Monday, September 15, 2014

Hardly a "Site for Sore Eyes" but Definitely Sore Bums!

Our day started with a three hour bike ride through and around the city of Amsterdam - so beautiful!
We were so nervous about getting on bikes.  Bikers in Amsterdam are very brave - no helmets and very sure of themselves...they rule the roads.  If you are newbies like us, the trek was intimidating.  We braved the roads and it was totally worth it.  Our guide, Shawn was great and he took us to some very interesting parts of the city.  We toured with one other young couple from California.   Interesting, they toppled from their bikes but Cas and I managed to rock it out.  Shawn took us to many districts - did you know that there are many besides the RED LIGHT district?  We passed through the city, the museum district, the market district, de pijp, the industrial district, passed the zoo and had a beverage on the beach!  After our bike tour, we wobbled off to grab some sandwiches and sat in the famous Vondel Park while planning the rest of our day.  Another highlight of the day was to visit the Van Gogh Museum.  We spent about 1.5 hours there and closed the place down.  What a great experience.  For supper, we visited the Pancake Bakery near our hotel.  OMG!  Just check out the pictures...need I say more.  In an effort to walk off the calories, we headed to the Red Light District to check out the scene.  Very interesting!  Sorry - no pictures allowed so you will just have to check it out yourselves one day.  It was quite the experience... Cas nabbed a few pictures on way home as we strolled by the beautifully lit canals and outdoor cafes.
(pictures are a little out of order)

 On our bikes....East Church
 The beach just past the industrial section of town.  Old warehouses began squatters' territory for awhile.  Then the city scooted the squatters away and turned the warehouses into pubs.  This one is on a beach.

 More bike ride pictures below and hopefully more to come as Shawn, our guide took some along the way and will email them to us.  Below is the entrance to Vondel Park...we are now touring on foot.
 The square in front of the Rijksmuseum - the only museum in the world where people can actually ride their bikes through the centre of it - which we did!

 Mosaics in front of the museum.

 Cas relaxing on a mosaic chaise lounge.

 Just a beauty!

 Our stroll after visiting the red light district and on our way to our hotel.

 Mural on one of the homes.

 Sorry...back on our bikes...this is the old art university.  Also a district where "junkie" bikes were sold...many students would trade bikes for drugs in this area years ago.

 Homes are renovated from the inside while trying to preserve the exteriors.
 The Jewish Museum called Verzets.
 Entrance to the old warehouse bar.  You can see the back of Shawn and Jose and Megan from California.
 Again, entrance to the beach bar.
 Tall ship parked in one of the canals.  Every few years there is a "sailors'" exhibition here in Amsterdam and quite a few tall ships arrive.
 Need tulips?  Amazing flower/tulip market.
 Go Broncos Go!
 Chess players next to the Holland Casino...wonder if they have bets on?
 Lunch in Vondel Park.
 Check out dinner.  Apple, cinnamon ice-cream, and whip cream...
 Vanilla ice-cream, fresh strawberries, whip cream and Belgium chocolate...
We really hated them!!!!  Years of walking these babies off!!!!  Well time to say good-night.  We are looking forward to seeing Aunt Win tomorrow night as we will begin the last leg of our journey.

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