Amsterdam

A canal in Amsterdam

A canal in Amsterdam

February is not high season in Amsterdam.  Still, my sister and I made the most of our first day here, despite cold, foggy, drizzly weather.

As we walked the cobbled streets along the canals, the inescapable fumes of pot permeated the air in nearly every block.  Locals take this weather in stride as bicycles dominated the streets, while tourists stood in a long line even in the rain in Feb. to see the Anne Frank House Museum.  We sampled the famous pancakes for lunch and took a canal cruise in a thankfully warm and dry boat.

The formidable pancakes found everywhere

The formidable pancakes found everywhere

Katy with umbrella

One of the oldest pubs, The Papeneiland, provided a warm and welcoming respite to the drizzly weather.

Oldest pub exterior

Oldest pub exterior

Oldest pub interior

Oldest pub interior

After the rain stopped we walked from the oldest pub to the oldest church, the Oulde Kerk, Amsterdam’s oldest building established in 1306.  It is right in the middle of the red light district, and a beautiful old church.

Exterior of the oldest church

Exterior of the oldest church

Oldest church.   The view that some of the working girls have from the shop just behind me as I took this photo

Oldest church. The view that some of the Sex Workers have from the brothel just behind me as I took this photo

We walked around the inside of the church with its beautiful stained glass windows, wooden barrel vaulted ceiling and a floor made of carved memorial stones.   The church is a covered cemetery with 2500 graves.  The gravestones tell something about the people who had been buried there, but now all graves have been excavated and filled with white sand.

Gravestone floor of the church

Gravestone floor of the church

There was a modern art installation on display inside the church, video clips by Tony Oursler.  I found it rather disturbing, almost creepy, and not at all to my liking.  The brochure described the installation as follows:  Oursler “hacks” the church, using digitally produced performances that emphasize the evolving character of the architecture and the cultural usage of the monumental building.

I guess I just didn’t get it.

Gothic wooden ceiling

Gothic wooden ceiling

Stained glass windows in the Lady's Chapel

Stained glass windows in the Lady’s Chapel

The Adoration of the Shepherds window in the Lady's Chapel

The Adoration of the Shepherds window in the Lady’s Chapel

The square around the church is lined with sex shops, window prostitutes, pubs, and all other assortment of commerce.  The world’s first condom shop had a delightfully colorful window display, and no lack of customers.

Bicycles line the back side of the oldest church with Sex Shops across the street

Bicycles line the back side of the oldest church with Sex Shops across the street

The colorful window display in the world's first condom shop, the Condomerie.

The colorful window display in the world’s first condom shop, the Condomerie.

 

Singel canal at night

Singel canal at night

Herengracht at night

Herengracht at night

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4 Responses to Amsterdam

  1. Teresa Favazza says:

    Good to read you got right to the travel blogging. I guess Amsterdam is European version of Sex In The City.

  2. Teresa Favazza says:

    Like The night shots beautiful!

  3. Russ Garvey says:

    Nice framing on shot #7 – oldest church. So, did you do any shopping in “Condomerie?”
    And stay away from the “coffee shops!”

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