Amsterdam – Bridges, Canals, and Windmills

I finally had a great night sleep on the luxurious bed in the InterContinental Amstel Amsterdam Hotel! Isn’t our room beautiful?

The bathroom is huge, it was like the same size of the room we stayed in the previous night in Lisse!

The shape of this toilet is very odd LOL!

Early in the morning, we took the metro to explore the famous canals of Amsterdam. I did some homework beforehand for the perfect photo spots of the canals: Herengracht, Prinsensgracht and Keizersgracht. We were too early as the sun hasn’t risen high enough to light up the houses on the both sides of the rivers! But the advantage was, hardly any tourist there 🙂 The city of bicycles!

Those houses, those windows, those roofs are so cute, I wonder if they have miniatures of those so I can collect all of them!!!

it was cold in the morning so I bundled up 🙂 Thank goodness that it was blue sky and not cloudy like the day before!

Guess what is the purpose of those sticking out on top of the windows?

For lifting up big furniture into the house via the windows and we confirmed that when we saw someone moving haha!

Probably the only time and bridge that has only one bike?

The canal cruise already started operating in this early morning, we’ll take it later in the day as it’s included in our Holland Pass silver ticket.

Another tour boat passing through under the bridge:

They just barely fit!

We walked toward the Flower Market (Bloemenmarkt):

Bloemenmarkt, woahhhhh:

Cool bike?

I thought the flower market only selling tulips but I realized this is the best place for souvenirs…..seriously you can just go to the flower market and get all the souvenirs you need at low prices!!!

Those dried flowers are not for sale!

The miniature houses……magnets!!! OMG OMG OMG, it was so hard for me to decide which ones…I bought this whole “purple” set!

Then, I saw more cute magnets….I gathered another set:

And OMG…..this totally put me into test…my selective disorder yikes!!!!!!

Finally, I selected this “colorful” set…..yay I am taking Amsterdam back home 🙂

Those see-through “floating” houses are the flower markets:

Time to move on…..we walk to the nearest metro station according to Google Map….

We paid more attentions to the house structure and wondered if we bought this house and that house LOL!

We took the metro to the Amsterdam Central Station and then bus 391 to Zaanse Schan to see the famous windmills. When we arrive, the clouds started to roll in 😦

We went into the cafe of the museum and in order to use the restrooms, we bought pies as our breakfast. I was a little shock that it was tasty and not too expensive and the best of all…the view! When we were having our breakfast, it started to rain so it was perfect timing to be indoor!

We finished having our breakfast, used the restrooms, and sat a little bit to wait for the rain to pass and hoping the sky will clear out but not. The clouds were moving so fast that day so we had some “blue sky” photos while others were cloudy.

Time to explore this historical site!

It was already filled with tourists but wasn’t too bad! Our tactic was to walk all the way to the end and then decide which one should we go in to see as each one has its own admission fee (like €3).

We didn’t walk down to the very last windmill as it was under repair so we turned back….we picked this one:

Those stairs were very steep, oh my, will be scary on the walk back down!

We were amazed by those wooden gears and how fast they moved…all powered by wind!

View from the top of the windmill:

Those flopping blades were much larger than I thought!

It was so windy too well make sense that they chose this location for the windmills!

Hum real cheese or fake one for display?

The small version of the music box 😀

We walked back to the bus station to catch the bus back to Amsterdam….

Next stop…..Rijksmuseum to get a photo with the “I amsterdam” sign but look….woah like a zoo!

It was impossible to get a photo by myself…perhaps come early in the morning!

We are not museum people but there’s a little story between me and Van Gogh’s painting so since we were there…we should go in and check it out! The story is when I was in 4th grade, one day in the art class and the art teacher said just paint whatever you want. There was a poster hanging on the wall, the poster has two sides, one side was the photo of the famous Van Gogh’s Sunflowers and the other side was purple flowers in a vase which I have no idea what is that painting called. All my classmates were imitating the Sunflowers painting except me who painted the purple flowers in a vase. My painting ended up receiving some award which I had no idea what it is since my English was not that great (it was my 2nd year in the United States). To date, I still don’t know the name of the painting that I imitated so hoping I could find out in Van Gogh Museum!

