Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Canals, hidden churches, red lights and boats

Amsterdam the Capital of the Netherlands, what a mix of a place. From the canals, to the red light district, from the coffee shops to cafes, hidden churches to house boats. Here life is a bike ride in any direction you want. A wander along the lanes of the red light district, sad, actually, and yet we found right next door the one door/window a kindergarten with a picture of the Queen in the window, kind of funny when it was pointed out to us that all the women in the windows along side the kindy could be bought. I didn't like it, I found it uncomfortable and I hope we never get anywhere near this in Australia.

A tiny hidden church that the new protestant church of the Netherlands let the oustedcatholic church have on the quiet set amongst the trendy fashion stores. So beauiful inside with the most amazing wood work carvings and stained glass windows. Feits...pushbikes rule the roads here and the constant jingle bells means that once again we mere mortals are on their territory, the road. A little hard to get used to actually. Bikes new old, rusty and abandoned litter the roadsides everywhere. Outside every train and bus station is a long row of bikes. Everyone rides here and they have rule of the roads.

Many many boats lived in all along athe canals, some so old and some so large. Some with grass growing on the roof of the boat and all with some sort of garden in pots on the decks. A never ending drift of petals falling from the trees that line the canals. Like a spring snowfall..lovely.

Lunch overlooking the sky line of Amsterdam city and a wonderful dinner of pasta with 2 other couples in Haarlem at the end of a long long day.

2 hours spent roaming the Rijksmuseum gaping at Rembrandts and other masters. I never thought I would fall so in love with these amazing art works, So amazing I have never seen anything like it.

Anne Franks house and to think that these two families spent two years hidden in the annexe of their business until they were betrayed into Nazi hands. How did they do it. How brave of those that helped them. What an amazing and sad story. What a story of heroes in our midst.

This is Amsterdam..... rude, beautiful, drugged, heroic,artistic, amazing challenging, wonderful.

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