Monday, March 26, 2012


Last Friday we flew out of London City Airport and touched down in Amsterdam 40 minutes later for a long weekend. We had a fabulous stay at the 100 year old Grand Hotel Amrath(bottom pic). The capitol city of the Netherlands dates back to 1275 and now has a population of 780,000. In the 17th century Amsterdam became the wealthiest city in the world. It is home of the very first Stock exchange ever, the Dutch East India Company, that opened in 1602.
There are over 100 kilometers of canals and 1,275 bridges here where at high tide, the city sits 2 meters below sea level.  Many of the old historic buildings were built leaning forward with large hooks on top, so furniture that wouldn't fit up the narrow stairs could easily be hoisted to upper floors (see pics).  Buildings are also leaning because of the rotting wooden poles on which they were built.  In my world if a building leans it would be condemned until repaired, of course with the exception of the 'Leaning Tower of  Pisa'.  We toured the original Heineken Brewery, the Anne Frank house, the Rijks Museum with Rembrandt original paintings and also the popular Van Gogh Museum.
I have never seen so many bicycles in one city.  There is just no room for autos here so most people who work and live in the city use the bikes.  It is quite strange that it took 5 years for us to get to such a historic and fun city that is so close.  Complete album posted on Facebook...

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