Friday, April 25, 2014

Rhine Getaway: Amsterdam, Netherlands (4/25/2014)

Friday, April 25, 2014
We arrived in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, sometime in the early hours of the day. The Viking Gullveig ship had often "double parked" with other ships along the Rhine River, but this was the first time we had to walk through the other ship to disembark.
After breakfast and leaving our suitcases outside our room, we had some time before anything in Amsterdam opened. We left the ship temporarily to head east to a man-made island with some interesting footbridges.
Passed the NEMO Science Center (1997 designed by Renzo Piano)
Interesting apartment building
Detour through  Pakhuis de Zwijger (1934 refrigerated warehouse)
Room for cars, bikes, and pedestrians
To see the Jan Schaefer Brug/Bridge (2001)
that has a section that is removed every 5 years
for Sail Amsterdam (tall ships event)
Jan Schaefer Brug/Bridge
The #26 tram line was not running and Kent was motioned across the street by a "helpful" woman who told him the tram wasn't running. We had already discovered a bus that was in "tram service" and missed the first one because Kent was in conversation with this lady. We convinced the driver we would be getting 24-hour passes when the Tourist Bureau opened. We missed our stop and headed into the Piet Heintunnel. On the other side we had to catch a bus going back.
Tramdienst/Tram service bus
On this side of the tunnel was a tram car barn, and trams were regularly starting off on routes.
Well, we did get to see another bridge on this side.
Schellingwoude Brug/Bridge
Finally got a bus back through the tunnel, and walked over to KNSM Eiland/Island, a man-made peninsula on which the Koninklijke Nederlandse Stoomboot-Maatschappij (KNSM)/Royal Dutch Steamboat Shipping company once had their headquarters. Now it is a residential community.
KNSM Eiland/Island townhomes
Houseboat (note nest on right edge)
Coot nest
Houseboat entrance (KSS)
Houseboat (KSS)
There are a limited number of houseboats in Amsterdam.
Houseboat with tile roof (KSS)
Red footbridge (2001 by West 8 Urban Design Studio)
with "seagull" lights
The tamer bridge at the west end of Spoorwegbassin/
Railroad Basin is for bicycles
The other bridge is called the Red Python
The Red Python Bridge won the
2002 International Footbridge Award (KSS)
Kent on the Red Python
Over-the-wall hanging bench (KSS)
Green Wheels, a car sharing company
Canta LX car by Waaijenberg (KSS)
This model is outfitted to allow someone in a wheelchair
to roll through the back door and right up to the steering wheel
Walked back to the bus stop, but noticed the #26 tram was in a station below us. So we took the tram, which was coming frequently, back to the boat. We had to enter the tram where the conductor was seated, and this one had no sympathy for our being headed to the Tourist Bureau for the 24-hour pass! We had to purchase tickets for 2.80 Euros/$4 each. The tram ended up on the tracks of the tram that wasn't running this morning (?)!
Koploper ICM 4075 train by Talbot
Back at the Viking Gullveig ship, we picked up our luggage and walked to the Centraal Station/Central Station where the Tourist Bureau opened at 10:00. Since I had paid online, my voucher allowed me to skip the lines and pick up the "I AMsterdam Cards" right away. Now we were able to take a tram to De Dam/the Dam Square. We checked into the Rho Hotel just off the Dam Square!
After dropping off the bags, we started our abbreviated tour of Amsterdam.
Koninklijk Paleis/Royal Palace (1808 by Jacob van Campen
as city hall, then was King Louis Napoeon's palace)
Perhaps the King of the Netherlands was in residence today, since tomorrow is Koningsdag/King's Day, when the whole country celebrates his birthday. His birthday is actually April 27th, but they do not appear to party on Sundays. There were passengers on the ship who were confused as to what happened to Queen's Day, which had been celebrated on April 30th by Queen Beatrix, and earlier her mother, Queen Juliana. Queen Beatrix abdicated in 2013, and her son Willem-Alexander is now King.
The Dam Square looked like an amusement park.
De Bijenkorf/department store on the Dam
Former Hoofdpostkantoor/Main Post Office
(1895-1899 designed by Cornelis Peters)
now the Magna Plaza shopping mall
We caught a tram to Leidseplein.
Stadsschouwburg/Municipal Theater
(1892-1894 by Jan L Springer)
The restaurant where we planned to eat was not open yet, so we ended up at Hard Rock Café.
Kent, Brynne and Paul at Hard Rock Café
An Affligem (pronounced like 'ah-flee'
and ending with a phlegmy '[c]hem'
Classic wooden saloon boat for rent (KSS)
Visited the Rijksmuseum/State Museum, built in 1876-85 by architect P. H. J. (Petrus Josephus Hubertus) Cuypers. It was reopened in 2013 after 10 years of renovation. Our I AMsterdam Card gave us a discount.
We were able to find many of the paintings shown to us in the "Going Dutch" presentation on the Viking Gullveig.
"De Nachtwacht/Night Watch" (1642) by
Rembrandt van Rijn (KSS)
Kent found Robin Williams in
"Meagre Company" (1637) by Frans Hals
and Pieter Codde (KSS)
"Queen Beatrix" (1985) by Andy Warhol (KSS)
We exited out the back way.
Rijksmuseum Sculpture Garden
Tamiko in the 'm' of I AMsterdam sculpture (KSS)
I AMsterdam sculpture
Pool behind Rijksmuseum
We used the I AMsterdam Cards to enter the Van Gogh Museum, and pretty thoroughly explored it.
The "Bathtub' (2012 Benthem Crouwel Architects)
addition to the Stedelijk/City Museum
Large Reclining Figure (1984) by Henry Moore
We did a little zigzagging, crossing Museumbrug/Bridge to Spiegelgracht (gracht is canal), and right on Keizersgracht to Reguliersgracht.
House with a stork statue (KSS)
Leaning houses and hijsbalk/hooks for pulley hoist 
Back along Herengracht.
Tritons riding dolphins at #510 Herengracht
#527 Herengracht  (1667), Tsar Peter lived here
Stopped at the Senses Restaurant for a light lunch of "organic and sustainable" ingredients. The only beer available: Heineken.
Part of the Golden Bocht/Golden Bend of houses on Herengracht,
on double lots so the houses are double width
A right turn at Konigsplein to the Bloemenmarkt/Flower Market.
Crinum bulbs
Cyclamen tubers
Eremurus tuberous roots
Bicycles are parked every which way
Left on Singel to Spui.
Lieverdje/Street Urchin (1960)
by sculptor Carel Kneulman
First I had to find the street, then the door that led to the Begijnhof, a courtyard of houses dating to 1346 for a group of Begijn/Beguines/a Catholic lay order of girls who were kicked out during the Reformation.
Het Houten Huis/the wooden house,
the oldest house (c. 1528) in Begijnhof
Engelse Kerk/English Church (1607)
taken over by Scottish Presbyterians (KSS)
Engelse Kerk/English Church pulpit
with panels (1898) designed by Piet Mondriaan
Entrance to the hidden church
the Catholics built inside two houses
We exited the courtyard through another gate that took us through the Schuttersgalerij/Civic Guards Gallery of the Amsterdam Museum.
Brynne and Kent with Goliath (17C)
(note David to Kent's left)
On Koningsdag/King's Day, all good Netherlanders/Dutch wear orange.
We followed the shopping street Kalverstraat back to the Dam Square.
The Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky (1883 with
hot water, electricity, and telephones)
Nationaal Monument/National Monument
(1956 designed by Jacobus Johannes Pieter Oud,
sculptures by J. W. Rädeler)
Nieuwe Kerk/New Church (1490 Gothic)
where King Willem-Alexander was married in 2002,
and 'inaugurated' in 2013
We caught a tram to take us to Westermarkt.
Older pissoir
Homomonument (1987 by Karin Daan) commemorates
those subjected to persecution because of their homosexuality
Anne Frank (1977 by Mari Andriessen)
The Anne Frank House is not included on the I AMsterdam Card, so Kent, Brynne, and Paul joined the long line. A sign indicated it would take an hour to get in, but it actually took less time.
Line for the Anne Frank Huis/House
Although the buildings surrounding the secret annex have all been modernized, the annex itself has been left intact.
Westerkerk/West Church  (1620-31
by architect Hendrick de Keyser
in Dutch Renaissance style)
Westerkerk/West Church steeple
is the tallest in Amsterdam with the
blue crown of Maximilian I of Austria who ruled
the Netherlands in the 15th century
Modern pissoir; ready for the big party?
An old couple sit on their front stoop
After the Anne Frank House tour, we went to the Café 'T Smalle, a so-called brown café because of the dark wood interiors. They were preparing for King's day, and we had to buy our drinks and find a bench to sit by the canal.
Café 'T Smalle
Continued walking on Leliegracht to Keizersgracht.
    Huis Met Hoofden/House of Heads
    at #123 Keizersgracht
    The House of Heads has a wild story associated with it; that the maid caught six robbers in the act and decapitated them, hanging the heads on the house. Well, the 1622 façade by Hendrick de Keyser has busts of Apollo, Ceres, Mars, Athena, Bacchus, and Diana.
    House with shutters on Brouwersgracht
    Herring stand
    House with the narrowest façade
    at #7 Singel (only the width of the door

