24.05.2011 27 °C
Our last stop on our tour of Europe was The Netherlands
which is also known as Holland. We stayed in Amsterdam which
is the country's largest city and has a population of 780,000 and
attracts over 3.7 million tourists a year.
The city is famous for it's many Canals that span over 100 kilometers,
There are three main canals include Keizersgracht, Singel & Prinsengracht.
They were all constructed during the 17th century which helped to transport
goods from the docks to the inner part of the city. There are 1,500 bridges
crossing the canals & have become a much loved feature of Amsterdam.
On our way to Amsterdam our bus broke down so we were
stopped on the side of the road for 2 hours while we waited for
the mechanic. We didn't arrive till late and after dinner in the
hotel our tour group headed into the notorious Red Light District.
We wondered through the streets both excited and curious
to see what it was all about, we saw the many prostitutes standing
in the window glowing in the red light as they try to lure men in for sex.
Prostitution is Legal here and the ladies come in all shapes and sizes.
We went to see the Boob monument and took a stroll down
Skinny Street which is home to the younger and hotter models.
I should also mention that photography in the Red Light District is
strictly banned and our tour guide told us that pimps are known to
throw tourists cameras into the canal if caught breaking that rule.
Our tour suprise including a "culture show" at the Cassa Rosso which
was a live sex show. I wont give you exact details, but it consisted of a
rotating bed, a woman with a cigarette & someone dressed in a gorilla suit!
The next day we went to a workshop to see how Clogs are made
and got to sample some local cheeses. We also took a bike ride around
the cute little town of Edam and got a close up look at a tractional windmill.
Once there a couple on our tour took this moment to propose!
I also remember crashing my bike that day haha
Amsterdam is the most bicycle-friendly city in the world and there are over
500,000 bikes owned and rode around Amsterdam. There is also an
estimated 54,000 bicycles that have been stolen since 2006. We were told
it's better to have an expensive lock over an expensive bike here.
During some free time we took a stroll around the city, which has a
real old feel about it, There are many historic & architectural buildings
and we visited Dam Square which is home to the National Monument,
It was erected in 1956 as a memorial for the casualties of World War 2.
We also used our free time to visit the Anne Frank House.
She is one of Amsterdam’s best-known historical figures and
her diary has become one of the world's most widely read books.
In 1942 Anne, 15 and her family went into hiding from the Nazi's
for more than two years before sadly being caught and deported to a
concentration camp in 1945. Tragically Anne Frank died that year
as a result of a typhus epidemic that plagued the camp and killed
over 30,000 victims. The camp was liberated one month later.
We lined up for close to an hour before being able to enter which
i hear is about the norm. Once inside there was a gallery of photos
and extracts from Anne's diary. You then go up to the second floor
which was an office space with a small staircase hidden behind a
book shelf that leads up inside the secret Annex, which was were
the family spent most of their time in hiding. It was hard to imagine
what it would have been like to live that way and it is easy to see
how this is one of the most visited sites in Amsterdam.
Your not suppose to take photos inside but i found there was no
one around to enforce this so i took a few, mostly because it was
something i wanted to remember. At the end of the self guided tour
there is a museum that features the famous diary itself and you can
pick up your own copy in the gift shop if your interested but i could
recommend a visit.
Amsterdam has over fifty great museums including the Rijksmuseum,
Van Gogh Museum and the Stedelijk Museum. We caught a taxi
over to the Rijks to see the "I Amsterdam" sign and then went to a
museum of another kind, the Sex Museum!
This is the world's first and oldest sex museum.
It was silly but good for a laugh, The exhibits are split over 3 floors
and includes alot of erotic photographs, some interesting statues &
a booth featuring prerecorded phone sex haha.
Funny enough they do allow photos inside so go for your life.
The night ended with a farewell tour dinner in Volendam,
which is small fishing village outside the city. This was our last meal
together and was a good time to reflect on our Euro adventure!
(Above- The Natonial Monument)