Saturday, July 01, 2006

VISIT TO AMSTERDAM

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I already have been to Amsterdam many times and just wanted to show you what a very special town it is.

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Map of Amsterdam. Each blue "street" is a canal ! A "bus boat" carries people from one end to the other.

Amsterdam has one of the largest historic city centres in Europe dating from the 17th century. At this time, a series of concentric, semi-circular canals ("grachten") were dug around the old city centre. Along the canals houses and warehouses were built. The canals still make Amsterdam's layout and appearance today. Many fine houses and mansions are situated along the canals. Some of the narrow brick houses are gradually sinking because they are built on wooden piles. The 17th century is considered Amsterdam's "Golden Age"and became one of the wealthiest cities in the world.

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Canal

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Houseboats on the canals, people use them as houses

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A nice houseboat, with flowers at the entrance and of course a bicycle

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At 8 pm a concert was expected, at 4 people were already waiting in their boats with sandwiches and drinks and a lot of fun !

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The city hall

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Instead of sight seeing boats, this time horses

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street in Amsterdam. The center is always crowded

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glasses museum

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a market in Amsterdam fresh vegetables and a lot of cheese ! ___________________________________________________________________ Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting ___________________________________________________________________

on the market, shoes with a guard ___________________________________________________________________

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Entrance into an appartment. There are always steps to the first floor ___________________________________________________________________ Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting ___________________________________________________________________

The central station ___________________________________________________________________

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Amsterdam's smallest house ___________________________________________________________________ Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting ___________________________________________________________________

Behind "Madam Tussaud's" wax museum

Amsterdam is noted for many famous museums, such as the Rijksmuseum, the Rembrandt House Museum, the Van Gogh Museum who houses the largest collection of van Gogh's paintings and drawings in the world and has also its world-class symphony orchestra, the Concertgebouworkest, whose home base is the Concertgebouw.

In the Anne Frank House you can see the house where she and her family were hidden from the Nazis and where she wrote her diary. Of course as all girls I had red it too and made myself an immage of the house, the furniture and everything she had written in her diary. When I saw the reality I was a little disappointed.

Around the house another glass house had been built, to protect the old house from weather and pollution. Besides a huge table (where the family used to eat and sit) there were no furniture left. You could also see the book shelf which hid the entrance to the house and the ladder leading to the attic, where she used to sit. Of course it was not allowed to go upstairs. I had immagined a very small place where the 9 persons could hardly move around but saw a very big kitchen and also the rooms were very big. Everything what I had immagined in my head didn't fit. And there were so many people from all countries that the first time I went there I had been told that I would have to wait for three hours to get in ! So I went in winter but also then I still had to wait for an hour.

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Anne Frank house, with as usual a lot of people waiting ___________________________________________________________________ Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting ___________________________________________________________________

Shops, Supermarkets and along the canals everywhere bikes ___________________________________________________________________

In Amsterdam you don't need a car. It's even not pratical at all, because in the center are is very few parkings which are all payable and parkhouses too. The fees are hurrendous and it's cheaper to take a "bus boat" a tram or a bicycle. Anyway a great number of streets are closed off to cars and cyclists are kings. They drive like mad, coming from everywhere and just ring their bells. As they have special bike pathes which look like a sidewalk it's really dangerous for the tourists not used to such things.

Everybody living in Amsterdam has at least one bike. It's used for shopping, working, leisures, bringing children to schools in short, wherever the others are using a car in Amsterdam it's the bike or a boat. Many people also have boats with which they also can do their shopping or go out. I have never seen so many bikes at once in my whole life !

Amsterdam is also known as one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the world and is a center of bicycle culture. Bike racks are throughout the city. There are about 700,000 bicycles in the city. Each year, about 80,000 of them are stolen and 25,000 end up in the canals.

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"coffee shop"

Amsterdam is also notable for its red-light district, de Wallen. Prostitution is legal in the Netherlands. The red-light district is located in the center of the city along major canals and is clearly marked on maps. Of course here, I were not allowed to take pictures. But the women there are very friendly to everybody laughing, smoking and chatting when they are not working. This job is considered as independant and they have to declare their clients the same way a doctor or lawyer would do to pay their income taxes.

Everywhere in the city, coffee shops sell high quality cannabis (marijuana) products. These "coffee shops" are like pubs or bars, where you can sit, drink or smoke and are very cosy. Usually you get a menu card where you can choose the quality of marijuana which have fancy names. It's nothing special here and the residents of Amsterdam are always wondering why the tourists push aaah's and oooh's.

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There is even a Canabis Cup festival.

It is held annually in Amsterdam, and is one of the famous cannabis events among pot-smokers and cannabis-oriented businesses. The public is exposed to a large variety of marijuana strains which are judged by the public. A team of judges decides every year what company brought the best marijuana, best new product or nicest booth to the festival.

In 2007, the 19th Annual Cannabis Cup will be held in Amsterdam from November 19th – 23rd. Opening Ceremonies start on Sunday, November 19.

Marijuana is decriminalized in Holland. Usually the cannabis cup has a surprise weed, which is a strain of marijuana that is new to the culture and has never been smoked before, until it is being tested on the judges, which will give the surprise strain an official marijuana smoke where it will be named and sold at the coffee shops Many tourists go to Amsterdam just to attend the cannabis cup festival. It should be noted that because of the acceptance of marijuana in the Netherlands, the marijuana being contested is of a best quality level, compared to the illegal marijuana in other countries.

And with this I end my report about my visit to Amsterdam I edited a photo blog : KEYHOLE PICTURES ___________________________________________________________________

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About Me

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I love painting, writing, travelling and photography. My favorit models are my four cats which I observe with fun and humor. I am German, married to an Italian and we live in Waterloo (15 km from Brussels) / Belgium since many years. Waterloo is a famous place to many tourists, because Napoleon lost his battle here against Wellington and other European countries.

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