It's past time to start showing some of what I've seen since arriving here on the first of July. It was a rather fraught train trip, so I arrived in the afternoon and missed much of my first day. No matter, as I went out the next day to start at the beginning with the magnificent Centraal Station, opened in 1889.
This is a mere glimpse of the interior, which, beneath its Neo-classicism ceiling, is efficiently modern ~
Checking out some outside practicalities, these are some NS workers, all of whom seem to be well informed and helpful ~
To get your bearings, that is St. Nicholas basilica on the right. Town Centrum is roughly straight ahead from the main door, and trams on the far right ~
This is how the Metro signs look ~
From the station entrance, these two buildings are ahead and to the left, clearly visible from the station entrance. The one on the right sells souvenirs and tickets to cruises, etc. It also has public toilets with a .50€ entry fee. The one on the left will sell you a chip card and give good advice. It also has a machine that dispenses a map of Amsterdam for 1.50€. Buy this map!
Last Edit: Aug 4, 2018 15:48:32 GMT by bixaorellana: don't know my left from my right
That visitors' centre at the Centraal Station has expanded and improved from the last time I was at it (Not the last time I was in Amsterdam; now I get on the local train at Schiphol and get off it at Muiderpoort in the east end). I would have bought the map; I love "real-life" maps, though obviously I can get itineraries online.
Grand Central Station in NYC employs that same practical use of modernization. (Bless Jackie O's heart for preserving this gem!!).
All the maps (metro) in NYC are free and I have quite a collection of them. Both bus and subway. I can't wait to get the newest subway map at the end of the month as it will include the all new 2nd Avenue line.
Looking forward to more Bixa.
Enjoy and don't forget to take note of the waterway/canal system so that you can come to NOLA and present your findings.
Yes, I'm so happy that Grand Central Station in NYC was saved (I'm a public transport geek). Detroit had a beautiful station that is a ruin now, if it is still standing...
I hadn't heard of that new subway line and will look it up!
I was in Amsterdam during Katrina and some of the people involved were environmental engineers and could not believe that a wealthy country would let its waterway and polder/dike infrastructure decay like that when risk was obvious. It was the kind of thing they'd witnessed in Bangladesh, another low-lying country, but a very poor one.
Yes, I don't think they are as spectacular as what you've shown us of the Kew Gardens (I must REALLY visit London, not just pop over there (from continental Europe, not here!) to work at a conference)... But certainly a pleasant oasis, also close to the Zoo and the Resistance museum, and on your way to the Tropenmuseum, Dappermarkt etc.
Nothing is for free in Amsterdam ! But I must concede that Amsterdam is a beautiful city. Don't get it spoiled by what some Belgians may say ;-)
In fairness, you can see how the hoards pouring out of the train station would quickly overwhelm a free toilet. Yes, very beautiful city. Whatagain, check the "what's in your glass" thread & you will see that I took some Belgian advice.
Yes! I did! I went today. Huge thanks to you for prompting me, as I thought about skipping it after the big disappointment of the Leiden botanical garden. Also, great gratitude to LaGatta for encouraging me to go see the Tropenmuseum, which I also took in today.
the stone carved frieze reminds me of exotic Temple friezes
I neglected to get pictures of the various Art Nouveau style bas-relief ladies languidly lying on their own friezes on the front of the station.
We are now going to stroll down Damrak Avenue to take in a little of the Centrum. Damrak runs straight away from the front of the station. In the first two pictures we're walking backwards to take in where we were ~
Crossing the bridge & looking back at the Centraal ~
Looking at the back of the tourist center, with St. Nicholas church on the right ~
I was pulled right in after glancing through a doorway to this covered passageway ~
I don't think it's possible to look straight down any side street in the Centrum ~
Bixa, two mayors here in a row before the last one (who was also in the loop) were arrested and charged with corruption-related charges. The mayor of the city of Laval, a large suburb on the island just north of Montréal island, has faced even more serious charges. This involves collusion with the mafia and biker gangs. This has serious implications for infrastructure. It took several contractors and several trades from early April to late November (trace of snow on the ground) for the city to redo the ageing infrastructure under my block. Yes, the waterworks and all were well over 100 years old, but this was just one block - admittedly a long one, like many Montréal blocks (the initial farm lots all had a small bit of riverside and were long and narrow, where I live isn't that old but continued that Nouvelle France planning (this can also be seen in Detroit). It was utterly ludicrous.
