Amsterdam, Netherlands - Land of Windmills & Tulips - May 7-14th, 2014
Below and to the right: These pictures are from Amsterdam's Medieval Torture Museum! Nothing said welcome to the Netherlands like seeing this attraction first after getting from the airport to Amsterdam Centraal Station! I really enjoyed it! As I walked in to pay the entrance fee, the man says "All these devices inside have been used at one point or another in history and are the real things". Of course I respond out loud, with what should have remained in my head, as "OMG that is so exciting"! What can I say, I am a criminology major! LOL.
Above and Below: First few sights of Amsterdam, it did not disappoint at all! Even though it was fairly cloudy my first day, the little houses and charm the city had made me more than happy! I honestly was hesitant about visiting Amsterdam but it turned out to be a thousand times better than I expected and some of these pictures help to prove that! It was beautiful!
Above and Below: Walking through the streets of Amsterdam. Beauty surrounded you as you walked up to Dam Square! The city did not disappoint but was more amazing than I even imagined! Well worth a visit for sure!
Above: One of the big department store buildings that was around Dam Square in Amsterdam. I didn't make it inside this one but did do lots of looking and shopping around other main streets and shopping centres!
Below: Clogs are a Dutch tradition and you found different sets of very large, painted ones around the streets! They were too fun even though no one actually wears them on a day to day basis! I even got my very own fuzzy pair that are slippers and pink, of course (with Windmills and Tulips)! I couldn't resist!
Above and Below: The boats surround the canals of Amsterdam at every turn. It wouldn't be the beautiful city it is without the iconic tall, skinny houses that are actually so close together and some even tilt and lean, thinking they would not even be able to stand at they do! Nonetheless it was stunning and each one has character and charm!
Above: There were some very grand buildings all over the city. This is one of the churches in Dam Square!
Below: The little building in front is a restaurant for the boats that dock in front of it. Behind is Amsterdam Centraal Station! It was the biggest and most grand entrance to the train station I have ever seen! Stunning is an understatement!
Above: Views of the canals. It was super beautiful!
Below: Lots of the tops of the buildings in Amsterdam were very decorated and full of beauty! It was an unusual type of architecture for each one but nonetheless, gorgeous.
Above: The canal makes a funny split but the Dutch made a use of the little piece of land with part of the flower market. I did end up visiting it on my last day in Amsterdam and the smells were just wonderful - no candle could ever capture that!
Below: Architecture is no shortage in Amsterdam. Also you can catch a glimpse of the tram here. They are all over the city and connect all parts similar to a metro but above ground obviously! I didn't have to take any of the lines because everything is so close in walking distance for tourists!
Above: Canal views!
Below: The streets of Amsterdam!
Above: Views on the streets of Amsterdam!
Below: Beautiful views surround Amsterdam!
Above: Beauty in the canals of Amsterdam. I wasn't lying about the bike parking.
Below: As the sun cleared, it all added to the beauty of Amsterdam and the canals!
Above and Below: Sights of Amsterdam are gorgeous no matter what is on the other lens of the camera, or being seen through your eyes! Pictures cannot put the sights into context with how much beauty they held!
Below and to the Right: The Amsterdam tulip museum! For those who do not know, Holland is famous for their tulips and tulip fields during the spring months. On my first day in Amsterdam I found this place which was more than brilliant. It outlined how tulips ever came to Holland and why they are so famous. They have turned into a symbol of the country. The day after visiting this lovely place, I had a chance to go to the most famous tulip fields in the Netherlands called Keukenhof!
Above and Below: Walking around Amsterdam.
Above and Below: You learn that not always are the big tourist attractions are the prettiest!
Above and Below: Big beautiful buildings throughout the city of Amsterdam. It is so hard not to just stop and stare for hours at how the architecture is done and the beauty each one has!
Above: Dutch porcelain is the focal point of so many souvenir stores and shops it is incredible! It isn't my exact taste but it was so pretty to see the many designs. It is sold literally on everything.
Below: Beautiful building that housed many little shops and stores right around by my hostel.
Below and to the right: There are going to be several pictures of the tulips and various other flower displays that appeared in Keukenhof. I had over 500 pictures from my day here and of course I cannot upload them all. I have posted a few there to give you a taste. The beauty could not be captured through a camera lens. I spent just over 3 hours here and it was more than enough time to soak it all in. But in all honesty, many more hours could have been spent taking it all it. This was the best day for me of the entire trip and my favourite memories made here! I absolutely love tulips and seeing these fields was the reason for visiting Amsterdam. It made me fall in love with the flowers and the city even more. So here you go, the pictures speak for themselves. Enjoy them!
Above and Below: Lovely views while walking about the streets of Amsterdam. Such a stunning city and has the best views!
Above and Below: Around Amsterdam!
Above: The IAmsterdam sign behind the Rijksmuseum. It is super busy to try and get a clear shot of it but at least I have been there!
Below: The area behind the Rijksmuseum. Such a gorgeous day in Amsterdam - perfect for museums and the street market!
Above: These things, called Stroopwafels in Dutch, are the best snacks in the world! Honestly, it is so good! They are waffles (not quite hard but not too soft either), that are filled with syrup! When you bite into them the syrup oozes out and is just a delightful treat! So good!
Below: This is the outside of Amsterdam Centraal Station. It is a huge station and very beautiful! It is the highlight of amazing architecture!
Above: Doing like the Dutch with fries in a paper cone covered in a spicy ketchup! Oh so yummy!
Above: Sky views of Amsterdam! The house are each unique and I am sure that you will not be able to find to alike anywhere in the city! It is quite a sight to see the houses just as you imagine them from what you hear about on TV and such!
