Friday, October 4, 2019

Appealing Amsterdam: Something for everyone in a lively Dutch city

The canals of Amsterdam are legendary, and much loved and used by tourists and residents alike.

SOPHISTICATED, EXCITING AMSTERDAM: CANALS, HISTORY, MUSEUMS, WINDMILLS, BIKES, FINE FOOD 


The colorful De Kat  Paint Mill of 1782, is one of the joys of a trip to
Zaanse Schans in The Netherlands, near Amsterdam and the oldest
and best preserved windmill area of the world.
STORY By CHRISTENE MEYERS
PHOTOS By BRUCE KELLER

AMSTERDAM is a city of many moods.  It is vibrant and varied, rowdy and rustic, cosmopolitan and contemplative, accepting and non-judgmental.
It is a delightful city to visit and be part of, if only for a few sunny, fun-filled days.
Our recent of many visits was  memorable because autumn was just coming to the Netherlands. We relished the crisp air, evening breezes and changing colors.
A few sights are on everyone's play list: the famous "museum pair" -- the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum and the house where the young Jewish diarist Anne Frank hid during WWII.
The iamsterdam offices offer several varieties of the excellent
card for one, two, three or four day access and savings.
TO NAVIGATE this beautiful city efficiently and economically, we highly recommend the "iamsterdam city card" which saved us more than 50 euros at a variety of  attractions and on the city's fine public transport system.  We didn't begin to touch the range of 70-plus museums, but in earlier visits toured Rembrandt's house, the world class Maritime Museum and the Frank family's touching upstairs apartment where two families hid until they were outed just before the ending of World War II.
Italian born Sergio gave us a lively and brisk three-hour walking tour of
Amsterdam, from the canals and shopping to the Red Light District.
The card also helps take advantage of Amsterdam's excellent bus and tram system and discounts at many shops, restaurants and more. iamsterdam offers convenient offices and pick-up centers for the one, two, three or four day passes. We picked ours up at Schiphol Airport before heading to our hotel, the Amsterdam Hilton.
AMSTERDAM IS a great walking city, but beware of the bikes which come zipping by at often alarming speeds. Bikes rule, too, so look before you begin crossing a street.
Walking in the famed Red Light
District of Amsterdam is safe.
Keller and Cookie relax at the Amsterdam Hilton.
We always take a walking tour in a city, no matter how many times we've been.  This time, we tried and enthusiastically recommend "Freedam Tours," which navigate the city on foot with lively, educated guides.  Ours was Sergio, Italian born and engaging.  He proudly showed us old Amsterdam, its famous coffee shops, historic buildings and his old neighborhood, the Red Light District. "Please treat them with respect."
We saw several of the women in their windows, and Sergio smiled as we admired windows of beautiful cheeses, souvenirs and pastries.  Cannabis is legal in Amsterdam, but it must be
Amsterdam's legendary coffee shops
serve a cannabis inspired menu. 
bought from certified distributors. We took my late mother to a coffee shop 10 years ago where we all chill out and passed a few pleasant hours. Most look like sophisticated bistros. Cannabis can be purchased, along with special brownies, cookies and hashish.
 A pretty little Dutch girl smiles for the photographer from
one of the country's many clean, efficient buses and trams.


THE NETHERLANDS is at the center of northwestern European commerce, home to people from 200 countries with an average life expectancy of 80. Only 17 million live in all of Holland, around three million people in the greater Amsterdam area and eight million in its four major cities.  Amsterdam is the official capital of the Netherlands according to the country's constitution.  But most Dutch consider The Hague the capital, since both the States General and Executive Branch have been situated there since 1588.
A visit to the Anne Frank House is a
moving experience, even multiple times. 
Amsterdam has a long, proud and colorful history dating back to 1275 when it was founded as a fishing village on the Amstel River. The name "Amstelledamme" occurs for the first time in a toll concession of Floris V, Count of Holland, dated Oct. 27, 1275.
 Besides cheese, clogs, canals and bikes, Amsterdam is known for its flat landscape, spring tulips and the world's best preserved windmills.
We took a day trip to Zaanse Schans, a vibrant working community dating to 18th Century Amsterdam.
 A canal trip is the best way to admire Amsterdam's graceful historic buildings, museums, bars and coffee shops.
The Van Gogh Museum is a high-tech institution with
beautiful displays and many of the artist's paintings.
Art is everywhere in the
parks of Amsterdam.
We were also thrilled with the location of our hotel, the lovely Hilton Amsterdam, in a beautiful neighborhood between the museum district and the Station Zuid business district. (More next week on the hotel's famous John and Yoko Suite, which we enjoyed. The couple staged its famous "Bed-in for Peace" at the hotel in 1969.  )

 www.iamsterdam.com; wwww.zaanschemolen.nl; www.freedamtours.com; www.vangoghmuseum.com



UP NEXT: Fifty years ago, John and Yoko Ono staged a  memorable "Love In" also referred to as a "Peace In" and "Bed In" in Amsterdam's Hilton Hotel.  Today, their suite is a popular honeymoon get-away enjoyed by Beatles fans from all over the world.  We visit, too, and take you there. Remember to explore, learn and live, and catch us Fridays for a fresh take on travel, the arts, nature, family and more. Remember to explore, learn and live and catch us Fridays for a fun, fresh look at travel, the arts, nature, romance, food, family and more. Check out:  whereiscookie.com, which has an international following.






5 comments:

  1. San Francisco ExplorersOctober 4, 2019 at 6:38 PM

    Delightful look at a fascinating city. Thank you. Love it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dutch delights! You captured some of our favorites.

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  3. Sioux Falls FollowersOctober 4, 2019 at 10:44 PM

    Wonderful city, fun story and photos.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Love this. We actually rented bikes here -- and survived!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Charleston CarolersOctober 10, 2019 at 10:17 AM

    Wonderful city isn't she? Thanks for the fun report and great photos.

    ReplyDelete