Edited to add: I've never been inside a FEBO. What on earth are the Spanish tourists saying?
Hendrik Berlage was also a major player in the Amsterdam School. I sent you stuff about its role in social housing, as social housing, like quality public transport, is one of my pet geekeries. One of the key features of the Amsterdam School was the importance of lighting and large windows, which goes back a long way further in the Netherlands. Now Amsterdam seems to be enjoying hot and sunny skies! I've spent summers there where I wore a jeans jacket and jeans or a skirt with tights every day.. Not much above 15c.
I don't know whether you had time to go to the public market (Dappermarkt) or the shopping streets nearby (Eerste Van Swindenstraat/Indischestraat) but you have time.
I have been appreciating this report silently so far since the views are many of the places that I know and love, as well as the places that I don't love. The monument across from the royal palace will apparently always be ugly. When I first discovered Amsterdam in 1971, it was the central rallying point of the hippie world and it was nearly impossible to find a place to sit anywhere around it. It is still a popular meeting point for not necessarily the finest people in the city, and I see that you made a point of not including them in your photo.
I have watched the evolution of Damrak and its sister street Nieuwendijk over all of these years, and it is clear that they will never be elegant, but that does not appear to be a municipal goal in any case. Nevertheless, I've seen all of the trendy shops of the moment come and go over the years. It is most definitely an area of transience and nothing is made to last there.
Right now, I'm anxiously awaiting your exploration of some of the tranquil canal areas. The tourist boats are an excellent way to see places that you will want to explore later. The last time I was in Amsterdam, there were big variations in prices for all of the various boats leaving from Centraal. I took the one that was charging half as much as the other companies and was very pleased with it -- the circuit and the commentary were just as good as on the more expensive boats. The guide was hoping to make a bit extra on tips, but oops, I forgot to give one.
LaGatta, the suggestions and information you've sent have been solid gold. You certainly understand the things that interest me most!
I may or may not take a canal boat, although in my many walking excursions I spend time gazing at the canals.
This report is being made in the sequence in which I'm seeing Amsterdam, so there are markets, etc. yet to show, along with places I've not yet seen. My hope here is to unfold & share my pleasure as a first-time visitor to the city.
Edited because I just saw Mick's comment. There will be a report on the truly wonderful botanical garden. It has a small but excellent collection of Agaves.
That monument is hideous. Kalverstraat, the pedestrianised shopping street in the microcentre, is also no beauty, with the same shops one sees everywhere in the world now. There is a large HEMA, which is about the only shop I frequent there. Another dud is the flower market; one finds flowers everywhere in street markets and even supermarkets.
That area is about the only one where scruffy longterm drug-users are much in evidence. Vondelpark was a hotspot in the hippie era, but nowadays it is mostly just normal Dutch people and some tourists. I will point out that a friend was held up there; Amsterdam is a very safe city, but there are (usually non-violent) muggings and obviously pickpockets, and they hone in on people not from there. I had a small wallet (or change purse) stolen at Albert Cuypmarkt the first time I was there; there were no credit cards or other valuables but I was pissed off to have lost some Euros (not a large amount, but...) Never happened again, I guess I just looked like I was familiar with the city.
I certainly enjoy the botanical gardens; I was afraid you'd be disappointed after Kew!
If you'd enjoy savouring a local craft beer outdoors in a pretty setting www.brouwerijhetij.nl/ this brewery is located by a canal and next to an old windmill, where their beers are brewed! And it is not the sort of place you might feel uncomfortable by yourself. And I've been there with at least one Belgian, who was quite satisfied with his craft beer... (I'm not a beer expert). The site is also in English.
