Amsterdam, Netherlands

My bus to Amsterdam was a few hours late, but I still had some time that night to walk around after dropping my stuff off. I didn’t really know where I was going, I just picked a direction and started walking. I got my first, brief exposure to the red light district. I passed a few women who were standing in the typical windows with the red lights around them. I got the more complete view of what the red light district was like the next day. To me, the red light district was no more debaucherous than what you’d see in Las Vegas. And it felt like the streets were a lot nicer and safer.

 

The next day was spent wandering more of the city. I did stop at another flea market and got more goodies. Flea markets are awesome for getting cheap souvenirs. And there’s weird things you probably wouldn’t get at a regular store. Other streets had lots of little, quaint, funny, or strange stores. I saw a store dedicated to juggling. And another to cats. Many of the streets I saw looked like this, brick buildings with brick ground.

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And this photo also has another Amsterdam trade mark, a coffeeshop. Cafes are for coffee and coffeeshops are for marijuana (and probably coffee.) I also saw lots of other marijuana-themed items at some stores, including pipes, grinders, lollipops, cookies, and ice cream. I guess you got to pander to the tourists.

 

Amsterdam is filled with canals and bridges, so these photos are also representative of what I saw in Amsterdam pretty much everywhere I went.

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Somewhere in my wanderings, I ended up at Dam Square, or as I’ve renamed it, Selfie Square.

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I saw soooo many people taking selfies. They might be hard to see, but this is one of a couple using one of those long, telescoping poles.

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And here’s a twofer.

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And here’s me taking a selfie of people taking a selfie. How meta!

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And here’s Mom’s worst nightmare: people actually trying to interact with pigeons.

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The pigeons were very human acclimated. People were getting them to go onto their hands and shoulders. I also saw one land on someone’s backpack as he was walking away.

 

I didn’t know this before, but Amsterdam is known for having several windmills. I thought they were nice, but nothing spectacular. The seemed kind of small. However, I didn’t go to the more famous windmills so that could be part of the reason. But I did get some cool pictures at one of the windmills, including this one.

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Another thing I didn’t know before coming is that everyone rides bicycles. There were still plenty of cars on the streets, but you’d see way more bicyclists. The huge, multi-story parking lot outside of Central Station is not for cars but for bikes. There are bike lanes on most of the side walks so you have to be very careful about not walking in them. This is one of the smaller bike parking lots I saw.

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I had planned on going on a tour the next day, but I got to invited to hang out with two people I met at my hostel, so I did that instead. It was Mike and Alisa, a couple from Germany that came for a weekend getaway. Alisa was studying interior design and Mike was studying electrics but also was a model. They were both into fashion, so we mostly walked around a market, looking at clothes. I also tried a red currant for the first time. In the afternoon, they had to go check in to the new hotel they were staying at that night. We were supposed to meet up in few hours later but they never got back to me. It gave me more time to wander, including back to the flea market to buy a bag that I saw the previous day.

Just some side notes that didn’t fit my narrative: their metro tickets are pretty cool. Instead of being the paper tickets that you’d insert into a slot to get past the barrier like I’ve mostly seen, they have a chip in them so you just had to tap it near a sensor. I’d seen that before in Salt Lake for a month pass, but not for every ticket, including the one trip tickets. Also, there are stands with these delicious pastries called oliebollen, which is oil ball. I guess in English their called Dutch doughnuts but I’ve never heard of them. They’d come with powdered sugar on them or fruit fillings.

 

I am currently on my bus to Copenhagen. It’s a 12 hour ride. But the bus has WiFi, how neat is that!

Misc photos. The first is exactly the same as the photo above, I just liked this version I made when tweaking with it settings.

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