If you’ve seen one canal, you’ve seen them all…
Get ready to be amazed by a city that was built on top of the ocean, otherwise known as the land of 1000 bicycles, Amsterdam. This city will confuse even the most directionally competent. The whole city was planned as a series of islands connected by bridges for foot traffic and cars. It looks like a series of semi-circles on a map. And the city is basically an expressionist version of the grid system in Chicago and New York. There is a grid, but it’s circles, and that makes it difficult to get around.
But as you do get around, be prepared to be terrified whenever crossing a street. Not only are cars and trucks unlikely to stop for crossing pedestrians, but there are a constant stream of cyclists speeding down the streets as well. And you can’t hear a bicycle coming. The bikes in Amsterdam are a silent but deadly killer. So are the trams. A modern and delightful tram system carries passengers around the whole city, but just like the bikes, it is deathly silent and on the hunt for an unsuspecting pedestrian.
If cities were people, I would suspect Amsterdam of being a serial killer. It appears to be beautiful, but has many parts that are dangerous.
The museums seem to mostly just be in normal house building, including the Anne Frank House. The New Church and the Old Church (both very old churches) were amazing feats of construction. Unfortunately, the Red Light District has built up around the Old Church, so if you are taking pictures of the church, you may get yelled at by prostitutes who want to avoid having their pictures taken. There are also people’s apartments in the Old Church, making the photos a little less interesting.
Most Americans will probably be walking down the street at some point during their visit comparing Amsterdam to Las Vegas. It’s an easy comparison. Most things are legal in Amsterdam. Weed, mushrooms, casinos, prostitution, ice skating. There are tons of restaurants with food from around the world. Avoid New York Pizza though, it is definitely not anything like New York Pizza. The Chinese food had no salt in it and tasted bland. Stick to bread. The city is a lot older than Las Vegas, but the people and places are very tourist centric and I think it pretty much is Vegas. What happens in Amsterdam stays in Amsterdam, unless you wanted to take a canal tour, in which case you will get a lot of pictures of buildings along the canal.
All the canals looked the same to me. Is that ok to say? I didn’t find the canals appealing after the first hour. A river flowing through a city is one thing, but an entire city built on water is a little ridiculous.
Typical canal in Amsterdam…
This guide of Amsterdam is as meandering and listless as the city. It’s a good place to take a stroll, but watch out for bikes, prostitutes and other very wasted Americans.