Day two in Amsterdam, and wow, what a day of culture, the good and bad variety. Caught the bus from my hotel to Schipol Airport which took around 10 minutes then caught a train into Central station Amsterdam, about a 15 minute journey. The station itself is a beautiful building of massive proportions. It's located on right on the canal/river and looks wonderful from the street.
I left the station and started my 12 hour non stop walk around the city. Ouch, I must have walked a million miles, I was so stuffed by the end of the day. Who said being a tourist you had to be fit, I should have done a pre season before setting off to get in shape.
First stop was to look at Westerkerk, the highest tower in Amsterdam, a pretty building with gold accents and statues on the top of it. I wanted to climb it but there was a 3 hour wait, so I gave it a miss. It's located right next to Anne Franks house. I took some photos of the front of the house but again, I would have to wait to enter as the line for the attraction was bending down the street. To hell with that I thought so took off.
These two attractions are right on the canal, on the western side of the city so I followed the canal south (heading away from the station) and took lots of photos of the canals, houses and streets. The next stop was 'Nine little streets' a group of streets famous for its shopping. I found a nice café and sat down for lunch, sitting outside where I was watching the world go by. A man wondered up and started playing his concertina for a few minutes which I thought was nice, then tried to hit me up for money after he'd finished. Fat chance of that, I didn't ask for it.
Next I wanted to make my way to the museums and went via Leidseplein, basically a little square where some people were performing and lots of eateries surrounding it. Its also where the theatres area, again, beautiful old buildings.
The Rijksmuseum (Rembrandt) and Van Gogh museum are next to each other. Each cost around 14 euro so I decided to look at Van Gogh. I spent the next couple of hours looking at over 200 of his paintings and drawings and getting a great history lesson in the process. There was also some Monet paintings on display, I can't believe that I've actually seen this art with my own two eyes, kind of awesome.
Next stop was to walk down to Rembrandtplein, another town square with a big statue of Rembrandt and water features. I then continued back south passing Kalverstraat another shopping district until I got to Dam square the towns major square. It is really big and they had a kids 5 side soccer tournament going on. I took this opportunity to take a rest for a while and marvel at kids from 7-12 years old play soccer like Maradonna. Both boys and girls.
So now it was getting late so I took a deep breath and headed into the red light district. Girls in windows, some ridiculously hot others, errr, not so, places you could pay to watch people shag, lot's of people both male and female of all ages, kids included walking the streets having a perve, it was something else thats for sure.
After having a look around I called it a day and headed back to the hotel.
*** Some random things today, I saw a guy get hit off his scooter by a car, the idiot was not wearing a helmet either, he was ok though. A guy tried to sell me cocaine and Ecstasy. I'm pretty sure he spoke English because he seemed to understand my response rather well. The amount of "coffee shops" was staggering were you buy the legal drugs. I wanted to go inside and have a look around but the stench coming from them of the marijuana was quite literally making me sick in the stomach. How they people who work in those places last all day is beyond me. Can't be good for them, I wonder what the occupational health and safety is like in the Netherlands. Oh, and they have these outside open public urinals for the guys where you literally take a pee and everyone can see you. I've added a photo in the photo section. I took me ages to build up the courage and have a go, I had a bit of stage fright.***