I thought with the Holland Pass, I could skip the ticket line but I was wrong…when we were in this long queue that barely moves (they limited the number of people in so they have to wait before letting some people in at a time), I started to regret the decision 😦 I should’ve gone back to the tulip fields to do the bike path again to retake the photos with the semi blue sky 😦 We waited and waited, wasted over 2 hours in this queue, it was unbelievable! I recommend if you can visit during one of the days that it closes late a night so fewer visitors and not wasting previous daylight hours waiting! We finally got our entrance ticket and then another line to enter…it was much shorter line but still need to wait!

Jason need to check in his backup at the front desk and no photos inside except for destinated areas sigh…..here’s one of the area that allows photo taken:

One thing that made the wait worthwhile was I found the painting….yay finally…it’s called “Vase with Irises Against a Yellow Background”!!! We spent around an hour inside the museum browsing through each floor and found the painting 🙂 See told ya, we are not museum people!

When we got out, it was already 5 pm……no way we can make it back to the tulip fields as the bike rental closes at 6 pm. No tulips but the cherry blossoms…

We took the tram back to the Central Station for the “Lovers’ Cruise”, photos of pretty architectures along our ride:

The beautiful Amsterdam Central Station:

We walked down to the cruise counters and redeemed the tickets with our Holland Pass silver ticket. I chose the semi-open cruise so it’s easier for photos. We were just in time for the last cruise, so lucky! Took some photos on our way to the departure point which is that white house on my left of the photo:

There was like 6-8 passengers total on our cruise which was perfect that no one was blocking our views! It was cold in a semi open boat, the wind yikes but totally worth it for the photos:

The cruise made a loop, start with the  Chinese “floating” restaurant, that place is expensive I checked the menu online:

NEMO Science Museum:

Into the residential canals:

On a clear day and when the angle aligned, you can see 7 bridges….can you see? Our guide did a great job explaining the history and fun facts about Amsterdam in addition to the audio guide on the cruise!

The views from the boat were different than we were up on the bridge; a much straight front look of those tall and narrow houses!

It was really cold without the sun and the killing wind!

Our guide told us that those boat houses are expensive too; more than 6 figures as the city limited the number of licenses.

On a yearly basis, thousands of bicycles ran over into the canals, mostly when people were drunk, lol no drunk driving? There are people who operate a special ship to collect those bikes in the water, fix/clean them up and resell them haha good business with low operating cost!

Those window doors are quite special!

The gate that controls the water level of the canals!

In 45 minute or so, we are back at where we started!

Our canal cruise guide told us the most narrow and smallest house in Amsterdam is this one…can you spot it?

The story was when the hotel buying the houses/lands to build this Victoria Hotel, the owner of this house refused to sell because he was greedy and wanted more money. He was thinking that if he just hold-on to be the last one to sell, he could demand more money. However, the hotel owner ended up building the hotel around his house so he got $0 and he was so upset that he suicide by jumping off his house!!! Yikes!!! Life sometimes don’t be too greedy otherwise will end up with nothing!

After the cruise, Jason wanted to check out the souvenir store again to see if they have the vase in the color he wants. We walked toward that and on our way there was a line in front of this tiny store…..voted No. 1 Holland fries! It was so crazy but we didn’t have the mood for fries so we didn’t check it out.

Pot is legal in Amsterdam and they even have stores selling seeds…woah didn’t know they have so much varieties!

The red light district in day time….those red windows 😉

For dinner, hum…what did we had for lunch that day? I totally forgot sorry! For dinner, we found Sichuan Kitchen, it was hidden in back street but the interior decors were pretty! This place was crowded so can’t be wrong right?

We ordered egg plants, special Sichuan duck, and once again “water boil fish”. We wished we came here the night before so we could try out more dishes!

All the dishes we had in Boston before except for the duck but they made them so much better in Amsterdam! We never had that duck dish before and it was my favorite, it was a surprise find!

The filling dinner only cost €58 including tips for those three large dishes!

After dinner, it started to drizzle again and we ran to the nearest metro station to take the train back to the hotel. The hotel at night, the white marble but turned yellow by the chandeliers but nevertheless very grand!

Goodbye Netherlands, thanks for the tulips and those magnets! Next, we had our first step into Africa – Morocco! Stay tuned!

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