Revisiting a place has very many benefits – you can see the things missed out on your earlier trips, re-live the earlier holiday, eat more of the local tasty cuisine, check out the non-touristy sites, take this trip at a more leisurely pace and see the changes that have taken place in the intervening time frame. Last year I had a chance to revisit Amsterdam for a day (after 5 long years) and loved my second trip here. (You can read my post on the earlier trip at – Amsterdam – The City of 3Cs). Since I had seen the touristy Amsterdam on the previous trip, I spent my day just aimlessly walking around noticing the things I had missed out on my last trip and revisiting some of its famous sites. Though I still have a left to explore on my next trip (I keep figuring out things I missed through other blogs, magazines etc), I am sharing my experience of this trip via a photo essay below –
Just like my last trip I reached Amsterdam this time too via a train and the Amsterdam Centraal Station was my introduction to the city. But on my previous trip it was covered in scaffolding and protective covers due to ongoing renovation and we had not been able to see it. But the restoration work was now complete and I had a fabulous time walking around this gorgeous building.
The moment you step out of Amsterdam Centraal you see the old part of Amsterdam with its signature narrow long tilting houses, gables and hooks. It’s a timeless picture postcard and doesn’t change at all. These houses are narrow for a reason. In earlier days when taxes were charged; houses were valued by width, not depth or height. So people built narrow buildings throughout the city.
There is also a scientific reason for these tilting buildings and the hooks. This is a city built on canals and hence susceptible to flooding. Thus upper floors were the safest places to store items. But the stair cases in these narrow houses are also extremely narrow and furniture cannot turn in these narrow spaces. So the Dutch found another way to move their large items. They hoisted them up outside the house via the large arm and hook at the top of the house. Items could just be tied to this hook and pulled up to the desired floor. The houses also lean a little forward so that the items could easily be taken in through the windows and not collide with the outer facade.
All building are built on canals and you can see boats parked all along the cars like cars along the lanes in our cities.
Amsterdam can be explored via boats, cycles, trams and walking. On my previous trip we had walked all around but since I was short on time on this trip, I found a cheats trick – trams. There is a fabulous tram connection all over this city and for Euro 7.5 you can buy a 24 hour unlimited travel pass. Then just pick up a tram map and keep hopping on and off. 🙂
I also saw the old floating flower market where you can mix and match and buy all kinds of tulips and other flowers. You can read my detailed post the same at – A Unique Souvenir from Amsterdam – Tulip Bulbs.
I am extremely fond of deserts and in a small roadside cafe came across this traditional Dutch treat called – Poffertjes. It is like a small bite sized fluffy pancake made of yeast and buckwheat flour. Served with strawberries, cream and chocolate sauce it was the perfect accompaniment for my afternoon coffee. Since Indonesia was a Dutch colony, each cuisine has influenced a lot of the other and Poffertjes is thought to have influenced the Indonesian kue cubit.
Trying to walk off all the Poffertjes, I landed at the Rembrandtplein or the Rembrandt Square. This is a major square in central Amsterdam and named after the famous painter Rembrandt van Rijn who owned a house nearby. The square has a beautiful statue of Rembrandt and is surrounded by numerous clubs, restaurants and pubs. It’s a definite stop on the nightlife tour of the city.
If you have sometime and its sunny then do rent a solar boat and go for a self rowing canal tour. It’s a fabulous way of experiencing and seeing this city. I couldn’t do this as I didn’t know about these solar self rowed boats and by the time I tried booking one it was all full.
And finally I ended the day by the side of a canal watching the sunset on these old buildings and timeless canals. A perfect way to end a perfect day.
Have you had a chance to revisit any places? Do share your experiences of the same.