"One day it occurred to me that it had been many years since the world had been afforded the spectacle of a man adventurous enough to undertake a journey through Germany on foot. After much thought, I decided that I was a person fitted to furnish to mankind this spectacle. So I determined to do it. This was in March, 1878." Mark Twain, A Tramp Abroad



Truth be told, we fell in love with Amsterdam.

Yes, I know, you're thinking about the whole red-light-prostitute-pot-smoking reputation the city has, and you think I've gone off the deep end. But, while I'll admit that we did wander around and experience this part of the city a bit (Rick Steves told us to!), Amsterdam has so much more to offer than just that.

Our favorite part about Amsterdam was the architecture. We loved walking down the streets and observing the different buildings, some more straight than others. Most were made out of brick and all were smooshed right up next to one another. Some were so skinny it appeared that there would barely be enough room to move around inside. Our hotel, Hotel Adolesce, was in an old canal house. The staircase was so narrow and steep that I had to go down sideways.
We also fell in love with the canals At first it felt like a larger, cleaner Venice.  

There were boats everywhere, both big and small. This part of the city had lots of houseboats. 
There were also floating shops like these on the right that make up the flower market.
The other thing that makes Amsterdam unique are the bicycles. They are everywhere. And you'd better watch out because bikes rule the streets!
I think there were more bikes than cars in Amsterdam.

I loved the bicycles that were designed for carrying children. A couple of children could sit in the little wooden box on front of the bike and there was still room for groceries next to them. We even saw one woman riding one of these bikes with a baby strapped on her in a sling and then two other children sitting in front of her.

Joe and Liz (see previous posts) came with us to Amsterdam. Here they are in Rembrandt Square.
(Penelope has a secret crush on Joe.)

And apparently really likes his ears.

Here is the handsome Rembrandt standing in the middle of Rembrandt Square.
And here we are in front of the house Rembrandt lived in for several years after he had established his reputation as an artist. Unfortunately he went bankrupt and the house was taken from him.
We didn't have a lot of time in the city to do much by way of museums, but we did make it to the Van Gogh Museum. Although it contains the largest collection of Van Gogh paintings in the world, we were a bit disappointed that there wasn't all that much to see, especially considering the steep entry price. Here is the Museumplein with the Van Gogh museum in the background.

Liz and I toured the Anne Frank museum. It was strange to be walking around the rooms while thinking about the passages in her diary that referred to all that took place within those walls. The rooms were left empty as her father wanted, so there wasn't much to see, but I still felt it was a worthwhile stop. The building in the middle of the picture is the office where Anne's father worked. There hiding space was the annex building attached to the upper back part of the office building.
We also learned that Heineken beer is from there. There were Heineken signs all over the city. 
That pretty much sums up our trip to Amsterdam. We're hoping we can make it back someday and spend some more time seeing the sights we missed.
Yippee! Three cheers for Amsterdam!

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