Along the Canals of Amsterdam

amster5I must admit I've been slacking in the blogging department as of late. I've started wedding planning this past week and it's completely consumed my time! It feels nice to take a break and just write :) A couple weeks ago Pierre and I headed to Amsterdam for a 3 day visit. I had been before back in 2007, but it was Pierre's first time. The train ride from Paris was 3 hours long. We traveled through Belgium, stopping in Brussels, Antwerp and Rotterdam before arriving in Amsterdam. The ride was pretty, once you spot the giant wind mills in the fields, you know you've arrived in Holland! amster7

Amsterdam in a few words: Bicycles, canals, waffles, boats, prostitutes, design, travelers and 'coffee shops'!

Amsterdam is such a freaking cool and charming city. The vibe there is laid back, but its small alley-like streets prompts adventurous exploration. After living in france for half a year, the first thing I noticed was how nice people were there. They smiled at us when we bought things, were friendly and helpful. I felt like I was back in the states. Also EVERYONE speaks english, and without an accent might I add, so it's simple to navigate your way around!

We came to Amsterdam without any plans and it was perfect. We wandered about the city visiting shops, flower markets and coffee shops as we came across them. We endlessly walked along the canals which was so nice. We could just walk those canals forever.amster10

In the canals were all kinds of boats, rafts, speed boats and houseboats. Often you'll see locals riding by having wine, snacks and laughing with friends.



There are many small streets off the canals, one of the tiny alleyways led us to the Red Light District. As most of you know, the Red Light District is the neighborhood where prostitutes have set up shop, displaying themselves in glass doors/ window which have red lights positioned overhead.amster8

So pretty much wherever you see a red light, it means a prostitue is in the doorway. They are sectioned off by category. Whether you want an ethnic woman, curvy girl or skinny blond they're in their own designated streets. It was funny to see men quickly coming out of the prostitute doorways and trying to cover their faces from the tourists milling about.

This photo above is an alley way dead end with a door. We weren't planning on going in, but curiosity got the best of us and many other tourists (men, women and kids) were going inside so we thought 'why not!?'. We stepped inside and had walked into a brothel! There were women standing around in lingerie and black lights trying to make eye contact with any and everyone! To get out you had to walk around the whole thing. It was so funny to see all of us tourists awkwardly trying to find the exit door.

Bicycles!! Man oh man, people were FLYING on those bikes! Amsterdam is a very walkable city, but at times I felt like I was constantly looking over my shoulder to make sure I wasn't about to get run over by a bike. There were certainly more of them on the road than cars. There were some intersections where we had to watch for cars, buses, bikes and trams! amster12We visited Vondelpark, it was gorgeous! Below is a little island covered in Tulips!



We had such a great time in Amsterdam, we decided we would try to visit at least once a year whilst living in Europe! I have a couple more Amsterdam posts coming up, stay tuned!