Great report! Contrarily to kerouac, I didn't really enjoy the canal boat tour. We were in a closed boat (it was on a cool spring day) and from the boat we didn't see very much of the city because the water in the canals was very low and we couldn't see above the shore. Probably the open boats have better views.
You are so lucky with the weather, bixa. This is not our usual summer weather, believe me!
Amboseli, I was in Amsterdam probably the last time there was such a hot summer, and in an old house with practically no ventilation. Not only that, two colleagues were living below and bitched whenever I had to go get fresh water or go to the toilet (because of the litres of water I was drinking). I was barefoot and tiptoeing. And seriously pissed off, and afraid I'd pass out. I have no cardiac problems, but still...
Fortunately that location had already been sold and that would never happen again. That building has been utterly gutted and is VERY, VERY posh now. And soundproofed. Probably even air-conditioned, though usually that is absurd in Amsterdam.
Kalverstraat, the pedestrianised shopping street in the microcentre, is also no beauty, with the same shops one sees everywhere in the world now.
Coincidentally, I was on that very street today because I went to the annoying Amsterdam Museum which is located there. On the bright side, the sales are in full swing so I was able to assuage my museum disappointment with the purchase of a very useful cotton blouse for 8€.
You are so lucky with the weather, bixa. This is not our usual summer weather, believe me!
I tell you, Amboseli ~ I'm the bringer of good weather to your northern climes! Soon the EU countries (including the UK) will realize that & start bankrolling my trips, veritably fighting over who gets me for the summer.
Probably, if any anyporters were to visit Amsterdam while I'm here, I would see my way to canal cruising.
Now a little about my neighborhood. My apartment is near the corner of Bilderdijkstraat and Kinkerstraat in the Oud-West part of Amsterdam. The nearest street market to me is the Ten Kate Markt, a small cornucopia of fresh and interesting food. Next to it is the Foodhallen which, if I were a hip millennial would probably seem like heaven. But since I am a grumpy person of a certain age, I find it overpriced and precious.
Before we hit those two landmarks, here are the first pictures I took in Amsterdam, on my first afternoon. No idea what the meringue(?) things are, but I've since seen the in other bakeries. The canal picture is because, well ... Amsterdam!
The Ten Kate Markt ~
Lotsa bikes here, so lotsa call for lotsa locks ~
Let us bow our heads now and pay homage to Cheesus ~
On to Foodhallen ~
The ramp down to bike parking ~
The Filmhallen is probably a big plus for the neighborhood ~
At the entrance to the food court part of Foodhallen, the bleachers face a screen showing the World Cup ~
Out the back door is a small courtyard. The three Xs are a symbol of Amsterdam ~
Good to see a public library, and the style of the courtyard is very typically Amsterdam. I do hope that they don't check on whether fans have bought their food and beer there, or brought it in from outside (cheaper). A renovation of that building was a good thing, but I'm annoyed that it targeted just one demographic category. Not speaking only of age. There are a lot of young adults in precarious employment who don't have the money for those fancy takeaways.
lagatta , yes! and thanks for mentioning the library. Those are all over town. As for younger adults and money for fancy grub ~ whew! There are a gazillion trendy cafés and restaurants in Amsterdam and all of them seem busy all the time with the under-40 crowd. The other day I passed a classy waterhole with outdoor seating where there were people in my age group sitting around a table. We just stared at each other, the way toddlers will do when encountering another little kid.
amboseli , thank you so much for that suggestion! I've visited the Tropenmuseum, but wanted to go back anyway. There is too much there to take in at one time, plus some dance troupe was on the ground floor making a racket. The young woman at the museum shop desk miserably told me that the sound check (for which she used air quotation marks) had been going on since eleven that morning. This was at after four. One of the reasons I wanted the Museumkaart was to have the luxury of returning to a museum at will. The Things That Matter exhibit certainly warrants my return.
