A European Odyssey (Part VI) – Amsterdam (Day 1)

I had booked myself on a Nightjet from Munich to Cologne (which I’d reach the next morning by 8.30 am) & then after a brief layover change trains further for Amsterdam. I had deliberately chosen this longer & more arduous route because this train travelled along the river Rhine in the morning which promised an enchanting scenery.

Here is a picture & video as proof!

Village along the river Rhine
A pictureque village along the Rhine on way to Cologne

 

My train from Cologne pulled into Amsterdam Central dot at 1.28 pm. The station building was magnificent, much like our own Victoria Terminus in Mumbai.

Amsterdam Central train station
Amsterdam Centraal

I had booked myself into a hostel which was again a convenient short walk from the train station & bang in the middle of Amsterdam’s most happening area, the Red Light District! Of course that wasn’t the reason to be here!! The Red Light District is also famous for many museums, is in close proximity to the canal safari boarding points & offers great intra-city connections to other attractions in Amsterdam.

I did not waste too much time in checking-in & getting my big & small packs organised & was shortly out on the street heading towards the canal for a water safari around the town. The ticket came complimentary with one of the other tours that I had booked in Amsterdam.

My ride for the day

A little about the world famous Amsterdam canals.

The Amsterdam canal system is the result of conscious city planning. In the early 17th century, when immigration was at a peak, a comprehensive plan was developed that was based on four concentric half-circles of canals with their ends emerging at the IJ bay. The canals served for defence, water management and transport. The defences took the form of a moat and earthen dikes, with gates at transit points, but otherwise no masonry superstructures. Construction started in 1613 and proceeded from west to east, across the breadth of the layout. Over the years, several canals have been filled in, becoming streets or squares. Amsterdam is colloquially referred to as the “Venice of the North“, attributed by the large number of canals which form a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The almost 1.5 hr long journey with a running commentary took me through some very beautiful parts of Amsterdam. Let me give you a glimpse of the same through some pictures.

 

The life of people in Amsterdam is very closely associated with canals which are used for transportation, carriage of goods, tourism, sports & for a myriad other purposes. It is said that you can move from anywhere to anywhere in Amsterdam through the canal system without having to use the road even once!

 

A bridge on a canal in Amsterdam

One of the many decorative bridges that adorn the Amsterdam canalsAmsterdam is also known for it’s museums. There was also one dedicated to Bags & Purses!

Museum of Bags & Purses, Amsterdam
Museum of Bags & Purses

 

Another series of bridges that we went under

 

Protestant Church in the Netherlands
Protestant Church in the Netherlands

We were back at the dock by 7 pm. It was now time to do a little walking tour of the Red Light District when it was just coming alive.

De Wallen, also known as Walletjes or Rosse Buurt, is a designated area for legalised prostitution and is Amsterdam’s largest and most well known red-light district. This neighbourhood has become a famous attraction for tourists. It consists of a network of roads and alleys containing several hundred small, one-room apartments rented by sex workers who offer their services from behind a window or glass door, typically illuminated with red lights.

The area was abuzz with tourists, all curious to discover the secrets of this world famous nook of Amsterdam. Bright neon lit shops displayed their wares alongside small red lit doors & windows from behind which the sex workers solicited their customers.

The area also abounds with Gothic era architecture which resembles those found in the fairytale books with the setting sun adding its own magical touches to the pictures.

 

A canal passes through Warmoesstraat, the Red Light district

I came across a shop selling cannabis pops!

 

The sex workers were also legally well protected.

A reminder for the camera trigger happy!

Having had a good ‘feel’ of the atmosphere, I hunted out an Indian restaurant, gorged myself up on butter chicken & tandoori rotis & retired happily to my bunk bed. Another adventure awaited tomorrow.

6 Comments

  1. Awesome tour, Partner🤗

    Did you manage to go to there cheese factory; I guess Tulip gardens were out of season at this time of the year.

    1. Thanks Sir 🙂
      I had done this trip in Apr ’19. Only managed to blog it now! So yes, I was there bang in the middle of the tulip season:) 🙂

  2. It is always a fun to read your blogs. Your blogs take us on a trip with you. Keep roaming & churning out such blogs.

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