    to the right of the blue mailbox;
    the house does get wider in the back)
    Centraal Station  (1884-1889 by Petrus Josephus Hubertus Cuypers)
    It was time to get our free canal tour using the I AMsterdam Cards. We started off in front of the train station.
    Bicycle parking ramp
    Out into the Ij/a lake extension of the Ijssel Meer/sea.
    EYE Film Museum (2012 by the firm Delugan Meissl)
    Torre/Tower Overhoeks (1969 by Arthur Staal),
    previously HQ for Royal Dutch Shell
    We went around the rear of the Centraal Station, then headed back into the canals.
    Montelbaanstoren (1516),
    top (1606 designed by Hendrick de Keyser)
    We passed a brand new building as we turned into the Amstel River, the only waterway made originally by nature. The Stopera is a combination of stadhuis/city hall and opera.
    The opera part of Stopera (1982-1986)
    At Reguliersgracht, you get a better look
    at the seven bridges from a boat
    The partying starts tonight!
    A spinning musical boat
    After the canal cruise, we walked over to Zeedijk, one of the oldest streets in Amsterdam.
    Zeedijk decorated for King's Day
    We had pizza from il Mare Restaurant where everyone spoke Italian.
    BIG mugs of Heineken and Coca-Cola
    Toilet seat in the restaurant restroom
    We walked through the Red Light District (no photos allowed) on our way back to the hotel.
    The Dam Square
    Next: Keukenhof.

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