Travel Blog – Amsterdam Again

7 10 2009

Unfortunately the next day Tony had to go back to work so it was just Martin, Alyona and I for the day. And as Alyona had yet to see Amsterdam we decided it would be a good idea to go in for another look around and see the sights but this being us it took us a while to get going and it was the afternoon before we got there.

Because Martin had to leave that night from the airport he had brought all his stuff with him to the train station and so dropped it off in the left luggage area of the train station before we set off to see the city.

Martin & Alyona (f8.0 1/160 24mm)

Martin & Alyona (f8.0 1/160 24mm)

We took a slightly different approach the second time around and while we saw most of the same sights we explored more of the back streets and went a bit further out into the suburbs. Even to the point of finding a random market full of t-shirts, second hand clothing, porn and police academy era films on VHS but struggled to find somewhere that sold pancakes like the first day (which was our real mission).

Despite it being a Tuesday afternoon the streets were still crowded and it was quite cool to see such a bustling, alive city. Narrow streets and tall buildings crammed with cafes and shops were everywhere and the atmosphere was very cool. And very different to New Zealand.

Typical Street in Amsterdam (f8.0 1/15 88mm)

Typical Street in Amsterdam (f8.0 1/15 88mm)

Eventually we found a nice little cafe that fit the bill: pancakes, coffee, and a canal and sat down for lunch outside.

But not without drama of course! The tables were small and so it was necessary to pull a chair from one table around to fit the three of us. Not too difficult but the waitress then rushed out to inform us that we couldn’t do that and in Amsterdam they can get fined (by the Police no less) for not having their tables set out just so. Instead it was quite alright for her to bring another chair from inside so I’m still not sure what the fuss was all about.

We were very lucky though and as soon as we sat down under cover it began to rain which cleared the air and kept people running in front of us as we enjoyed our meal.

Hoodie by Hurley (f5.6 1/8 24mm)

Hoodie by Hurley (f5.6 1/8 24mm)

After lunch we engaged in more shopping and Martin purchased a very daring long sleeved shirt (daring in that it was either Hipster or had enough bright pink to indicate a different sexual preference).

We also made it to the flower market which was full of beatiful tulips and grow your own kits for what whould most definitely be illegal here. The only shame was that they shipped to every country in the world, except Australia and New Zealand. Shipped the tulips that is.

Eventually the time moved on and as it approached 5 we had to head back to the train station to pick up Martin’s bags and see him off on the way to the airport. Which kind of sucked so we had ice cream.

On the way back to the train station I spotted a parking building for bikes. This thing was 5 storeys high and was simply filled with bikes. It really seemed like something that could only happen in Holland. Especially when you compare it to the 10m^2 area the University of Auckland has for bikes…

Parking for bikes (f8.0 1/250 105mm)

Parking for bikes (f8.0 1/250 105mm)

At the station Martin got his stuff and was on his way but not before we took the following shot which I’m quite proud of. Not entirely in focus but a cool concept.

The three of us - Tony wasn't far away (f5.6 0.3s 24mm)

The three of us - Tony wasn't far away (f5.6 0.3s 24mm)

The good thing was that less than an hour later Tony came in and met us in Amsterdam having been dropped off by one of his colleauges so we could continue our adventures.

We walked around a bit more including another pre-evening stroll through the red light distict which was as low-key as the first time. We did kind of look at the outside of some of the shows but I don’t think anyone was game enough to go in, and as Tony said the first 5 minutes are normally shocking and then it becomes just blase and boring.

Saying bye to the night (f8.0 1/320 24mm)

Saying bye to the night (f8.0 1/320 24mm)

And yes, that is KFC on the left of the picture, it infects everywhere!

Now as the plan for the evening was to do absolutely nothing again the story ends here except to say that we did end up going to the red light district again while taking Tony’s ‘less than direct’ route to the train station and while it was a bit of a blur and I can’t claim to remember much of it (due to being worried about other stuff) it was very surreal with scantily clad girls everywhere who were calling out or negotiating with potential clients. Weird.




One response

12 10 2009

Doing nothing sounds interesting.

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