Corner of Keizergracht and
Reguliersgracht at dusk.
My Trip to Amsterdam January 17-20, 2014
My hotel: t’Hotel, Leliegracht 18, 1015 DE Amsterdam, Netherlands
The location was perfect – near Dam square
and tons of other attractions and good
restaurants. My hotel was cuddled on a quiet
canal near Westermarkt and Westerkerk. I
could hear the church bells counting the
hours – the same bells Anne Frank could hear
from the hidden annex of her house.
I loved my hotel - a charming, traditional (well-kept)
17 century canal house. The middle 3 windows on
the second floor are the windows of my room.
Typical steep winding stairs…They
even had a chair lift for people who
cannot climb stairs like that. The staff,
however, brought my luggage upstairs
and then downstairs.
My room looked over the canal from the second floor. The bed was king size and very
comfy. Everything was spotlessly clean and there were no bad mouldy odours of any kind…
On the way to Dam square I passed by this little square with an odd statue.
On the way to Dam square I also passed by this crazy shoe design store where shoes did not
look like shoes…
A little further down the street
these people were hauling
down a heavy load using the
traditional Dutch hoisting
beam technology and
giggling….because the bag fell
on the ground, in spite of all
their efforts…I think this was a
Yes, the houses ARE leaning. Some more than others. Why? Well, you don’t want to break
the windows when you are pulling heavy loads up and down the rope hanging from the
hoisting beam, do you?
This is Spui square (pronounced SPAUI by the voice on the tram). This time I am
leaning, too…Just to capture more of the charm and the knobbly trees. On Friday mornings
the square is full of book sellers just like plo6tad “Slavejkov” in Sofia.
Again on Spui square – In 1960 a cigarette company donated this bronze statue of a boy
people here lovingly call “Little Darling” (or “t’Lieverdje”). It is seen as the symbol of the
addicted consumer. These days smoking doesn’t seem too fashionable in Amsterdam…
Off Spui square is the gateway to Begijnhof
(pronounced BEHR’EINHOF) - the peaceful 14
century home of Beguines. They are a Catholic
sisterhood who live like nuns without vows and
are free to return to the secular world.
Amsterdam Museum – tucked away
from Spui Square and down the
street from Begijnhof. But, don’t ask
the locals how to find it…They don’t
know, although they are really polite
and are trying to help…
A great place to learn about the
development of Amstel Dam into
Amsterdam, and how an insignificant
little fishing village grew into a major
port and trade-centre all built on
Dam Square with the monument and the inevitable touristy horse carriages. Behind the
monument is a sliver of the Grand Hotel Krasnopolski – one of the most expensive hotels in
Amsterdam. And…2 minutes behind it – boom, you are suddenly in the Red Light district…
Dam Square –Koninklijk Paleis and Nieuwe Kerk (New Church), which is no longer a functioning
church, but an exhibition hall. Right now there is a Ming Dinasty exhibit, which I saw as it was
included in my “I Amsterdam” card. It was weird to see Chinese stuff in Amsterdam, though…
Dam Square at night. Going home after a long day…
Dam Square the next day – Saturday. The crowds have gathered for tulips, music and a show.
There are thousands of tulips covering the square and it is January! A lovely day (according to
local standards – 7 degrees above 0 and no rain!
They are giving away for free 10 tulips with bulbs. The lucky people like the girl holding the
bouquet have waited for 2 or 3 hours in line! We didn’t …
I enjoyed the Van Gogh museum on Friday night, as this is the only night it is open until 10 pm.
Otherwise, all museums usually close at 5 pm. There was a concert in the ground floor lounge
with people drinking and socializing and on the wall there was a continuous media show with
Van Gogh paintings and motifs.
Amsterdam Centraal – Magda and her husband Philippe drove over from Belgium to see me. It
was a lovely surprise…We went to the Amsterdam Central Train Station to take a boat tour
Amsterdam Centraal – Central Station in all its glory…
Along he Damrak…little shops selling the eternal wooden tulips. Here is Iva holding one of them.
Still along he Damrak… Iva in front of the famous Sex Museum. Just posing for a silly picture. I
didn’t really go in…Maybe, next time.
On the other side of the Damrak – across the Central Station. We took the Boat Tour from here.
Boat Tour – Boat houses. The government does not allow any more canal homes, but people
living here have all the comforts of a real home. The waste goes directly into the
canals…so, don’t go swimming there. But, the good news is canals are cleaned twice a day.
Boat Tour – Along the Prinzengracht…with all the warehouses lined up along the canal. They all
have hoisting beams on the top of the façade and 3 types of roof shapes. Conformity was
important in the 17 century.
The built in bookshelf which
would hide the entrance to the
hidden annex where Anne and
her family hid for 2 years
during the Nazi occupation.
Anne Frank’s House – the last attraction I visited on Sunday night…I lucked out a moment with
almost no line up! Usually, the line up fills the entire street.