Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Some trivia about Amsterdam: In 1275  some residents of the area built a dam across the Amstel River.  In a certificate from that date exempting them from a bridge toll, the people were called “people living near the Amstelledamme.”  By 1327, the name had become Amsterdam. The Netherlands as 10 major art museums and several smaller ones which collectively hold the world’s richest and most comprehensive collection of Western art masterpieces from the 15th to 20th centuries.

We have an overnight stay in Amsterdam. It is the half way point of the trip and about 10% of the passengers are leaving the ship here and are being replaced by new ones. I had a combined pass for the hop-on-hop-off canal boat and a fast entry to the Van Gogh Museum so I took one of the three boat lines to the museum and got there for the opening. There was a huge line for tickets so I was happy to have mine.  The collection is very well presented and has many examples of Van Gogh’s work from early work to work done just before his death by suicide.  The only piece missing was “Almond Blossom” which is currently at the special exhibition in Ottawa.  On leaving I took another canal boat to the Flower Market where I managed a couple of photos before it started to pour rain. The vendors in this market sell a lot of bulbs as well as fresh flowers and potted plants.  Despite the rain, I continued on up the main pedestrian area through the Dam square (photos) and back to where I had started.  At that point, I decided to take the longest boat line most of its length and got off to walk a bit and get some photos of the canal side, before taking another line back to the beginning which was near the ship.  Today, I decided to walk in the old town area.  It was nice and sunny so I took some better pictures of the Dam Square and the canal houses.  Yesterday, I heard that some of the old warehouses were built slanted toward the street to prevent damage to the house when heavy loads were lifted by a pulley attached to the beam at the top of the house.  Today, I saw a really good example which is the grey house with red shutters in the picture below. I passed through an area full of cannabis cafes and stores selling such things as hemp canna lollys to make you smile, magic mushrooms of various kinds and top quality marijuana seed.  Needless to say I only looked.  I found my self in Chinatown which doesn’t look much different from many others, but for the  architecture.  I think I also passed through the red light district but early in the morning, it was hard to tell.  We sail early this afternoon and after going down the canal and through the locks to the sea, we will head for Southampton, England.

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