Friday, 19 October 2012


Having been home for a couple weeks it was only a matter of time before I fancied a little trip away in Europe, having never been to any of the usual hotspots famous for European travel.
Therefore, I decdied to head to Holland to see my mate Tim who I travelled with in Mongolia and Chin.

A cheeky flight over the channel brought me to Schipol International Airport and a day of festivities in the Dutch capital could begin, starting with a leisurely walk around a couple of the main squares and canals before our tour around the Heineken brewery.

Just a short walk away from the Central train station is the Dam Square. Countless little roads lead to it and it is surrounded by the city hall, Madame Tussauds, New Church and the Royal Palace. The usual drill of buskers but no guitars here, all cellos and other woodwind instruments, must be in Europe. Oh, and pigeons that will eat absolutely anything.

Central Station

Dam Square

Madame Tussauds in the background

Royal Palace

Hopped on to a tram after ambling around and made our way to the Heineken brewery. It's a big old building where they only make a fracton of the booze they used to, the main brewery is a little further away, this one is more to show you how the magic happens.

Having never been on a brewery tour (don't worry, I'll get to the Guniess factory one day) I have nothing to compare it to  but it was an enjoyable experience. Saw how the beer was made, got samples and a couple beers at the end for my troubles. My only problem is these small continental glasses, no pint glasses anywhere.

Outside the brewery

Canal ride that came with admission prie for brewery

Over the next couple days, time was generally spent chilling out in the brown cafes in the Jordaan area, enjoying a drink and the refreshing aroma of classic Dutch vegetables, whilst intermittently wandering around  and taking in the beauty of the canal system, dominated by the thee main ones: Gentlemen's, Emperor's and Prince's.

Whenever a break was needed, with all the squares of Amsterdam there was never far to go to sit down for a coffee or a beer when the urge arose. By and large it was very relaxing and the weather couldn't have been better.

Down from the 'Konings Plein' (another square) we headed past the Albert Cuyp market, famous for selling flowers, visited the 'Bejinhof' which is the only remaining courtyard in Amsterdam, set with tradional housing with only female residents, had coffee by 'Rembrandt Plein' and posed on the Museum Square with and on the 'I Amsterdam' sign, custom built for visitors pleasure.

As mentioned in previous posts, I don't to museums, however, we thought we'd check out the Van Gogh museum since it was close to the 'I Amsterdam' sign, and, we were in Amsterdam after all. As it happens, the musems had moved location, guess I'l have to go next time.


Albert Cuyp market

Museum Square

Interior of a typical brown cafe

Now as most people are aware, Amsterdam has plenty of culture, both day and night, and as the sun set it seemed only appropriate to check out the dark side of Amsterdam and walk around the Wallen area, also known as the Red Light District.

Having never been before, I had all sorts of images in my head, but aside fromvhaving women posing in windows in next to nothing, I'm not sure what the fuss is about. Wasn't that bad considering what I've heard other people say. I even saw people taking tour groups around the area, not sure why you would bother when you can just amble around the area on your own steam.

Most of the curtains were closed when we got there, busy start to the evening it would seem, but you get the general jist as you walk around. Hearing people haggling a price is common enough and it's always fun to see a half dressed woman shooing a group of Japanese tourists away as they probably scare away punters lurking nearby waiting for an opportune moment to get inside from the cold.

A trip to the sex museum, okay so I went to one museum I suppose, concluded  my time in Amsterdam. Basically it was a three storey building dedicated to porn and sex. Just the kind of place you want to take you kids after dinner, needless to say, I think it was adults only.

Red Light District

Sex show anyone?

View of the Old Church
Of course, you could spend days in Amsterdam visiting the sights and chilling out in cafes and not even come close to being bored, but time being of the essense it was time to move on to some of the smaller towns in Western Holland.

No comments:

Post a Comment