Romantic Amsterdam

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Although it rained for the most part,  Amsterdam treated me very well. The city is sometimes dubbed as the “Venice of the North” because of the many canals that exudes a very romantic elegance. These developments began mostly during city’s golden age in Europe sometime back during the 17th century.

As a result, for an adventure in Amsterdam today, one can come across hundreds of narrow streets with so many cute little shops and cafes, hundreds of canals to cross or gaze out into the waters, and thousands of small little islands that make up the city.

We took the train from Mönchengladbach, Germany because it only took two hours and costed only 20€! Arriving in Amsterdam’s very handsome main station:

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Amsterdam main train station

After leaving der Vaterland and into Dutch world, I went a little crazy photographing all the types of Dutch architecture I stumbled upon because it was quite a nice feeling to lose myself in something new for a change. As you can see below, some houses are built on these sturdy pilings, while some are held up by huge logs. Most of the buildings standing where they are today have been around for centuries so the foundations must be pretty solid!

One unique feature of Amsterdam is the houseboats–as you may have noticed from the photos. Yes, people actually live on it! It may look a bit small but it is quite expensive to own and live on one. It is NEVER a smart idea to jump into the water because it is filthier than any public toilet seat. Speaking of toilet seats… Actually, imagine the Amsterdam waters as one big, complicated toilet, where the canals are flushed three times a week by opening the locks so that it is refreshed with clean water flowing from the North Sea. Thus, the canals are basically the city’s public sewage system for the houseboats.

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To get the most out of your experience in Amsterdam is to rent a bike and tour around the city and that’s exactly what we did. We found a bike rental place nearby our hotel that was quite cheap. It was 7.50€ for one bike for the duration of four hours but the generous owner gave it to us for the whole day! Since I am lazy and I hate riding bikes, I “influenced” my boyfriend to rent one and just drive me around as I sit in the back rear of the bike. 😀

There was a poster on the wall about men and low pants in the bike shop that I found quite hilarious… You should really read what it says by clicking on the image right above.

And no we didn’t indulge in anything exciting like this:

What is Dutch cuisine? I have no idea. Apparently, when dining out, the Dutch prefer trying out different ethnic cuisines such as Surinamese or Indonesian (which was plentiful because these countries were former Dutch colonies). However, on my last day, a Dutch friend of mine introduced me to Dutch pannenkoeken (pancakes). At first I thought, I don’t like pancakes. Well that’s because I don’t like the American ones but the Dutch ones are awesome! A bit like French crepes and with a variety of sweet or savory toppings on it. I got the lemon and sugar powder pancake 🙂

Art in Amsterdam was funny, especially the street art. On one street I saw an artist in action doing oil painting in front of his gallery. His technique was quick yet very precise with colors–I was very impressed.

Like everywhere else in the world, Amsterdam has a Chinatown! There is a hilarious slogan that welcomes you when you enter (see below). In my opinion this Chinatown is a bit too exaggerated in its “Chinese-ness” if you get my drift. It was also one of the most expensive district so we didn’t eat there. It’s right next to–or even overlapping–the red light district so that’s where we headed afterwards 😉

I miss you Amsterdam! I will return!

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