Amsterdam is a city like none other! When we flew into the Amsterdam airport, the border officer asked, “What are you doing in the Netherlands?” We replied, “We’re staying at a hostel downtown.” He looked at us, stamped our passports, and replied, “Have fun!”
And fun we had. Jon and I met up with our buddy Mike, who we knew from back in Canada. Now we’re the Canadian trio meandering around Europe! The first day in Amsterdam we wandered around the city and found out some bizarre facts:
- Many of the city’s buildings are not straight and are actually leaning – apparently to make it easier to hoist supplies into the buildings
- Watch out for the bikes and trams! Both will ring a bell when they’re approaching, but will NOT stop for you. Pedestrians beware!
- An open mind goes a long way to making for a peaceful and prosperous society
The Netherlands has a long history of accepting outsiders and permitting social aspects that may be considered taboo. Some examples include religious tolerance before its neighbours, providing a safe environment for those in the prostitution trade, and legalizing marijuana. While these issues are contentious in many parts of the world, Amsterdam has found a way to make it work.
Instead of condemning others for various perceived vices, it may serve the greater good to look at these issues in a real world context, and remember who is worthy to throw the first stone.
Now I promise I’ll get off the soapbox! We checked out some fantastic sites, including the Vincent van Gogh Museum. This 19th century Dutch artist added so much to art as we know it today. A fascinating artist, personality, and legacy! We also checked out the Rijksmuseum, which showcases numerous art pieces, artifacts, and historical exhibits. If you’re in Amsterdam, you must check it out!
While in Amsterdam, we arrived for the worst storm recorded ever for the month of July. While we were wandering around the van Gogh Museum, trees were being ripped from their roots, the trams were shut down, and many umbrellas met their maker! My umbrella was not sparred… luckily I had a poncho that my Dad gave to me prior to starting the trip! Thanks Dad!
All in all, Amsterdam was a blast. Now we head into Germany. Cheers!
I nabbed a few photos from the following site: http://www.amsterdam.info. They permit use of their photos so long as they are credited – I’m getting good with all this copyright stuff!