And right now, a sunny perfect Saturday, I should be outside enjoying Amsterdam. But this perfect day has coincided with my desire not to abuse my poor feeties anymore nor to take any more pictures until I get the overly large number still hidden away on the memory card onto the computer. I'm also washing clothes & will now attempt to catch up this thread at least a little bit.
This is not a strictly day by day account, as any side trips or museums will be treated separately.
Here I go setting off southward to see the Albert Cuyp market, plus whatever else I might encounter ~
The street side of the Rijksmuseum ~
And here we are at Albert Cuyp, which is like my little Ten Kate market on steroids. It wasn't that crowded, although it's apparently a tourist magnet. While there I "enjoyed" some typical street food while chatting with an Englishman who moved here 17 years ago.
Here is a typical food that I do enjoy, perhaps far too much. After the first couple of dubious bites, this stuff acts like crack on the system. It's caramel-y syrup sandwiched between two wafers. Tragically, it can be bought cheaply at my local supermarket ~
The tins are adorable. The ecstasy on the faces of the family is not an exaggeration. I feel the same way about stroopwafels. Note the baker, like any dealer with addicted clientele, is showing glee ~
I dunno -- maybe because sports shorts are for sale there?
The end of the market ~
After looking left, then right, I decide not to explore in either direction, but to retrace my steps.
Yes, Albert Cuyp is the largest market. Probably Dappermarkt is the second. I bought a couple of lovely combs at Albert Cuyp years ago, but haven't seen the comb and hair accessory place the last time I was there. My hair is very curly, and combing it is always a challenge, even with conditioner. The combs were made in Germany.
Ten Kate is much smaller, but it has some very good food stalls. Is there still a place that sells chicken (cooked and uncooked?)http://www.amsterdamsights.com/shopping/tenkatemarkt.html
I'm glad you were able to buy a cotton blouse on sale in Kalverstraat; a lot of the clothing on offer in the markets is frankly dreadful, nothing like the quality you've shown us in Oaxaca.
My ankles have swollen a bit in our heatwave as well, so I'll have to soak them today...
The current Rijksmuseum building was designed by architect PJH Cuypers, who also created Amsterdam's Central Station. ... The Rijksmuseum and Central Station share the classically ornamented style known as Neo-Gothic and the external building with archway and gardens is worthy of a visit in itself. The building was completed in 1883, opened in 1885 and installed in its final form in 1887.source
You really have to go in through the arches to fully assimilate how very, very, very big the building is ~
They were playing Beethoven. Their excellent playing in that acoustical setting was sublime ~
It's six o'clock & the museum is closing for the day. Let's look down into the atrium ~
All of the struts in the archway have different designs ~
And we're out and into the other side ~
It's a treat to gaze upon the museum garden empty of people ~
Ten Kate is much smaller, but it has some very good food stalls. Is there still a place that sells chicken? I'm glad you were able to buy a cotton blouse on sale in Kalverstraat; a lot of the clothing on offer in the markets is frankly dreadful, nothing like the quality you've shown us in Oaxaca.
LaGatta, I think the chicken place is still there. So far I've only gone because I was nearby or because I needed a particular item. I should go early one day to see it in full swing. Don't overestimate Oaxacan quality. Whereas it's true that clothes might be perfectly embroidered, they are often sewn together with all the finesse of an 8th-grader forced to take home-ec. What horrifies me about the yes, dreadful clothing in the Amsterdam markets is the combination of their cheesy synthetic fabrics with all the smoking shoppers. I keep expecting a market to go up in a giant melty poof of flaming polyester.
I'll just finish off my stroll through the museum grounds.
Here is one of the I amsterdam signs. You can see that they're a climbing temptation for kids of all ages ~
The huge pool also draws them in ~
Looking back towards the museum ~
The Museumplein is vast and ringed with several other museums. Here you can see the Van Gogh museum on the right and the concert hall at the end of the picture ~
Artful shade ~
And now I'm heading back, over a Vondelpark bridge ~