Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Amsterdam (not just canal houses)

The rest of Amsterdam, because apparently the canal houses "aren't all that Amsterdam offers."


While it’s a big city, there really wasn’t a feel of a tourist town. It was clear how many tourists were there, from the ice cream statues outside of shops and postcards, magnets, t-shirts and Dutch wooden shoes were being sold, but if you overlooked that, it wasn’t totally obvious that it was a tourist town.

The Dutch (especially, I’m sure) in Amsterdam, speak perfect English, and as was different than Germany, I felt fine and happy to openly speak English with friends and also people in shops or restaurants. (That may have been because I wanted to prove my ability to hold a conversation in German in Germany, and felt undermined when the Germans would switch to English – though I’m sure it was to be helpful). A weekend in English was a relief, but it was very evident when I came back to Germany that I had basically forgotten German for the weekend.

We happened across the Tulip Museum, but as we didn't have a real desire to buy tulip bulbs, moved on quickly.




We thought we we're lucky when we stumbled across the Amsterdam Cheese Museum. Not only was it air conditioned (and it was hot outside) but they gave out cheese samples. It wasn't one of those sample situations where you feel guilty taking more than one or two samples, instead we were encouraged to take as many as we wanted, and the salespeople kept asking if we had tried certain types yet.

We may have made a point to stop back there later in the day.


Those are bigger than bowling balls (for reference).


Those colorful cheese down there? Red pesto, regular pesto, and lavender pesto. (Why the lavender pesto cheese is blue is beyond me. It tasted like you expect lavender shampoo to taste.)


And downstairs, a cheese-making exhibit featuring a few cows and several wooden shoes.



Feels like someone set this sort of situation up, but that's just regular life in Amsterdam.


The Rijksmuseum, which, despite the lure of air conditioning, we didn't visit.


But we did visit the Heineken Brewery.


And took part in the Heineken Experience tour. We got our tickets earlier in the day, and what you don't see is the line of people waiting to buy tickets. It was long and it was hot, so we were glad we didn't have to wait in it. However, once we got inside, we found out you got ice cream during your wait.

Next time.

(Tangentially, I have to mention here that there's a Margum make-your-own store in Amsterdam, where we also didn't go, due to lines. It's a shame people are always in my way.)


Where they'd normally brew the beer. These had windows and you could look in and were empty. Also some had projection systems inside, where you could stick your head in and learn something.


Not bad stained glass, either.




As far as tourist things go, this one was very well done, therefore I agree with them calling it an "experience".


You could stir this. I chose not to, because I'm not necessarily interested in stirring what looks like throw up. Instead I just took a picture.


Where the horses were but also where we couldn't get anywhere close to the horses.


The Amstel. 

This should be a green screen, but I can assure you, it is not. 
Sunset proved to be a decent time to be on the canals. Also because it was Saturday night, all the locals were on their boats with friends, family and drinks. Some had food (and some had BBQs on the boat), some had parties, but almost all of them waved and had some sort of interaction with us while we were sitting and watching.


The next morning, early, past the Rijksmuseum again.




To go take care of our touristic duties when there wouldn't be 10,000 people there. I read online that's the way to do it, and they were right.



One of the better breakfasts I've had in Europe. Mini pancakes (poffertjes) that didn't even need syrup. Also not shown, a banana pancake that was arguably one of the better banana pancakes I've had in my life.


Looks like a museum or a government building.

It's the train station. (Which you have no idea when you're coming out of it why people are taking pictures of you. Then you turn around and are blown away.)


One of the views from in front of the train station. You can see the row houses already! As you can see, a storm was coming, and I ran pretty quickly to my bus.


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