Marg and I are now really enjoying the company of my brother, Rod, and sister-in-law, Cornelia. This afternoon we set out to find Dam Square via some streets that we had not yet explored. We began the walk through a section of the Vondelpark, which is adjacent to our hotel. It had started to rain lightly when we left the hotel, but it didn’t take too long for the rain to become quite heavy, just as people on our river cruise had warned us to expect in Amsterdam.
We enjoyed the new route. It took us past some dining places that looked really good, and we made a note to walk back the same way and stop for dinner at one of them. We’re getting better at avoiding cyclists now, though heavy rain and lots of pedestrians with umbrellas does make it tricky to stay on the walking part of the sidewalk and there were quite a few occasions where we had to step out onto the cycling path and just hope we could get off it again quickly without incident.
On the walk we began to recognise familiar landmarks along the canals that we had seen on the previous night’s canal cruise, and it seemed that we were gradually figuring out a little of how the city and its streets and canals were laid out.
Our route took us past a flower market, where tulips and tulip bulbs of every colour were on sale, and past any number of coffee shops and similar stores where marijuana was sold. Of course, even if we hadn’t seen it on sale just about everywhere, we were certainly aware of its presence, as the pungent smell of dope smoking was unmistakable.
The red light district was interesting, with many sex shops attracting plenty of tourists – though I think the majority were just ‘looking’, rather than ‘buying’. We passed a few establishments where lingerie-clad women displayed their wares in the windows along the street, though if a tourist’s camera was visible the red curtain was instantly pulled across. I managed one quick shot from the hip – I wonder if you can spot it in the photos above 🙂
Eventually the rain stopped and our umbrellas came down. The sun came out again. We stopped for a fantastic pasta dinner at Il Palio, which I highly recommend if you want a good pasta in Amsterdam. We all loved our meals and they only cost 5 euros each. A waffle shop with a long queue outside looked pretty inviting too, though we didn’t stop.
We’ve had a great time in Amsterdam. In the morning the four of us will catch the train to Bruges in Belgium.