Amsterdam: Postcards & random musings

 

~ Looking back atΒ our trip to Amsterdam last month, I have been wondering, what is the most fascinating thing about Amsterdam that makes the city so irresistible!Β The answer often comes to me in many fragments and,then, in intersecting loops-sunken canals, vibrating nightlife, sex, leisurely coffee shops, old brick buildings, sweet dope, fine cheese and what not???

But, again, the answer is a collective blur; of things inexplicable, enchanting and yet most simple. Stroll through its serpentine passages, drown yourself in the pulsating nightlife, steal a few moments of a naughty night at its red light district and forget yourself in the hazy smoke of the ‘second-most-talked-about-thing’ the city has to offer (you know what I mean πŸ˜‰ )

Yet, Amsterdam is not all of it- it is only the colourful wrapping paper for it is a city with far-reaching history and tales of beautiful people. It is a city that changes its colours like a disco-light but at the same time, it doesn’t forget its roots.

So it is not easy to explain why Amsterdam casts a spell on you, the moment you step foot into its magical world. But I must, even if it means just a few pointers~

So here’s the best of Amsterdam to me:

1. Slanted houses: You see them everywhere. Just take a walking tour. Some of them are so crooked that you fear it would come down crushing you at any moment and you wonder why these slanted houses? From what I understand, some of them are due to the foundation errors as Amsterdam city was built on a marshland surrounding the Amstel River but most of them were made crooked on purpose as most of the Amsterdam houses have narrow stairs which prove a nightmare for shifting furniture to the upper floors.

What the Dutch people do is, they use a pulley system to pull the furniture to the upper floors. The slight forward slant is meant to minimize the chance of furniture colliding with the facade while being transferred.

2. Canal cruise: When in Amsterdam, you just can’t ignore the canals. As a matter of fact, Amsterdam city comes second in the world when it comes to the highest number of canals, the first being Venice of course. Parts of the canal system in Amsterdam have been declared a UNESCO ‘World Heritage Site’ as these canals not only once meant the lifeline of the city transport but also were the reasons for the country’s glorious trade history.

They are inviting, classy and the very breath of Amsterdam. So why not take a canal cruise and get acquainted with its centuries-old history as well as modern inclusions? Moreover, the cruise is a photographer’s delight. Ever thought of those great pictures of Amsterdam bridges? They are mostly clicked from a boat.

Just steer yourself towards the iconic building of Amsterdam Central. There will be a couple of canal cruise counters within a few paces to both the right and left.

3. Street food: Day or night, Amsterdam can never disappoint you with its food, especially the street food. My four nights at Amsterdam have been ever so fresh in my memory and a part of the credit goes to the city’s food offerings. So what makes me so happy about its food? Three words- cheap, tasty, and plentiful!

From breakfast to dinner, the options are limitless and you will be spoilt for choices. But you just got one tummy and it just cannot handle all the delicious foods out there on the streets. Sigh, life’s problems! Jokes apart, five things you must try in Amsterdam- french fries, fish & chips, any kind of wok takeaways, pancakes and Dutch waffles.

I ate much more than these five but let’s just not remind myself of all the calories. The bottom line is when you get finger licking food for and under 5 Euros you got to say ‘yay’, pretty much all the time.

4. Museums: Honestly, they never appeal to me as they are crowded, expensive and lifeless. But I will give a thumbs up to ‘ The Anne Frank’s House’. She used to be my childhood hero and she still remains so. But this place is touristy as hell. If you are expecting to relive Anne’s word in the quiet, then forget about it. Although, the most crowded museum award goes the Rijk Museum with people crowding it’s entrance to get clicked at the ‘I AMsterdam’ sign.

The museum is pretty, and so is the red sign but it is not at all a pretty sight with people climbing like monkeys all over it. If you want to get clicked in front of the sign alone, try being an early bird, like really early. Or better, go at night and wait for the dawn.

