We spent the morning of the second day getting full use of our cheaply rented bikes from Mac's Bikes. I tell you what, I haven't ridden a pedal break bike in years, and we all nearly got run over a couple of times, but damn it was fun. I recommend this to anyone who has never been to Amsterdam, renting bicycles and riding around. The city is relatively small in size, so on a bike a lot of the city can be seen in a short amount of time. The exercise was nice. Amsterdam gets a lot of flack in the states, with its lenient drug laws and its loose women, but I tell you what, the city is beautiful!! Just walking around the canals and seeing buildings that have been around for centuries is awe-inspiring. The Dutch knew what was going on and created this city with beautiful precision. Here are a few photos just to see what the city feel is like:
These are only a few photographs of the city, trying to display a sense of how the city is laid out and how the feeling is on the street. Pictures do not do this place justice. Negative precognitions aside, Amsterdam is a place to study if you are wanting to examine how a walkable community exists and survives. This place has a certain character that, in my opinion, is rare to find. When walking on the street, one feels as if they are a part of the city, even though we were aliens in a foreign land. The people are incredible and walking around experiencing the city is humbling yet inspiring.
Anyway, I digress... Seriously could talk for hours about how unbelievable Amsterdam is and the feeling that goes along with it, but I do not want to bore you with it, all I can say is that you need to experience for yourself. SO GET HERE ASAP!!!!!!
On to the eventful experiences of day to, here is a somewhat chronological order of things as we wander through the streets of Amsterdam: First, we woke up and had our continental breakfast at the hostel, "Hotel Bulldog." The meal consisted of ham and salami sandwiches, hard boiled eggs and apples, with some coffee and juice of course. The meal really wasn't bad, but I have a feeling this will be all we will be getting at our hostels, and we will grow weary of it soon enough... After breakfast we hopped on our bikes and rode roughly two miles outside of the city to a classic Holland windmill. It was good to see the simplicity of the Dutch way of life, and I could see how this type of living would be appealing. Here is a video of our experience there:
We then rode our bikes back to Mac's Bikes, which was somewhat upsetting giving it up but for 12 euros you cant beat the deal. We then walked to the Rijksmuseum, which displays more of the classical paintings that one would imagine. The painting date back to the 17th century, during the time of Rembrandt. This group of paintings are very detailed and precise, with a lot of self portraits and paintings of people, showing how life was day to day. Pretty incredible to experience, amazing how well these times were demonstrated in the paintings.
After the Rijksmuseum, we travelled to the Heineken Brewery, where we saw how Heineken was made. And you may not believe me, but good Lord, Heineken is amazing over here! A much fuller beer with a sweeter taste, a nectar of the gods! Never knew I would be pining for Heineken beer, but I cannot wait to taste another. It starts with the history of the Heineken brewery, how it was a family run business that started with a man who didn't know much about brewing beer. With a lot of research and a great deal of trail and error, this man created a beer/company that was sold around the world. It has been passed down from generation to generation and has become one of the most widely sold beers in the world. All around damn good time!
Another video, inside of the Heineken Brewery:
From the brewery, we moved on to the Anne Frank Museum. It was sorrowful and inspiring all at the same time. To see the pain and suffering this family went through was sad to see. We actually walked through the rooms in which Anne Frank and her family lived, and I'll be damned if those rooms weren't small as shit! I remember how tight it was to live with my brother in a room, but these rooms were half the size and housed not only two of the kids but the mother and father as well. On top of that, the family had to move around the house quiet as mice, so the Germans would not hear them. I cannot grasp the struggle these people went through day to day, but I tell you, nothing will humble someone more. Standing in the rooms of this house, you can still almost hear a slight mutter of voices and laughter coming from the family, and it will cut you to the soul. The museum was somewhat of a buzzkill, just because we were giddy as little school children and were introduced to something very historical and could be seen if one was willing to see it! I would suggest this place to anyone who appreciates history, especially that during WWII.
After the Anne Frank Museum, we walked back to the hostel in hopes of showering and making it back out, but once we hit the bed, we were all down for the count. The end of a perfect day in one of the most beautiful cities I have ever had the opportunity to visit.
"Soaking it all in"
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