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On Amsterdam's Canals

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Day 50 Thursday 4 November – Amsterdam's Canals

There was a brisk wind with an overcast sky when we set off to find the south-side office of the Canal-bus company. We travelled most of their routes and covered many of the waterways that make up Amsterdam's 100 Km of canals. The structures date back to the early 1600s and most retain the character of the era.

Unfortunately it is difficult to take decent photos from inside of an enclosed cruise boat. It is also impossible to remember all the landmark buildings along the way.

We were well aware that there are a LOT of bicycles in Holland, we had also seen the extensive bike-paths but the impact of the multi-storey bike parks really brought the message home. Literally thousands of bikes stacked side by side wherever they can be anchored to a rail, a post or each other.

The house-boats along the canals are varied in style, appearance and condition. Some look quite derelict and detract from the scenic appeal of the canals. Others are well maintained and look quite comfortable. The city is no longer issuing new mooring permits.

There are hundreds of bridges across these canals, some of them for pedestrians only, others that open to allow larger vessels through. The cruise boats are just low enough to sail under them with just inches to spare.

Many of the houses are quite narrow, some of them extremely so. This stems from a time when the amount of tax charged was dictated by the frontage on the street. Some of these narrow houses are four stories high and over 30 meters deep. Most have hoisting beams to facilitate the delivery of furniture to the higher levels. Many 'newer' structures retain that feature.

I was caught short near the central station and followed the signs to WC. Imagine my surprise when I had to part with 0,50 € just to have a pee !!! After that I kept an eye out for public toilets and didn't see any, either 'pay as you go' or free.

Towards the end of the day we visited the Van Gogh Museum, not because of a great interest in the artist but because it was part of the Canal-bus package. There are four floors of paintings that reflect the life and times of the artist, no doubt more meaningful to those with an artistic bent.

There are over 20 museums listed on the public transport guide, it is unlikely that there is a human endeavour that isn't covered. There's even a Museum of Bags and Purses.


Posted by greynomadm 12:31 Archived in Netherlands

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Where are the carts with rounds of cheese? And the little Dutch girls with mirrors on their hats? Sheesh - talk about wrecking a girls long held idea of what Holland looks like :)


by DrTard

No public toilets? that is why the Dutchies have coffee in a restaurant on a regular basis. That's where the loos are.How one recognises their own bike is beyond me.
Message for Nat..The dutch girls and the cheeses on the carts are at Alkmaar on a Friday morning. They even wear clogs too.
Keep having fun. Maria

by mbessems

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