Time to hit the streets of Amsterdam! It will be the hottest day of our trip so far, so I am keeping my fingers crossed for a cloud cover and a breeze!We decided that since it "may" rain tomorrow, we would hit the old city center today, as it is a bit further from our hotel and more walking, outdoors. Three metro stops away and we were at the Amsterdam Centraal train station, which was a beautiful, old building with two different clocks, towers, and a goldcrest, of some sort. It was built between 1881 and 1889.
Across the canal, sits the Basilica of Saint Nicholas. It is Amsterdam's primary Catholic church and we arrived just in time to hear the last ten minutes of mass. It is Neo-Baroque and Neo-Renaissance in style. It was quite dark, and gloomy, but had a beautiful pipe organ, and dome.
After leaving the church, we saw many charming, and leaning buildings, door knockers, signs, the Statue of Liberty, lanterns, and canals.
Oude Kerk, aka "Old Church" is Amsterdam's oldest building founded in 1213 and consecrated in 1306. The church is large with a lot of open space, a wooden, coved ceiling that still has old paintings somewhat visible, and tombstones galore, over every inch of the floor.
The pipe organ is stunning, and I wonder where the spiral staircases lead. There was some current-day art, as well as "old" art on the walls, alongside stained glass windows, another art installation that looked like a fire-pit; black coal, with small black statues, interspersed, and some of the carved tombstones were quite impressive.
Interestingly enough, there is a Red Light District right across the street from the church. I found that weird, but I guess in Amsterdam anything goes. I also found it weird that the "girls in the window" were standing there, scantily dresses, playing on their cell phones, while waiting for customers! And how weird was it that I wanted to walk up and down those streets just to see what it was all about!?
TMI Warning; I had just asked Joe, "So, do you suppose that they just close that curtain, or do you think that there is another door with a twin mattress on the floor?" When low and behold, we walked by one of the windows, and there on the floor was a twin mattress, in a room no wider, a roll of toilet paper, and a few pillows. Yes, you can say "eeeewwww", now, I certainly did!
I suppose that that is enough information on that part of Amsterdam!
I loved all of the little streets in the old town, full of pastry shops, restaurants, and just about anything else you would like, and the square where we were able to see buskers, singing, blowing bubbles, and playing instruments.
There was a sculpture holding the whole world in his hands and spires and towers everywhere you looked.
We attempted to go see the Anne Frank House, but it is sold out, by then we were getting hungry, and tired and decided on some Italian; gnocchi and penne pasta. I think that the sips of Grolsch beer helped me walk back to the metro and to our hotel.
Another great day in the books!