Houses like this one pictured, :) are built with a very noticeable leaning characteristic. It's a bit strange to see, and not an accident.
If you lived on the upper floors, you'd be glad, too. Makes getting your heavy furniture inside much easier when winch and pulleys are used. I saw several homes where the ropes were still out on the pulleys.
Many different gables catch the eye, too.
It may sound corny but if you have never been to Amsterdam or only have limited time do take a canaltrip. Amsterdam from the water is Amsterdam at its best.
See 'off the beaten track' for a real tip!
Fondest memory: Watching the sun rise over the 'IJ' after a night on the town on the ferry between central station and the north.
Having a drink with friends at one of the many cafe terasses on the 'Nieuwmarkt' in the old center.
Take a boat tour along the river. It was very fun for me, and you receive a broad range of facts and myths about the city itself. This also gives you a good perspective on the life Amsterdam residents live, with their crowded living quarters, boat-houses, and bike-riding traditions.
Fondest memory: The view of seven bridges in a row from the glass-covered boat 'cruise'.
My highest reccomendation is one of the many tours. You can get on a bus or a cannal barge and see everything, amazing buildings, markets, the bridges and even the 'red-light district' which is not as bad as people expect. try a tour... it's great.
Fondest memory: this isn't for everyone but the 'double reggae' bar and coffee shop is the boy-o.
I had great beer (if you ask for 'big-beer' you get a litre) nice smoke and real old-school reggae and dub beats. the guy serving was friendly and made me real welcome. Its a nice laid-back place. some may find coffee shops a bit intimidating but don't, go in, inhale and grab a drink.
Walk around and take a canal tour. There are more bridges in Amsterdam than in Venice. The buildings are narrow and pitched forward, some are leaning to the right or left. Be sure to notice how different one is from the next.
Fondest memory: Trying to cross the street admist bikes, cars, trams, and people that know where they are going. Giggling through the Sex Museum is fun as well.
I'm not sure the exact amount of canals and bridges in Amsterdam, but I'm sure the Canal Cruise is the nicest thing of touring the city, and that's also a great way to see the city from a different perspective.
Night cruise are especially enchanting, as many of the bridges are illuminated and the whole scene takes on something of an unreal quality.
DID YOU KNOW?
Did you know that Amsterdam has 165 canals, 1281 bridges, 70 cruise boats, 8 wooden drawbridges, 2500 houseboats and ones and 120 water bikes? Hiring a boat or bicycle to discover all of this is definitely worth the effort.
A canal cruise is definitely the most original way of seeing Amsterdam. Leisurely float along through the city and admire the narrow streets and paths. The authentic Amsterdam is full of surprises!
SPECIAL CRUISE BOATS
Various boat companies in Amsterdam offer special cruise cruises. For example the Artis Express which takes you from Central Station via the VOC ship and the Tropics Museum to Artis (zoo). Do you want to visit more places of interest? Then board the museum boat. This boat visits all the famous museums in Amsterdam. From the Anne Frank House to the Rijksmuseum. Yet the museum boat can also drop you off at the Kalverstraat or the Magna Plaza. Have you ever seen a bus on water? The Canal Bus provides a regular service between important museums, shopping districts and attractions. However, you can also cycle on the water using a Canal Bike. With these Canal Bikes you can venture out on your own and discover Amsterdam whilst keeping fit.
Take a tour on the canals! You will see a different view of the city. I took a trip early in the morning before the rush, so the skipper had more time to explain things (he turned off the taperecorder).
One interesting thing I learned was that they used to pay tax according to the width of the houses. This is the reason why so many are very narrow. But then they can be very long!
Take a canal tour, a long one. Pick it when the light is the right one, like a sunny late afternoon: beautiful! Pick it also once when it's dark. You'll be jeallous like hell how people live in those old cosy flats by the canal...
When I took the canal boat it was very entertaining guides telling about the city and also gossiping about the amsterdamers.
Take a canal tour. I'm not talking about one of those touristy, covered boats...I talking about a little motor boat with no cover. Its run by an expat Yank, and it can be booked at Boom Chicago at the Leidesplein (Dutchies, please pardon my spelling). Its a much better way to see the canals.
Fondest memory: All of the strange sights. Here's a recap of some of the weird things I saw:
* We had just checked into our hostel, and were trying to soak in Amsterdam. Well, the three of us were standing next to this busy street, and this guy was riding his bike while eating a burger. I don’t know if he got his wheels in the light-rail tracks or what, but he started to swerve around some. He could have pulled out of it, but he was intent on saving that burger, so he was contorting his whole body so that his burger wouldn’t fall. Sure enough, it caused him to wipe out. As fate would have it, his face fell right on the burger, the same burger which he was so desparetly trying to save. He stood up, and there was mayonnaise (what else?) all over his face. Thank goodness he wasn’t hurt, because then we could laugh our butts off.
* Later, in the same evening, the three of us are having a beer overlooking the Rembrantsplien (a nice big plaza with tons of neon…sort of a Dutch times square), and the group next to us and especially right next to Michelle, broke out in a fight, and not a TV fight, either. They were throwing beer mugs and even a table. Glass was shattering and Huge even got some shards in his skin. The weird part was that the police were there immediately, and they were so blase about the whole thing. They were trying to ask what happened, all while these guys are trying to get back at each other. In the States, those guys would have been on the pavement and cuffed in a New York minute, but not here. I think they should watch some episodes of “Cops” or something so they know how to handle that kind of situation right.
* The Dutch men have this thing with peeing in the street. I guess this is a a problem for some time, so the city has tried to combat it by installing porta-potties around the city. Of course these are not porta-potties that you and I are familiar with. These are four open-air urinals arranged in a sort of clover-like pattern with only a small partition blocking the view. No door, no nothing. It’s basically like peeing against a wall. Of course, we still saw a few Dutch men urinating all over the street anyway, onto bikes, and against random walls. Strange.
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