I arrived to Amsterdam 15 minutes later than it was expected (looks like German accuracy doesn’t work abroad (: ). There is nothing special in train station (may be except its appearance). Comparing to Germany train station, the Dutch one is not really convenient: too many shops inside, turnstiles (probably to make the path more difficult for cyclists). They are open all the time, but still are installed there fro some unknown reason (:
I was not lucky with weather. First of all it was quite cold. Just a T-shirt was not enough anymore. Also bright sun was quickly replaced by a strong rain, and then vice versa so quick and often. So my emergency umbrella was extremely helpful.
Streets and channels are very beautiful here.
Houses (according to guides) are built so close to each other not because it’s beautiful or there was not enough space, but due to high taxes. This was the way to decrease the tax. It looks small only from the front part. Inside it’s huge.
I lost faith in tour guides when I accidentally overheard what Russian guide was telling the group while I was bypassing them. It was in red light district. She pointed on some booth and told the group that it was the thing where female red light workers worked back in old times. The fact that there is perforation above the chest level and it's completely open underneath was explained like "Back in old times the government was extremely intolerant to LGBT and they had to see what is going on there". So the group was completely fooled and believed her. In reality that was just a street toilet (:
I didn't take the most interesting photos from that street. Actually it's not welcomed to take pictures there. If security will trace that one is picturing girls in the best case they will explain that photos are strictly forbidden, in the worst case one might end up in police or without a camera. So I decided to follow the rules.
There are many other interesting places to take some photos.
One of the most famous places from must visit list is Ann Frank museum. It was a Jewish girl who hid with her family (8 persons) for a long time from Nazis in the house where the museum is located now. She wrote a diary all that time which was later published and was one of the most popular and most translated book. Unfortunately Nazis found out the family in August 1944 and the girl died in the camp. Only her father survived and he decided to publish the diary in 1960.
I didn’t manage to get into museum from the first attempt. The queue was so big, that I decided to not loose the time in it and come here in the early morning next day right in the opening hour. And I did it.
There are a lot of different museums in the city. Two days is not enough to visit all of them and it's really hard to pick what is the must for 1.5 days. I had only 1.5 days as train back
home to Frankfurt is at 2PM next day and then the flight back home (: So I visited Van Gogh museum. The impression was a bit puzzled. Most of his works are quite dark. He used light colours only in his last works. May be he wanted to express something with that but I didn't catch that. Or may be it was the way he saw the world. He had tough life.
Another interesting place is Westerkerk. It looks like Dutch are quite religious. The had some event related to graduation from University in the church. The graduation. In the church (!). I don't get it (: [and by the way they asked me to leave the hall where the event took place, as it was not for tourists]
The church is interesting not only cause of students and prayers, but also with its guided tour (in English, though in this country there is no problems with language at all, it looks like everyone can speak perfect English). The only thing -- you have to climb by a ladder on the top of the bell tower (which was not easy, to be more precise it was easy to climb, but the way back was too difficult (: ). But on the top one can see unique bells by French masters. The way to make similar bells nowadays is completely lost. Not a single master was able to repeat it. And it's not enough just to hang a bell, you have to tune it somehow. It can be done from the internal side of the bell.
The only inconvenience is that tour is limited by 6 persons only. Tour duration is around 1 hour and always with guide who tells a lot of interesting stories. That's why you can't simply walk in and start the tour. I had to return in 1.5 hours to make it (at least you can book in advance for a specific time). But in the end of the tour you are at the highest observation point in central part of Amsterdam (not as high as in Berlin or Frankfurt, just 41 meter high, but that's more than enough to see the beauty of the city). With all the weather issues I had, I got extremely beautiful low clouds. The weather was changing so fast and sometimes it was raining exactly from this tiny clouds. Though it looks just amazing.
Bicycles are extremely popular in the city. It is that popular, that I stucked a couple of times in bicycle traffic jam. Well, there is no surprise here: it’s extremely uncomfortable to move by car in the city. A lot of sleeping policemen, streets are very narrow, a lot of cyclists you have to give a way. It might be acceptable to go with a small car like on a photo. A couple of times I also so electro car. Also quite minimalistic.
After calm Germany far away from popular tourist routes it was really unusual to watch huge tourist crowd and huge groups following the guide. Well, after my relatively small touirist experience within last month I really don’t like all these sightseeing tours throughout the city. It might be really boring and uncomfortable: you take one more step, it’s game over. And you have to pay for it.
PS. A bit later there would be a second part. Probably tonight.