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All posts for the month April, 2015

::Sunday::
Having been up so late the night before, we had a lie in, then Henri directed us in making a delushuz cooked breakfast.  The sun was (mostly out), so we ate on the rooftop patio in the sun.  Absolutely lovely.

Rooftop breakfast!!

Rooftop breakfast!!

 

Defnitely straight lines.  Not level though.

Defnitely straight lines. Not level though.

A canal!

A canal!

::cyclecycle::

::cyclecycle::

The top of the buildings:  the hooks for a rope, so they can lift stuff into the upper stories

The top of the buildings: the hooks for a rope, so they can lift stuff into the upper stories

Church, lined up with all the other buildings

Church, lined up with all the other buildings

Sunday afternoon we headed on the bikes, to a cheese tasting.  We were supplied with the correct wine for each cheese, and we were supplied with several varieties.  We learned to cut it thinly with a little cheese guillotine, and then how to smell and taste like a proper connoisseur.   It was all very yum.

Some are better at cutting things than others

Some are better at cutting things than others

Yay cheese!

Yay cheese!

Wafer thin

Wafer thin

We had to write stuff

We had to write stuff

As part of the cheese tasting, we also got to ride a canal boat, which was a very enjoyable meander through the canals.  The sun even came out a few times, and it was all very pleasant.  The cheese and canal tour all up was 22 euro, which I feel was a pretty good deal, considering the amount of cheese I ate, along with a glass of red and white wine, and a glass of port.

The spire of Westerkerk, a church, built between 1620-1630.  Rembrant was buried here.

The spire of Westerkerk, a church, built between 1620-1630. Rembrant was buried here.

A brdge

A brdge

Different house boats, and glasshouse boats

Different house boats, and glasshouse boats

After the cheese and wine and boats, we wandered back through town, and did Rick Steve’s Audio tour of the Red light district, and right to the start of the town.    I honestly don’t have a lot to write about the day, so here are a bunch of photos of canals, boats, and crooked houses!  It was just very enjoyable and relaxing, biking around, wandering, and the boat trip was definitely fun, a good way to see a lot of the city from a different view.

 

I loved to look out for the crooked buildings:  All straight lines, but  not necessarily level or square

I loved to look out for the crooked buildings: All straight lines, but not necessarily level or square

Bright red shutters

Bright red shutters

Many bridges

Many bridges

Cuddles

Cuddles

All of the bike Parking!

All of the bike Parking!

Obgliatory selfie on a boat in the Amsterdam canals

Obgliatory selfie on a boat in the Amsterdam canals

Centraal Station

Centraal Station

Pitcha

Pitcha

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Under the bridge

Under the bridge

Flat boat

Flat boat

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look!

look!

Science and Technology Museum

Science and Technology Museum

A replica of a 3 masted ship built in the 1700's, that lasted a year before i was destroyed in a storm

A replica of a 3 masted ship built in the 1700’s, that lasted a year before i was destroyed in a storm

Science and Technology Museum

Science and Technology Museum

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Lifty bridge

Lifty bridge

 

"Don't even worry about the gap, just pour a bit of concrete in.."

“Don’t even worry about the gap, just pour a bit of concrete in..”

Very thin buildings

Very thin buildings

Pedaling

Pedaling

Don't fall over

Don’t fall over

Red light district

Red light district

Church

Church

I wonder if the floor slopes inside

I wonder if the floor slopes inside

Very specific cafe

Very specific cafe

5th Best, at least they're honest

5th Best, at least they’re honest

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Melty cheese and potato

Melty cheese and potato

 

Henrietta made us another lovely dinner, mostly cheese and potato, but with a few colourful veges thrown in.  After dinner, we took the cameras out and biked around in the dark, which was actually very fun, if a little chilly.  Did some night photos, and the main thing I realised is that I need a tripod!

 

Night

Night

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Night tulips

Night tulips

Lifty bridge

Lifty bridge

Zoomy boat

Zoomy boat

Night canal

Night canal

Steep staircase

Steep staircase

Special easter eggs.  Acutally boiled eggs, painted pretty.

Special easter eggs. Acutally boiled eggs, painted pretty.

