I let out a mild chuckle as I scanned the shelves. From sex toys to legal drugs, Amsterdam seems to have it all. As my eyes panned from left to right, products such as tiny pecker condoms and those special cookies met my gaze. I just love how unpretentious this city is. Perhaps I find it hilarious as hell because I just know that you’ll never have the same experience in Manila. The devout Catholics are going to have a field day, and the owner of that store will burn at the stake the next afternoon.
Oddities aside, what I immediately liked about Amsterdam was the warm welcome. Of course I am using this term in a relative sense. Deciding not to dress down, I was wearing the same number of layers I did in Berlin, and with the almost 10 C difference, what was cold suddenly became cool and refreshing. This does not mean, however, that there were no complications along the way. This part of Europe is no stranger to rain, and we received lots in my first two days here.
The sun decided to drop by on my third and final full day allowing me to go sightseeing without having to hide under an umbrella, which was a total nuisance when trying to snap photos. I hopped on a tram to Museumplein the day before, but it was raining hard and all I ever managed to do was grab dinner and buy an umbrella at the Supermarkt. Having visited parts of the old town during my first day, I decided to just begin again here and start the day with a selfie at the Iamsterdam sign.
There is no such thing as getting a selfie at the Iamsterdam sign, unless you do it at midnight or perhaps as the sun is just about to rise. Perhaps I am exaggerating but you know that this is Amsterdam’s most popular selfie spot, right? You will have to oppose a hundred camwhores if you want a clear shot. And so I just gave up and settled for the Rijksmuseum behind it, the façade of which was not as crowded. There are a couple of restaurants around the area if you get hungry, but this is more of museum central.
They don’t call it the Museum Quarter for nothing. You will immediately see three ubiquitous ones after getting off the tram. The one right next to the Supermarkt seems to display modern exhibits and shit. I didn’t really check, but there were lots of souvenirs for sale by the window. Right smack at the middle is the Van Gogh Museum, which never runs out of queues. One side of the Rijksmuseum is also accessible right behind the Iamsterdam sign. And then there’s that brick building at the corner as well.
Needless to say, fans of art would be spending the whole day here museum hopping. I wish I had the same passion for the arts, but Van Gogh and I were not really that close back in the day, so paying tribute to him now does not really make sense. If anything, the petite ice skating rink in front of the Iamsterdam sign was cool, but the quality of the ice didn’t seem good enough and I didn’t want to damage my blades. The good news is that there’s a wooden overhead bridge which serves as a good vantage point for pictures.
I think I spent no more than 15 minutes in the area. Fans of photography will also find it amusing. After all, this is Amsterdam, and there are plenty of perfect photo opportunities at every turn. Damn, I felt like a pro taking pictures here and there with my phone. I guess there are no amateurs when the subject is just perfect. This has to be the equivalent of Prague on this side of Europe as far as using all your phone’s memory is concerned. Reaching the point of exhaustion is no problem, as this is also one hell of a big park.
Just make sure that you are fully clothed for the occasion. I could imagine how hot and humid it must be out here during summer, but it’s almost winter right now so layers are a must. You will find a lot of green spots, as well as benches and playgrounds in the area. You can bring the entire family here and they are bound to enjoy as much as you would because of all the family activities you can possibly think of. Kudos to whoever conceptualized the layout of this area!
The original plan was to take another tram going to Centraal and revisit the spots I checked out the nights before, but since the sun was up anyway I thought maybe a leisurely stroll would be my best bet, and it was. But well, Amsterdam’s canals are a phenomenon and they deserve an entire entry all on their own. I think I don’t even have to write anything, just, you know, flood the page with pictures like most bloggers do. But then again, this is so not Flickr. And I just won’t shut up. To be continued…
[AMSTERDAM] That Elusive Iamsterdam Selfie