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Amsterdam, capital city, city for art and so many renown artists, famous for bicycles (more than people) the roof gable styles, cheese shops and where the streets are paved with litter and cigarette butts. Guess 6 mill tourists don’t help either.

Then there’s the plethora of vegetable shops.Strange thing tho’, they seem to only sell variety. Its a strange looking small green leaf. Seed shops too, but none of the common old garden variety flower seeds! Reckon these strange shop account for about 99.98% of the 6 mill visitors.

Grey skies dominate the days here as do bicycles, lots of walking, museums and galleries. An art lovers dream come true.

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Unquestionably bikes exceed the population. there are acres of land covered with mostly old cycles.

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They are parked everywhere. There’s buildings for them, there’s a 4 story one in Amsterdam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our cabbie informed us the theft problem is so great that you only see old bikes. You  can often buy your bike back late at night on the street, apparently. Noticed many are made to look worse by being sprayed with rusty looking paint or bright colours.

The streets are seething with some of the 6 mill, not to mention the odd local I guess. At the moment students are everywhere as their year starts. Raucous buggers they are as the enjoy their first week.

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Busy street scene

First night wanderings see us accidentally in the De Walletjes (Red light) district as we head home after a meal.

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Young couple in street scene. Note office for rent behind them!

Night scenes always proved some interesting challenges and often turn up some stunning images. Some early ones as we rush back to our digs. The National Monument in Dam Square, dark back street and reflected lights along a canal start the collection.

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Canal and street night lights abstract

The canals are as busy as the roads. There must be 10’s thousands canal boats plying the miles of canals though these images don’t show it there really is, mainly for

tourists availing themselves of different day and night cruise services.

The Rijks Museum collection and archives date back to 1800. A phenomenally large collection of art and objects of real significance. This is one of many incredible galleries.

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In the Rijks Museum, massive Rembrandt, one of the large collection on display in his home town.

The popularity of the this city and its galleries means that if you don’t book about 6 months ahead you are destined to waste a large part of your time here, if not your life, in goddam queues. For the Rijks Museum we spent about 40 mins in line in the rain for a good part of it waiting to get to the next queue. Yep, once in the door you then queue again for your tickets, another 20-30 minutes down the dunny, and if that’s not enough, bags and tripods (and of course I have both) are not permitted in, so another friggin line for 15-20 minutes to turn them in. Thankfully only about 10 minutes queuing need to retrieve my gear after a few hours inside. Inside this beautiful building I concluded it must have been designed by an artist, not an architect, finding your way round even using provided and google maps sees more time lost. And as you’d expect after all the waiting is that its pretty busy inside too, but that’s managable.

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Inside Rijks, Rembrandt gallery in rear of image.

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Gouda, the main variety around here

And the find of the trip so far; cheese shops. Mentioned them before, but these genuinely do compete numerically with women’s shoe shops in this city. But it gets better. They mostly offer tastings. So in what has already become an end of day ritual we assist a number of them to dispose of their chopped up curdy offerings. I’m in heaven. The sore feet, the wet backs, the tired and overloaded minds and senses all vanish at least temporarily while at great personal sacrifice I work to restrain Anne’s headlong rush from platter to platter!!!!!

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There’s literally tons of the stuff. Trucks full stacked like this.

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Gouda cheese market in nearby city of Alkmaar. Turns out to be a highly choreographed tourist performance. On our day there we battle not just the hordes and  clouds but also frequent showers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A walk around including the Saturday Albert Cuypmarket provided opportunity for

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The making of strawberry Dutch waffle.

a Dutch waffle. Couldn’t resist, following which kinda wished I had more willpower.

 

 

 

More Amsterdam architecture;

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canal-side hotel that turned John Lennon and Yoko Ono away on their honeymoon. They were accepted by the Hilton and there started the famous “bed-in for peace” demonstration. their room at the Hilton now is a tourist attraction, bet they are glad they accepted them.

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Magna Plaza building

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Theatre

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Buildings reflected in canal along Damrak

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Modern architecture features of 4 buildings in Amsterdam north across from Central Station

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Houseboats on canals in the city are held on long term mooring leases. A tour boat takes passengers through these permanently moored on both sides beyond the collection of cycles locked to bridge and seat railings.

Along with the big renown galleries there a many lesser known places showing well known artists. Some we’ve visited include Banksy and Dali in one venue, then on our last day here Warhol and a collection of other pop-artists in another. Great stuff.

It;s been another full immersion in the streets of Amsterdam to conclude our time here. Dinner tonight, a sleep the on the train and outta here. Rotterdam here we come.

Some street scenes to conclude,

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Amsterdam streets

 

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