::Saturday::
Breakfasted on more bread and cheese.  Europe can be a hard country to dine in.  Stepped outside to chilly weather, had been raining overnight. Was quite chilly.  We headed off on our bikes to the Rejikmuseum.  Bike to it, then through the little archway, parked our bikes with the hundreds that were already parked, and headed in.    Stayed till about 1pm, lots to see.

 

Tulips!

Tulips!

I am amsterdam

I am amsterdam. We managed to get a picture with a few people, why does everyone want photos here??!

Rijksmuseum

Rijksmuseum

Rijksmuseum

Rijksmuseum

Rijksmuseum

Rijksmuseum

Rijksmuseum

Rijksmuseum

Rijksmuseum

Rijksmuseum

 

It was a lovely building, very pretty, both inside and out.  Lots of amazing paintings.  Lots of people too.

Still life with a turkey pie, by Pieter Claesz

Still life with a turkey pie, by Pieter Claesz

The milkmaid, by  Johannes Vermeer

The milkmaid, by Johannes Vermeer

The Windmill at Wijk bij Duurstede, Jacob Isaacksz. van Ruisdael

The Windmill at Wijk bij Duurstede, Jacob Isaacksz. van Ruisdael

Everyone is watching The Night Watch, by Rembrandt van Rijn.

Everyone is watching The Night Watch, by Rembrandt van Rijn.

A ship!

A ship!

The Battle of Terheide, Jan Abrahamsz. Beerstraten, 1653 - 1666

The Battle of Terheide, Jan Abrahamsz. Beerstraten, 1653 – 1666

City Walls in Winter, Willem Schellinks

City Walls in Winter, Willem Schellinks

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A very old library, that you can still use today

A painting that looks like a marble carving.  Allegory of Fame, Gerard de Lairesse, 1675 - 1683

A painting that looks like a marble carving. Allegory of Fame, Gerard de Lairesse, 1675 – 1683

A room in a dollhouse

A room in a dollhouse

Delftware, ceramic made in Amsterdam

Delftware, ceramic made in Amsterdam

Delftware

Delftware

Amazing wood panelled boxes

Amazing wood panelled boxes

Carafe and dish with citrus fruit, Van Gough

Carafe and dish with citrus fruit, Van Gough

A windmill on a polder waterway, known as "In the month of July", by paul joseph constantin gabriël

A windmill on a polder waterway, known as “In the month of July”, by paul joseph constantin gabriël

 Weve totes been to Rouen, here is a painting in Amsterdam:  The Quay de Paris in Rouen, Johannes Bosboom, 1839


Weve totes been to Rouen, here is a painting in Amsterdam:
The Quay de Paris in Rouen, Johannes Bosboom, 1839

Went to burgermeester for lunch, quite good.  They sell ‘mini burgers’, so you can buy three of those, in different flavours, instead of one big one.  Very good. Burgers.

Rijksmuseum

Rijksmuseum

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Mac’s Bikes, where we hired our bikes from.

 

A canal

A canal

Teeny tiny burgers

Teeny tiny burgers

Teeny tiny!

Teeny tiny!

Then went and saw a windmill, The Grooyer.  It has a brewery/bar next to it, with tons of people lunching.  It was built in the 1600’s, was moved around a bit, and renovated a few times.  It was used to grind corn during WWII, when there was no power.  It is apparently the tallest wooden mill in Amsterdam.  The blades still work well, but it no longer grinds anything.

Windmill

Molen De Gooyer. Originally constructed in the 1600’s, and is the tallest wooden mill in the Netherlands.

Dale is lost

Dale is lost

Buildings

Buildings

Resident duck, whom everyone feeds

Resident duck, whom everyone feeds

Some boats are not well cared for

Some boats are not well cared for

Birds

Birds

Yay!

Yay!

Giant tables

Giant tables

Bikebikebike

Bikebikebike

Very cuby building.  and a tram

Very cuby building. and a tram

Faroshuz horse

Faroshuz horse

Biked around a bit, went to an island via some bridges, and admired the lovely bike lanes everywhere.  Missed the rain, as we were in the supermarket (buying more bread and cheese).  Went home about 5pm and had a nap.

Set out about 8.30pm to go find dinner.  A very pleasant bike ride across town, to a restaurant called Seasons.  Overall, a very good experience.  A little pricey, but the food was scrumptious, and the service excellent.  Food came out in a timely manner, and they were happy to cater to special requests.