Below: View from the canals are something more than common in Amsterdam. Each canal, whether it be overlooking one side or the other, provides a breathtaking view of the city and houseboats. But, no matter which bridge or canal you overlook, you can be sure to find bicycles parked and locked to the sides of the bridges wherever there is room - after all, it is how the Dutch get around and are even more scary on the roads than cars! I have never been "belled" more than I have ever have in Amsterdam with bikes trying to get through red lights and down narrow streets - chaotic but so Dutch!
Above and Below: Walking through the streets of Amsterdam there was always something to see, even it was just admiring the nature or houses that surrounded you at every turn!
Above: This is how typical the narrow streets are in Amsterdam. It is so iconic of what you picture when you think of Amsterdam. The city was unreal and just beauty was at every turn and corner.
Below: There is bridges upon bridges over the canals that surround the city. It never got old I can assure you that. It was stunning!
Above and Below: An old style house that is being converted.
Above: The unusual architecture that you find in Amsterdam has its own kind of beauty. It is something that you don't see in other places around the world but it is so cute and makes Amsterdam as charming as it is!
Below: The bicycles are everywhere! LOL.
Above: Some of the bridges had different looks to them. This one was old style and looked like it was going to open up to let a boat past, but it didn't of course!
Below: Apparently there are lots of famous diamonds shops around Amsterdam but I took this photo for the little windmill on top of the sign! It to me was the major iconic picture here. LOL. Holland has many famous windmills but even though this wasn't one of those major ones, it was little and cute!
Above: Seeing the typical tall and thin architecture of Amsterdam!
Below: Now, that is what I am talking about! I bought some homemade Stroopwafels. For those who do not know what these are, they are pieces of heaven. It is a hard type waffle like cookie thing filled with syrup. If you hold it in your hand it becomes a bit warm and the syrup is soft inside! It really is a delight and SO YUMMY! The Dutch put them over their coffee or tea to soften the waffle and melt the syrup!
Above and Below: The grand building that is found in the main centre of Amsterdam - Dam Square!
Above and Below: This is the Anne Frank house. Nearly everyone knows the story of Anne and her family. You were not allowed to take pictures inside the museum. But I must say it was one of the best I have ever been too. When you walked in they began by telling the story of the office and what the rooms were used for back in the day. You then, before going up the tiny staircase, got told the story of how the family went into hiding and heard clips from Anne's diary. The also have the original there framed and snips from it painted on the walls. You then see videos of the office workers and Anne's father who tell the story through their eyes and what went on. You get to walk up the narrow stairs and see the original bookcase. There are few upgrades on the house but upstairs is the original wall paper and fixtures. You even see the dirt and rust on the little kitchen counters and sink. It is an experience like no other to go through the Anne Frank house. I must admit though, as much as I did enjoy this, I kept thinking to myself "The Fault in Our Stars" was here - it was filmed right here where I am standing. That was the second rewarding point for me from this experience!
Above: One of the most beautiful pictures and views in all of Amsterdam!
Below: All that is missing here is a giant windmill and you have the most iconic Netherlands photo known to mankind.
Below and to the left: Right beside the tulip museum was the cheese museum - another famous thing in Holland. I must say I did try a lot of the samples they had out of various cheese, but I didn't like any - and I didn't even know what they were because the descriptions were in Dutch. LOL.
Below: This was the biggest and most extravagant mall I have ever been in! It was very classy and way too expensive but I mean, I had to still go in right?! It was just unreal!
Above and Below: Stunning canals that flow throughout Amsterdam! I even got some sun later on in the day! Perfection!
Below: One of the major 6 windmills in Amsterdam! I was so happy to see one! It was on the coach tour I got to go on while it took us to Keukenhof Gardens and Tulip Fields!
Above and Below: The entrance of Keukenhof Gardens which is the biggest in the Netherlands. I was lucky enough to visit just under a week before they closed their doors for the season. Some fields were no longer in bloom but majority of them were and let me tell you, I have never seen so much beauty!
Above and Below: The cutest streets are around Amsterdam!
Above: Lovely canal and bike parking along the bridge!
Below and to the left: This is the ever so grand Rijksmuseum. It is a huge museum in Amsterdam that has many exhibitions and Dutch art, even some from around the world! I planned to spend a couple hours here to see a few things and it really amazed me. It was so grand and there was so much to see that I was here for over four hours! I still missed a couple rooms but needed to move on to see the other stuff I had planned! To me this was a great must see while in Amsterdam! I just adored this place and all it had to offer.
Above: The full picture - it is picture perfect that is for sure!
Below: Me in front of the Rijksmuseum and IAmsterdam sign!
Below and to the left: The ALbert Cuyp Market is the biggest in Amsterdam. It was honestly a whole street all blocked off to be set up with various market stalls. They literally sold everything from clothes to toothbrushes. It was mostly food but that didn't make me complain! I had a great cup of freshly squeezed orange juice and a apple pastry thing that the lady was making fresh in front of me - even had it heated up warm! So yummy and a great way to spend the afternoon looking about!
Above and Below: You are not allowed to take pictures inside the Van Gogh Museum but I managed to get these out of it. I must say the artwork was beyond impressive and beautiful. Every piece of it was stunning. They had the exhibition set up to go through the early works through to the later ones. They even had Van Gogh's work station all set up and protected behind glass. It was truly remarkable of a museum. No words can capture the beauty of his paintings!
Above: The canals in Amsterdam never failed to provide a beautiful view! So gorgeous and stunning!
Below: Lovely outdoor cafe lunch!