statue above the doorway implies a clothing shop . . .
Close by, a more modern shop selling more up-to-date clothing.

[ The C&A sign means that the Dutch Clothing Company still exists despite closing all its stores in the UK.]


A former women's religious community . . .

The entrance to the hidden courtyard of Begijnenhof.
with houses & a serene courtyard dating to the 15th century.

Rembrandt Square, another city park and cafe area.

- - - o o o - - -


This building was apparently

the Royal Mint for Holland.


Legend has it that coins could be tested for quality

by throwing them off the top of the tower

and checking how much they were damaged

by the long fall and hard cobbles of the street below.


- - - o o o - - -

Talking of money, this was the old Bank that Loes worked in a few years ago now.

She had a nostalgic look into the old staff entrance before we walked on.

Back across one of the major canals as a party of lads go cruising by.

A sleek tourist boat negotiates the bends and bridges of the area.

- - - o o o - - -


Many of the houses and shops of the area

have more unusual businesses within.


This is a small cinema

with an entrance onto the street.



"Everything, everywhere, all at once"

Quo Vadis, Aida ?

Showgirls    Futur Drei   Men  Elvis."


Take your pick !


- - - o o o - - -

This (rather shaky) picture however is of the more upmarket Amsterdam Internationaal Theatre.

They specialise in classical and experimental plays, music and dance.

Our journey led next to the Rijksmuseum where we walked through the main archway . . .

. . . and emerged onto the other side.

The museum is the main art galley of Holland housing Dutch Masterpieces and a vast European art collection

including Rembrandt's Night Watch

Van Gogh however has his own dedicated building, a striking new piece of modern architecture.

In the same area of town , The Concertgebouw, a 19th Century concert hall famed for its fine acoustics and it is still in use for classical and pop music.

It was currently undergoing some building renovations, hence the scaffolding.

- - - o o o - - -

Time to be heading back to the station, but not before visiting another famous and important area of town.

This is Albert Cuyp Straat where there's a street market every day except Sundays.

A long street full of all types of produce to buy.

A full range of ice-covered fish on offer at the fishmonger's.

At the top end of the street was an important building for Loes . . .
. . . this is where she was born and lived her early years.

Her childhood was memorable for the communal weekly bath with the other kids of the street, when she was sent to the

Gemeente Badhuis (bath house) to be washed.   The building is still the same though it is no longer used for that original purpose.

The name still stands proudly on the building . . .
. . . but it is now a cafe restaurant and bar.    Cheers !

- - - o o o - - -

It was a reasonably long walk, through more interesting streets and across more canal bridges, back to the Central Station.

There we used our travel cards again to catch a tram and call on a friend out in the suburbs.

- - - o o o - - -



People watching is always a great past time

on the trams and busses.


You can also catch the briefest glimpses

of interesting houses and their windows as you pass.


This one had a collection of old dolls

inside an equally old window frame !



- - - o o o - - -

Meet mary, one of Loes's oldest friends.
Loes swapped memories and I, photos of home and the holiday so far.

After a lovely meal and time on her balcony, we returned to the city centre.

That looks like Central Station over there, where we'll catch our train back to Haarlem

and return to our accommodation for the night once again.

- - - o o o - - -

Technical note: Pictures taken with my Panasonic Lumix Gx8 Camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

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Previous walk - 16th June 2022 - Holland - 2 - Zaandam

Next walk - 20th June 2022 - 4 - Naarden and The Hague