Day 2,057 of Traveling the World | Amsterdam, The Netherlands | September 16, 2023

City of canals, city of bicycles, city of flowers, city of pancakes, city of red lights and cross-dressing men….but we will get to that later!! What a wonderful, magical place. Crossing the canals, there are lots of bikes locked to the railing and usually bunches of well-tended flowers. There are also lots and lots of people. And bikes. One of our ship’s officers, who is a resident of Amsterdam, did a presentation on Amsterdam’s history and things to see. He mentioned the many bikes and riders and said, “Amsterdam’s bikes are pure evil! And now, there are more electric bikes, which you can’t hear – more evil still!” Crossing a street, a bike slipped between us and the curb with about an inch to spare – almost! And since they are going pretty fast, getting hit by a bike would hurt!

But it was a beautiful, warm summer day in Amsterdam, unlike our days in Iceland and the first two ports in Norway. Flowers were in bloom, stores and tours were operating, and it was just a great day for being out and about in a world-class city. There are gorgeous historical buildings, trams and trains running, and much to see. We had a blast, just wandering aimlessly and taking photos.

We were surprised that we hadn’t blogged Amsterdam before. We have been here many times before and look forward to our return next summer. We know we will find many unusual things to photograph here on that trip. This is truly one of the world’s most unusual cities.

The first canal we came to – with a duck swimming down the middle! There is something about this photo that reminds us of an Impressionist painting, but it is just a regular photo from our phone.
Bikes are everywhere, and some are painted and bedecked and just resting outside buildings. This is one of them.
This area along a canal was getting ready for fall, decorated with pumpkins and gourds.
“Everywhere” is on our list, too! We agree with the Politics and Religion designations.
Such odd costumes.
The late afternoon took on a purple cast and produced this canal view.
An old drugstore, a shop with pretty flower garland, and a blue talking head. Totally normal in Amsterdam.
Another decorated bike, but this time with marine sponges and other ocean creatures. It sits in front of a thrift store, but upstairs is a company called “Those Dam Boat Guys” – of course, everyone loves to utilize the word “dam” in Amsterdam.
This Amsterdam home is decorated in high “Louis XIV” style!
A store called “Pleasurements,” with the motto, “Love isn’t blind.” But…but…the undergarments shown here look like torture, not pleasure! (Said Jan, NOT Mike!)
This store, “Otherist,” had very strange things for sale – old books, odd glassware, antique jewelry, scrubbing brushes, and tabletop glass boxes with ducks on the backboard.
A pretty building undergoing rehab, with Atlas on top.
They save all the pretty artwork for the tops of buildings, where you can’t really see it! Thank God for a good phone camera with a zoom lens.
Our last decorative bike, with glitter and flowers and sparkle and orange paint!
We don’t get the OBEY posters – but in every alley and on every railing, there shall be bicycles!
A tourist cheese shop. You can tell it isn’t for locals, as all the cheese is shrink-wrapped, ready for toting back to one’s country of origin.
The Beurspassage, a lovely arcade connecting two major shopping streets. Opened in December 2016, the design features mosaic floors and ceilings, pretty chandeliers, and playful painted scenes. It was delightful to walk through.
This cute fountain for filling water bottles is in the Beurspassage, and says, “Take Some Mokum With You.” Mokum is a slang Yiddish term for Amsterdam, much like The Big Apple is for New York. The word Mokum means “place,” and was given to Amsterdam when they took in the Jews who were expelled from Spain and Portugal 500 years ago.
Adjacent to the Beurspassage is this ice cream shop with very unusual ice cream. The only flavor is vanilla, and it is mixed with actual whipped cream, which makes it very light, fluffy, and delicious. We both agreed we wouldn’t want it every day, but it was a treat on a hot day. The cone was equally good – crispy and tasty, not soggy, not just an afterthought. Together, they made a great treat.
Have to admit – never saw Pride underwear before.
St. Nicholas Church, just across from the train station.
The inside of St. Nicholas is truly magnificent. The caretaker was closing the gates when we passed, and shook his head NO as we pointed. So, wistfully, we asked, “Is it very beautiful inside?” That apparently captured his heart, and he took pity on us. He opened the gate and said, “Two minutes!” That was long enough for about 15 photos, including this beauty.
Many meanings – Nice to Meat, with a cow covered in tulips!
We don’t know why this Mexican steakhouse uses an advertising sign with the Immaculate Heart of Mary (top right). Perhaps the owner is just very religious?
This stunning Main Post Office Building was constructed from 1895-1899. The bottom floor was for public use, while the upper stories were used as offices. It was sold to investors in 1987 for use as a luxury shopping center, and again in 2016. A shot of the interior is in the next photo. As beautiful as it is, it is mostly unoccupied. Much of the world is still suffering the effects of Covid and a general move toward online retail purchases.
The red and gray stripes reminiscent of Moorish architecture are also inside, echoing the exterior. It is a beautiful building to see.
We didn’t know what Sissy-Boy was, so we had to find out. It is in this shopping center, and we found it is home furnishings, with two young women working there. We told them we thought it would be men’s clothing, and had a bit of a discussion as to what “sissy-boy” meant. They were surprised, as there isn’t an equivalent term in Dutch. The workers said the owner was Austrian, but we don’t know of there is something equivalent in German.
We have found this to be true.
The incredible Amsterdam Centraal Train Station. This is a main starting point for visits to Amsterdam.
A sculpture on a supermarket building. The main figure may represent a saint who has the devil’s hand and feet bound. We have seen similar depictions on churches.
You can get anywhere from here!
Houses along a canal, with typical Dutch architecture and…bikes!
A stunning apartment building. Most likely, these were originally used as warehouses, with merchandise moved directly in and out of what were formerly doors, but are now picture windows.
We have never seen such an apology for taking what is probably a well-deserved vacation, but love the Americanism, Gone Fishin’ ! So many people speak fluent English here that there is no telling if it was written by an American transplant or a native Netherlander.
Do you think Charles was thinking this? We suppose so.
Meet Alex and friends. Before we saw him, dressed in white lace, we noticed guys wearing the same orange sunglasses. Spying Alex, we walked over and said one word, “Why??” He said he was getting married, and they made him wear this get-up. Oh, so are you the bride, marrying a groom? NO, he said, I am the groom. “So you just like to cross-dress?” NO – they made me do it. “So when are you getting married?” Mid-November, he said. Oh, so you just want to dress like this for two whole months! All his friends were laughing, and Alex was a good sport. We enjoyed our time with them – a happy memory of Amsterdam.

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