After dinner, which ended just after 11pm, we headed over to the red light district for a wander.  It was definitely interesting.  There were a lot of people., though the general crowd had changed from tourist groups and a few families, to rowdier people out for the nightlife, and a few simply curious tourists like us.
Prostitution is legal in the Netherlands, so it is all out in the open..as in, literally the girls will lounge around in front of their shop front full-length windows, winking and smiling to entice people over.  There is a lot oc skin showing, but somehow all the important bits are covered.  Even if only with suspenders.
Most windows are basically a full length glass door, usually with thick and heavy curtains, a stool or chair, and a red light above.  Not much else.  A display window, if you will.  When the woman is looking for customers, her light is on, and curtains are open.  They don’t let just anyone into the door, I saw a few talking to them, and then the door closing and them moving on their way.  If you’re rude or rough, they call security on you.

It was a little surreal biking home, through the outskirts of the red light district..  There were still plenty of locals biking around, lots of people out in the streets, and windows with red lights and girls.  No pictures though, they don’t appreciate pictures!

 

Old and new

Old and new

Bike lanes

Bike lanes

::Friday::

We woke up kind of late, as we were all a bit tired, we had gone to bed late, and we had gone forward a timezone.
We wandered off down the canals until we found a Lidl supermarket, where we bought many yummy things, and went back to eat breakfast. Pastries, cheese, bread and butter.  The best sultana bread rolls I’ve ever had.

Boats, boats

Boats, boats

There are plenty of straight lines, but often they're all just slightly skewed, or buildings are leaning against each other

There are plenty of straight lines, but often they’re all just slightly skewed, or buildings are leaning against each other

A bicycyle

A bicycyle

After breakfast we headed, wandered through town, enjoyed some canals, and watched one of the bridges go up and down, including pigeons getting almost stuck in them.  We ended up at Max’s Bikes, where we rented 4 bikes for the weekend.  They are much like all the other Amsterdam bikes, they are upright, one gear, and pedal brakes.  We spent the day biking around, enjoying the not rain.

Hey look, a canal!

Hey look, a canal!

Need to hang laundry up somewhere.

Need to hang laundry up somewhere.

Pinecone art things

Pinecone art things

Along this canal, they have plaques in the ground, naming jews who once lived there, but were murdered during the war.

Along this canal, they have plaques in the ground, naming jews who once lived there, but were murdered during the war.

Hey look, a canal!

Hey look, a canal!  A raised bridge, also

Boat, heading through a bridge

Boat, heading through a bridge

The bridge that lifted up

The bridge that lifted up

We went to Vondelpark, which is a lovely green park.  Apparently, Central Park, in NYC, was based on this park.  It was pretty, we saw some herons, and we found a bunch of green parakeets, who were flapping around, and arguing over who got to sit in the hole in the tree.  Dale and I found an adventure playground where we clambered and climbed, and then watched the local doggies run and bark.  Lots of people wandering through, and spring flowers were poking up everywhere.  Mostly bluebells and daffodils though, and not many tulips yet.

Heron

Heron

Fluffy heron

Fluffy heron

Heron in a park

Heron in a park

Becca being excited about herons

Becca being excited about herons

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Parrots

 

I can see you  -_-

I can see you -_-

Reflections

Reflections

Still water

Still water

Rafgh

Rafgh

Playground

Playground

Our bikes

Our bikes

Sculpture.  Art

Sculpture. Art

The running of the chihuahuas

The running of the chihuahuas

Mah verry favourite ball

Mah verry favourite ball

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Where to go!?

Where to go!?

After the park, we visited our first windmill.  Though it no longer looks like they use it, is a bit run down.  Pretty, nonetheless.

A Windmill!

A Windmill!

Resting by said windmill

Resting by said windmill

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Birdlife

Birdlife. I think he is using a plastic bag as nesting material :< These little black coots were everywhere on the canals

Windmill Pics

Windmill Pics

Alastair and Henri

Alastair and Henri

We headed into the main part of Amsterdam city, to Dam Square.  So many bikes.  It was a little intimidating, especially if you are not used to pedal brakes and driving on the right hand side.  There were a million people on bikes, and all the locals are fast and zippy; where we would stop and look both ways, they would just continue at the same pace, and zip across the road between traffic.

