Amsterdam - Sex, drugs, windmills and bicycles
Trip Start Feb 15, 2008
60Trip End May 31, 2008
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Where I stayed
Amsterdam's famous red-light district may eventually be wound up if the city gets its way. Recently one of the city's businessmen was done for fraud and as a result the city took over his shop windows (brothels) and leased them to young fashion designers. So now when one takes a stroll down Amsterdam's tunnel of love they may see a number of mannequins displaying garments in certain windows amongst the girls. Sex shows are also a big hit in this city of sin and feature couples who, amongst other things, have sex with each other on stage for the entertainment of their onlookers.
This country shares a similar history to other countries in Europe in that it was occupied by the Romans and later the Franks. Amsterdam became wealthy after gaining independence from Spain in 1648. From then on they became the world's leading sea power and supplied half the world's shipping. They were also great explorers and discovered parts of New Zealand, Australia, North America and the East Indies. The people of this country also suffered badly under Nazi occupation during WWII when over 100,000 of their Jewish community were murdered. Many of the Dutch attempted to hide their fellow Jews though this was risky business.
From Amsterdam came the famous Diary of Anne Frank which I’d read some years ago
The city of Amsterdam is a bicycle utopia; bike's rule the city and have more rights than cars. Bicycle parking is in such demand that the city has recently constructed a three story concrete bike parking facility capable of storing 3,000 bikes and when I saw it, it was completely full. The combination of riverboats cruising the city's canals, trams making their way down the main streets and bikes everywhere is what I'd consider to be the ideal city. We were in luck during our visit as the sun was out and it was a public holiday. This gave the city such a lively atmosphere with street performers and live music in one of the town centres. I took a bicycle tour that morning then held onto the bike for the rest of the day and explored a few other areas of the city. Also of interest is the Van Goff museum; I didn't go though a few people in our group did and thoroughly enjoyed it. We concluded our tour of mainland Europe that evening with an 'all you can drink’ canal cruise. These cruises are great and it's such a tight squeeze through some of the canals that the boat almost touches the sides.