Domestic goddess and backyard explorer with a passion for freelance writing!
Published December 7th 2014
The city with more bicycles than people
We spent about two hours inside the Van Gogh museum, which was eye opening and an interesting cultural experience, however it was strictly a no photography policy hence I don't have any photos to share I'm afraid. The life story of Van Gogh reflected in his artworks was both tragic and mystifying; leaving the viewer with a sombre feeling of the overall experience.
By now, we were getting a bit hungry so our next stop was lunch at a roadside restaurant where we ordered pasta and a grilled sandwich and leisurely made our way towards our booked time at the Ice bar for late afternoon, stopping over at a pretty junction of canals and streets to grab coffee and hot chocolate in my case, from a typical Dutch family owned cafe. We had particularly nice weather even in November and throughly enjoyed the views which were just as magnificent during the day as it was the night before. Amsterdam was known as 'the Venice of the North' for this reason.
Ice Bar was cold, as you'd expect, and the ambience was kind of sporty, loud, and filled with I suspect, mostly tourists. You had your twenty minute timed session inside the cold room, before more visitors ambled in wearing gloves, waterproof ponchos etc.
Feeling quite novel, we left for our next booked attraction, the canal boat ride which had a guide announcing sights and telling us fascinating facts about the city as we glided along, often looking into neat apartments (most people here never closed their curtains) and houseboats, lit up in the night. An hour later we were dropped back off to our starting point, which was near the Amsterdam Centraal station.
From here we were keen to explore Amsterdam by night, which included the red light district. There were streets marked with kid friendly signs for those with families who may have stumbled upon this area at night time by accident or otherwise. I don't think we ever managed to get far into the centre of the red light district but the peripheries where we were had many restaurants, adult shops and mobs of people wandering around. The restaurants here were incredibly cheap probably because there were so many to choose from, although the make your own pizza and pasta place we stopped at wasn't very good. The mushrooms and olives on my pasta were excessively salty, kind of ruining the whole dish.
Anyway, making a mental note that this area might be a good place to come for breakfast the next day, we planned our adventures for the next day..