Amsterdam, The Netherlands

7/24/17 Amsterdam, The Netherlands

We arrived in Amsterdam before sunrise. I was awake and watched the passing landscape as we navigated a canal from the Rhine to the Amstel River.

Amsterdam emerged as a settlement of fishermen at the mouth of the Amstel River around 1200, and became wealthy after the discovery of curing herring for export in 1385. It became a port for beer, and over the next 300 years established and expanded sea trading routes as the Dutch East Trading Company (VOC), bringing goods to homes of wealthy merchants from the Orient.

 

After breakfast we were taken by coach to the center of Amsterdam for a canal boat ride followed by a guided tour of the Van Gogh Museum. Following are a couple shots obtained between rain showers while on the canal cruise.

Five superimposed bridges off the Keisergracht (Keiser Canal)
Westerkerk Highest tower in The Netherlands

Sadly, there were few opportunities for good shots during the canal ride. We were shown the several more prominent canals toward the center of the concentric plan of waterways, each built by converting swamp land to living space as the town grew.

We were then led to the Van Gogh Museum for a guided tour of several more famous paintings by Vincent Van Gogh . Many if not most of his paintings are no longer in The Netherlands.

Next stop: Hotel De L’Europe where we had a room, overlooking the town, decorated with copies of Rembrant paintings.  That afternoon we had arranged to meet Amy’s cousin, Helga, sitting next to Amy,  from Lüneborg  who brought three of her children and one grandchild to meet us at the hotel.

We all went out to a restaurant serving typical Dutch fare and spent the evening catching up. The two-tiered plate, below, was presented with appetizers and later with deserts. Entrées were meat, fish, or vegetarian.

The next day was spent walking around the Old City and experiencing the Hermitage Museum, a display by Russia. Remember that Tzar Peter the Great had visited Amsterdam and both learned the shipbuilding trade, and adopted the system of building canals that he transposed to Petrograd, now St. Petersburg.

Before leaving for home, I had arranged for a guided tour of the Old City by a photographer, Muriel. While my goal was to obtain a picture at night of the city from the D’Adam Lookout, unfortunately the rain was intense and we had to take shelter in the Double Tree Hotel Sky Lounge. The time spent walking about Old Town Amsterdam, learning of its history, and taking pictures, was seen as Muriel’s unique view of life in the city.

Rembrandt statue overlooking bronze figures of “The Night Watch”
View of a canal
Example of subsidence. Rotting support piling results in unique floor and window levels.
A church with a “hidden” congregation. Members, forbidden to gather for worship, would enter from the building to the left.
Land homes with canal houseboat neighbors.
Rembrandt square
Magere or Skinny Bridge
Weigh Station
Canal Tour boat
Distiller of Jenever
Pub serving a variety of Jenever
Another neighborhood bar

During our stay at the Double Tree Sky Lounge, Muriel treated me to a small glass of Jenever which I found to be of almost neutral taste with a hint of Juniper.

Jenever can be sold in ceramic bottles
Amsterdam skyline from Double Tree Sky Lounge through the rain.
Oude Kerke (Old Church) in the Red Light District
A Café at night

The next day we packed up and flew home.

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