On September 2015, on the way of Amsterdam, the city of 1500 bridges, over 100km of canals, and even more bicycles than cars. Amsterdam is one of my favorite cities so far. I love its brick buildings, open skyline, plenty oxygen, rich arts, and relaxed, easy going attitude towards life. Along with its glamorous gabled facades and flower-decked watersides, there is a diverse things to do and visit, whether your interests are more Golden Age art or grafitti, rich culture or getting high in a coffee shop. As Amsterdam is a city tied to the water, there’s nothing like seeing the city from a boat.The city is centred around the UNESCO-listed Canal Ring, where three canals form a horseshoe shape around the old center.
Maze-like streets - Jordaan area
Also, Jordaan area is full of galleries, restraurants, and small shops among some of the charming prolong of canal. Hang out in the vibrant area of iconic sign featuring enormous letters, or chill in the cafes of De Pijp, a district with an alive, cheerful feel that is home to the Albert Cuypmarket street market. De Pijp’s multiple of restaurants, cafes and bars, you will be spoiled for culinary choice. From Middle Eastern and North African cuisine to high-end teppayanki and Vietnamese street food, the neighbourhod’s cultural variety glooms through in its restaurants. Apart from that, the market is also home for the homemade stroopwafle which melts in your mouth! Yummy Dutch speciality is a piece of heaven in food form. Also, try some of Amsterdam’s street food poffetjes (fluffy mini pancakes) or raw herring served with ketchup and mayoneise. The center of Amsterdam is fairly low rise, so you won’t be able to find any skyscrapers with views from up high. However, the top of the Openbare Bibliotheek (Public Library) provides some nice city viewpoints with an outdoor terrace looking out over the city.
Eating poffetjes at the Albert Cuyp Market
Doing a bike tour in Amsterdam is like hub of the famed wine-growing region in Bordeaux. The city loves bikes, and there are allegedly more bikes than people in Amsterdam. In fact, it’s the bikes that will run you over so it’s better to keep an eye on bikes than cars. Visiting Amsterdam and its surroundings from a bike is something must-do.
In the the Van Gogh museum, his best works of art alongside an excellent biography of his life and is laid out in chronological order, starting with his earliest works. The museum also allows other artists like Monet, Manet, and Matisse’ paintings. Additionally, the Rijksmuseum is located close to the Van Gogh Museum, and after years of renovation, it’s now thoroughly redesigned. The museum still remarks an widespread Rembrandt collection, and you’ll be able to see the famous painting “The Night Watch.” Besides Rembrandt, there’s also an astonishing and robust collection of other classic Dutch painters, like Frans Hals and Johannes Vermeer. Over one million works of art, craftworks, and historical objects are kept in the collection, and around 8,000 objects are on exhibit in the museum.
The iconic sign letters along with Rijksmuseum museum
Vincent van Gogh’s largest collection of his works such as his paintings, drawings and letters, completed with the art of his contemporaries are displayed on this museum.
When it comes to very well known and most wondered area, The Red Light Street, manages to balance sex and seediness with achieving a majot tourist attraction. In the day light, it’s a quite area and it would look like any other part of the city if there was not sex signs everywhere. However, during the night, the area becomes swarm with drunk, high, gawking tourists walking slowly down the street as they gaze on girls in the window while going from bar to bar and coffeeshop to coffeeshop. I was amazed to see people who was completely free and felt lucky to see and experience for a short time.
The Red Light Street – is a place not for everyone!
Amsterdam's infamous Red Light District is a carnival of vice, with skimpily-clad prostitutes in brothel windows, raucous bars, haze-filled 'coffeeshops', strip shows and mind-boggling museums.
We also visited Venustempel Sex museum which is the world's first and oldest sex museum. The museum looks at many aspects of sensual love through the ages, displaying an extensive collection of erotic pictures, paints, recordings, photographs and more.
Of course we went to fishing village Volendam which is famous with its authentic, colourful wooden houses, the old fishing boats in its harbour, which is occupied with seafood vendors.
Volendam colourful and wooden houses!
Volendam is located on the Markermeer Lake, northeast of Amsterdam.
Markermeer Lake is behind of me now!
Through walking down narrow roads, on our left hand side, we stopped at the well known Cheese Factory Volendam.
We also found the opportunity to try the World of Cheese which is provided at the Cheese Factory. The process of making the well known artisanal cheese is shown during the visit as well.
Along the way of seafront, it was nice eating our seafood especially eating herring in ‘Dutch way’ and watching people to eat smoked eels (aghh) while meeting with local people.
Volendam seafood vendors and harbour!
Right after eating our food, we were on the way to Zaanse Schans with the boat shown below!
Just before leaving Volendam to Zaandam !
First we went to Zaanse Schans is a neighbourhood of Zaandam where it has a collection of traditional houses, windmills, warehouses and workshops. The historic village of Zaanse Schans offers a preserved glimpse of what it was like to live in the Netherlands in the 18th and 19th centuries. Windmills are an iconic part of the Dutch landscape and there were still working windmills at Zaanse Schans such as a mustard mill, sawmill, oil mill, and the world’s last working dye mill.
No doubt we went to Kooijman Klompenmakerij (Wooden Shoe Maker or Klompen Museum) where a klompen is a symbol of Holland that Dutch people are slowly moving away from. Farmers, gardeners, tradesmen, and fishermen in the countryside make up the majority of Dutch people who still wear the conventional wooden clogs at the present time. The reason why the Dutch wear klompen in Holland is because they could be made cheaply and could withstand laboring conditions. We also found the opportunity to see and listen an handsome guy who was explaining and watching the process of the shoe making in a sarcastic manner; how those wooden shoes are made less than 3 mins with huge factory machines rather than doing with handmade which lasts hours and maybe days.
My attractive Zaandam man in a dirty socks!
Collecting all those exciting and unique memories and gaining different experiences has had a big impression on me regarding the Netherlands. It’s a country that I would like to visit again for sure. I strongly recommend for everyone and I just love it!