Friday, October 21, 2011


Friday, October 21, 2011

Thursday morning I dropped Chance off at Bone-A-Fide Dog Ranch before heading to Sea-Tac Airport for my departure flight for Amsterdam. It left at 1:30 in the afternoon on Thursday and arrived around 11:30pm which was actually 8:30am in Amsterdam. I didn’t sleep as much as I needed to on the flight (3 movies didn’t help), so I wasn’t sure how long I’d last exploring Amsterdam before taking the train to Eindhoven, an hour and a half south to meet Joe after work.

After stepping out of the secure airport zone, I got some Euros out of the ATM and bought a train ticket from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam Centraal Station. I locked up my rolling luggage at the train station and noted where to buy my ticket to Eindhoven.

Centraal Station is a beautiful neo-Renaissance building.
Across the canal is St Nicolaaskerk, the main Catholic church in Amsterdam.
Man that’s a lot of bikes.
The streets and canals of Amsterdam.

Gables hide sharp and oddly pitched roofs. The hook on a hoist beam can become a handy manual elevator pulley wheel system to move bulky goods inside without going up precariously steep staircases.
Swans in the canal.
Beurs van Berlage, the former stock exchange by H.P. Berlage, the Father of Modern Dutch Architecture, which I think happens to be where Occupy Wall Street Amsterdam is camping out.
I walked to Oude Kerk (Old Church), the city’s oldest building which just happened to be in the center of the Red Light District. Even during mid-morning, there were lingerie-wearing prostitutes standing in their storefronts and doorways. The church’s patron saint watches over prostitutes.
Nieuwmarkt Square.
Canal houses. There are 165 canals in Amsterdam.

Trippenhuis is a grey-stone mansion with 8 Corinthian pilasters across 2 houses for each Trip brother, complete with mortar-shaped chimneys.
Dam Square is at the original location of the dam built over Amstel. Dam is home to Koninklijk Paleis (Royal Palace) and Nieuwe Kerk (New Church).

Magna Plaza shopping center.
Bartolotti House, a red-brick façade that follows bend in canal.

I walked back to the Dam to try and figure out how the very new tram payment system works, but  a beggar began hassling me to buy a ticket from him so I decided to walk to my next destination instead.
Stumbled upon Rembrandt Square.
The canal ring along Amstel. The iconic Magere Burg (Skinny Bridge) is a quaint drawbridge.

I took a stroll along the southern canal belt along Prinsengradt to the Museum District.

Rijkmuseum (State Museum) which serves as a gateway to the Museum Quarter.

Van Gogh Museum opened in 1973 is based on a design by famed De Stijl architect Gerrit Rietveld. The modern oval extension is connected by an underground walkway opened in 1999, designed by Kisho Kurokawa.

Concertgebouw (Concert Building).
I had a sandwich at a café in the Museum District. I bought a tram ticket from the driver and rode back to Centraal Station. From there I walked over to the waterfront of the IJ where a new, shiny Amsterdam is emerging.
Under construction was mint hotel which has a nice variable façade.

Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam (Amsterdam Public Library), is Europe’s largest public library designed by Jo Coenen.

NEMO Science Museum is a fun replica of an old VOC ship designed by Renzo Piano. In the summertime the rooftop becomes a beach and even now it looked active with children and parents.

ARCAM (Amsterdam Centre for Architecture) is built on foundations of pavilion designed by Renzo Piano. It was designed by Rene van Zuuk and built in 2003. Zinc-coated corrugated aluminum skin wraps an irregular-shaped shell.

Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ (Music Building on the IJ) by Danish architects 3XN is based on the shape of a ship in concrete, black and light maple wood. The black box jutting out is the Bimhuis, a legendary jazz venue.

Heading back to Centraal Station St Nicolaaskerk dominates the skyline.
I bought my train ticket for Eindhoven and was on my way at 4pm somehow still awake.
Joe was at the hotel, home from work already when I finally found the Eden Crown hotel. Even though it’s only a block and a half away and I had a map it still took me awhile. They really need to mark street names at major intersections.
I’ve never travelled to a foreign country all on my own. Our biggest worry was that I wouldn’t make it out of Amsterdam safely or wouldn’t be able to find Joe in Eindhoven. I’m very happy to say we’ve been reunited with no major hiccups. I had a great time in Amsterdam. We ate dinner at an outdoor patio, drinking beers and enjoying each other’s company after being apart for 2 weeks. We were really excited to celebrate the old man’s 30th birthday in Belgium the next day!

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