5. Nightlife: Amsterdam’s nightlife is notorious for many reasons. But that is not always the case. It is true that you can find your guilty pleasure in its Red Light District and some other parts of the city but Amsterdam also offers good music, dance and other cultural events. Also, with all the comparatively cheap liquor, pub hopping is a good way to explore the city.

I personally, do not like to see prostitution/objectification of the sexes as a part of tourism but let’s just admit that this place is vibrant, beautiful and full of infectious energy. So once you are in, just join the crowd and breeze through its narrow alleys. But remember to leave your camera behind. This is no place for photography.

Besides all of these, Amsterdam smells like cannabis and coffee. And don’t be surprised if they mix the both. It is sold and consumed so openly here yet you will have to follow some leads, ask around, and consult hand-drawn maps πŸ˜‰

6. Bicycles: They say you haven’t really seen Amsterdam if you haven’t explored it on a bike. Part of it is true, as its narrow alleys are best explored on a bicycle. They are available for rent everywhere in the city. Plus, Amsterdam is one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the world with special lanes for bicycles and fewer cars in the main city area. What else you need?

Well, you probably need to have some insurance for the bicycle as well as a strong lock because, I guess, the highest number of bike thefts in the world are reported in Amsterdam itself. But that shouldn’t keep you from having fun. the best way to enjoy cycling here is to join a bicycle tour. I am sure, your bike is safe when you move around in groups.

7. Markets: From luxurious shopping malls hidden inside historic buildings to colourful open air flea markets, from high-end brands to locally produced goods- Amsterdam is a shopaholic’s haven. I, personally, recommend the makeshift daily market near NieuMarket metro station where you can find organic food products, antiques, flowers, and books beginning from the spring time to the late summers.

Speaking of flowers, do not miss the Floating flower market on the Singel canal between the Koningsplein and the Muntplein. This happens to be the world’s only floating flower market where beautiful stalls over houseboats selling all kinds of flowers, export quality tulip bulbs and seeds welcome you all round the year. The same market gets converted into a vibrant Christmas market amidst the December chill.

As for malls, Just find your way to the dam square. The luxurious shopping world will reveal itself to you. For tasting and buying world-class cheese, the city has innumerable outlets spread all over its streets. If a day trip out of Amsterdam is not possible for you, then grab your cheese right in the heart of the city.

Photo GalleryΒ 

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The slanted houses of Amsterdam

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View from the canal cruise

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Again slanted or I was feeling dizzy??

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Canal view on a bright and beautiful day

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The mandatory canal & bridge click

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Bicycles & Amsterdam πŸ˜€

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Floating Chinese restaurant

The mandatory click πŸ˜€

Must try-french fries

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Chocolate eclair and what not?

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One of the famous confectioneries

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The gateway to temporary heaven- this way please

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A rain-soaked Amsterdam alley in the evening

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Smart or not..fetish & fantasy sound good πŸ˜‰

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The first condom specialty shop in the world. Founded in 1987 in Amsterdam πŸ˜› . Do you fancy the Eiffel Tower one?

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Amsterdam street shops

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Floating flower market, Singel

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One of the renowned cheese chain outlets

 

9 Comments

  • GST Consultants November 16, 2017 at 10:58 am

    Hi, Really great effort. Everyone must read this article. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    • Jutismita November 17, 2017 at 6:24 pm

      Thank you πŸ™‚

      Reply
  • kaushik55 May 16, 2017 at 2:21 am

    Beautiful pictures!

    Reply
  • restlessjo June 1, 2016 at 12:27 am

    Thank you for a captivating look at Amsterdam. I enjoyed it very much πŸ™‚

    Reply
  • Roselinde April 26, 2016 at 11:03 am

    Love your list of highlights! πŸ™‚ Good thing you tried the fries πŸ˜›

    Reply
    • Storyteller April 26, 2016 at 1:19 pm

      Thank you. That means a lot, coming from a local πŸ˜€

      Reply
  • southernafricatravelsblog April 26, 2016 at 9:24 am

    Looks amazing

    Reply

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