Walk around the City Center
Trip Start Aug 18, 2011
45Trip End Jul 02, 2012
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The old city is very fun to walk around. The streets are more narrow than in the Canal Rings and there are a lot of neat alleyways lined with shops
Up ahead from the brass orchestra was the Nieuwmarkt (New Market). I found some fun souvenirs and trinkets there and they also had some nice clothes, but I didn't buy anything. I've been trying to keep from buying souvenirs until I'm more acquainted with the city and know where the best places to shop are. Right by the market was the Waag, the last remaining medieval gatehouse in the city. It's truly surreal to me to have so much history around me all the time. I then passed by the Zuiderkerk (South Church). There are many church towers in the city, but I think I've decided that the Zuiderkerk tower is my favorite. I also like the Church of Saint Nicholas a lot. I ended up passing by the Oost-Indisch Huis (East India House). The East India House is part of my university now, but it was formerly the headquarters of the Dutch East India Company. As I said before, there is so much interesting history to discover in the city!
I next decided to check out the views of the Oosterdok (East Dock), a large bay to the north of the city. I got to see the new Amsterdam City Library, Centraal Station (the train station), the Nemo Science Center, and the Maritime Museum. I didn't go into any of them, but will definitely be going back
After adding the Oosterdok to my list of favorite places so far, I crossed back over the water, past the Church of Saint Nicholas and turned onto the Damrak. The Damrak is a street that used to be part of the harbor, but has been filled in and replaced with buildings. The street had a lot of tourist shops, restaurants, etc. I walked south until I got to Dam Square. Dam Square is where the original dam on the Amstel River was built back when the city was founded. The square houses the Royal Palace, which is a museum, and the National Monument (a WWII monument). The square was very busy since it was a weekend.
Afterwards, I walked down the Oudezijds canal towards the central part of the Universiteit van Amsterdam (my school). I got to see the Agnietenkapel, where the school was founded in 1632. It's crazy for me to think that my school was founded 12 years after the Mayflower took off for America! I got to see most of the buildings of the central part of campus
After seeing some of the university, I was getting a little tired and it was getting late so I started to walk home. I managed to get myself slightly lost and started walking up a canal the wrong way. I got myself corrected, though, and it turned out to be a good mistake, because I ended up at Rembrandplein (Rembrandt Square) without meaning to. Rembrandt lived in the city for part of his life, and he's one of the most famous Dutch painters. There was a statue of him in the square and a man was playing music, so I took a little breather and sat down to listen to him.
The walk back along the Amstel was nice, because the sun was starting to set behind the houses on the river. I took some pictures, but they didn't compare to the actual view. Overall I had a really great day. I was already excited about living in the city just from touring the canal rings on my first day out, but the sights I saw on that day didn't even come close to how much I saw in the old city.