What a fascinating city and lifestyle.
Everyone on bikes, very few vehicles.
Giant churches/cathedrals - catholic and protestant.
The city lived up to it's *sinful* reputation...the Red Light District was more explicit than I imagined!
Weed smoking is everywhere ("coffee shops" always offer marijuana and coffee).
Lots of bars, and they were quite proud of being the first to legalize gay marriage.
But it wasn't hard to ignore all that and just enjoy the good stuff.
Our church building wasn't far from town and it was beautiful! The temple was over an hour away so I didn't get to go.
The number of museums - wow! They had a museum for everything. Cheese, cows, and then the usual stuff - art, history, architecture, ships, etc.
I'm a big fan of a bikeable city. So great for everyone, in every way. Physically, mentally, environmentally... so awesome. I read that there are about 900,000 people, and over a million bikes!! Some of the "bicycle parking lots" hold over 25,000 bikes! PJ said they end up fishing about 10,000 bikes out of the canal every year. Funny.
***Fresh hot STROOPWAFELS are so delicious!!!***
Attending the Catholic church service Sunday morning was interesting. Such ornate decor and intimidating atmosphere. I'm really really glad to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ :)
The open air markets were awesome, especially the FLOWER markets!! I could've shopped around all day. But I didn't want to spend much or buy things I'd have to carry around the next 2 weeks. So I just got a cute magnet to add to my travel-magnet collection, plus some cute little yellow dutch clogs.
The canals at night were so so so beautiful!! Beautiful lights everywhere. LOTS of other boats out. I was surprised, but PJ said it's because it's a weekend, plus fantastic weather. I had brough a jacket but didn't even need it. Which means I have to bring it to Kenya with me now, but leave it there - who knows if they'll ever use it! ha. Oh well.
The Anne Frank house was an amazing experience. Very sobering to actually see where she and her family hid away for so long. And hear the same bell she heard every day every hour. It was so small. What a sad sad part of history for the whole world. It's awful what one small group of evil men can accomplish and manipulate others into doing.
I had WiFi several times so I got to chat with Brian 💛💛. I think it's going to be a very interesting and intense 2 weeks for him with me away!
I was surprised at how emotional I was at our goodbye. And with the kids. And by myself. I cried hard.
It didn't help that I was sleep deprived.
But still, it was so sad! Super overwhelming.
But I'm fine now.
I know I'm meant to be on this adventure!
My day of play was such a fun treat.
Now I'm looking forward to actually getting to work and doing some good in Kenya 🇰🇪🙌
Here is the flexible itinerary the tour guide PJ sent me, and we followed semi close with a few changes as we went about.
14:55 Passport control
15:00 Meetup local PJ at arrival hall 3
15:10 Taking the train to Central Station
15:25 Arriving at Amsterdam Central Station, walk to bike flat
15:30 Bike tour including Dam Square, Royal Palace, Red light District,
(see a coffeeshop from the inside), Old Church, De Waag, Nieuwmarkt,
China Town, Jewish district, Skinny Bridge, Rembrandt square, Albert Cuyp Market
16:45 Visit farmer's market Albert Cuyp and eat a fresh 'Stroopwafel'
17:15 Cycle to Amsterdam-East and see windmill 'De Gooyer'
17:30 Cycle to Nemo Science Museum to have a good view from the roof terrace
17:50 Cycle to Museum square and see museums from the outside and IAmsterdam sign
18:50 Cycle to ANNE FRANK house
19:10 Boat UNESCO listed canals and other small canals and have a local snack on boat
20:25 Boat to Foodhallen, local place to have food
20:40 Eat at Foodhallen
21:10 Boat to Jordan district
21:45 Walk through UNESCO listed Jordan District
22:15 Walk to Proeflokaal A. van Wees, a traditional Dutch Brown Café and see inside. See the Nine little streets
8:15 Shower, have breakfast and prepare for flight
9:45 Cycle to Central Station, park bike and say bye to PJ