There were also a few cars, mostly taxis, and a millions tourist pedestrians, all walking, meandering, and stopping in random places.  Very exciting.
It seems the best way to bike around is to act like the locals do – ring your bell a lot, and zip through all the people.  Don’t bother to wait for the pedestrians, just go around them.  Be confident, and just keep biking.

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Heading to the tourist area

Heading to the tourist area

Dam Square

Dam Square

A statue

A statue

Rawr bikes

Rawr bikes

Biking was good, we got to cover a large area in a shorter time. When it wasn’t too busy, it was very pleasant to pootle down the little cobbled streets. It was very busy at dam square, a million bikes, and probably that many people.  Another billboard sign, warning everyone not to buy cocaine from people on the street, as a few tourists have died from being sold white heroin instead, without knowing.

 

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Obligatory selfie!

Obligatory selfie!

Sunny faces

Sunny faces

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A coot!

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The view from our rooftop

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When people used to move into buildings, they would use a rope pulley over a hook at the top of the building.  Most buildings seem to still have them.   This is because the staircases in most canal houses are too steep and narrow to get anything up.  Nowdays, it seems they use a platform conveyer belt thing.

This is how they move into buildings

This is how they move into buildings

Rain didn’t dampen biking much, everyone still seemed to be out.  Quite a range of people:  old guys with long white hair, middle aged and younger, going to the supermarket or park, parents with a kid in a seat on both the front and the back, many with a simple crate tied on the front, for carrying anything from bread and groceries, to the family dog, who sits peacefully, watching the world zip by.
Later on, people in their work clothes, people in nice dresses and heels, heading out for dinner.
Also, nobody in Amsterdam wears helmets!

Building

Building

Art

Art

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I can see you

I can see you

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So adventurous

So adventurous

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Gliding

 

Not fluffy heron

Not fluffy heron

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We caught a short afternoon flight over to Amsterdam for the Easter weekend.   We flew with British Airways, which was different to our usual EasyJet, and we actually got given a drink and a snack!    Lots of nice views out the windows, of the English countryside, and of general smoggyness.  Saw a whole bunch of wind turbines in the ocean.  An offshore windfarm.  It looked quite surreal.

Hazy as over England

Hazy as over England

Excited!

Excited!

So cloudy :<

So cloudy :<

Freakin wind turbines in the ocean!!!

Look closely:  Freakin wind turbines in the ocean!!!

Tiny bottles of wine

Tiny bottles of wine

The coast of the Netherlands

The coast of the Netherlands

The road goes under the water

The road goes under the water

Wiggly roads

Wiggly roads

Plane is taped together.  Duct tape fixes everything...?

Plane is taped together. Duct tape fixes everything…?

 

A easy trip in to town via the railway then the subway, to our adorable air b n b apartment, on one of the canals.

We wandered the canals in the dusk, past cute, cute little houses, and many bicycles.

Steam and sky

Steam and sky

By the Centraal Station

By the Centraal Station

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We stayed on this canal

We stayed on this canal

Dale on a bridge

Dale on a bridge

Easter window display... a little bit creepy

Easter window display… a little bit creepy

Night time

Night time

I know that bicycles are a thing here, but knowing and seeing are different. There are tons of cycle lanes, which is cool.  Roundabouts have a dedicated separate cycle lane around the outside.  There are cycles locked up everywhere. There are plenty of cycle parks, but still, not enough.  Cycles on all the front fences, cycles lined up on the footpath.
We went out to dinner at a restaurant recommended to us by our host.  It was quite cool.  It was well known for it’s cocktails, so we had to try, and they were delishuz. I had a ginger and pear one, and it was the most gingery drink I had ever had.  Fiery as!

The most delishuz pear and ginger cocktail...that is not pineapple on the side of the glass

The most delishuz pear and ginger cocktail…that is not pineapple on the side of the glass

Foods

Foods

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Flaming Dessert

Flaming Dessert

Canal by night

Canal by night

Dinner was delishuz, though service got exceptionally slow after our mains, and it took forever to get dessert then the bill. They also called meringue pavlova, which turned out to be very disappointing for me.