A short 30 minute drive, north of Utrecht, we find ourselves in the hustle and bustle of the city of Amsterdam.
Bruce’s home for the next five days is only a 15 minute, free, crowded ferry trip across the river from Centraal Station, in the NDSM WERF (wharf) area. The area is the former home of the NDSM shipbuilding company. Lonely Planet now describes the area as having a post apocalyptic vibe ?!?! There are about 100 motorhomes in this E25 per night “camping” spot – really it is a large, secure car park with electricity, water and dump facilities.
We decide pretty quickly to roam the city on foot after witnessing the hectic traffic crowded with bikes, tourists (often also on bikes), trams & cars. You have to be on the lookout at every turn!
I AM STERDAM – powerful slogan for the tourist industry.
Passing the red light district (quickly) and the Coffeeshops (legally selling and smoking of pot), we jump on a passing cruise boat for a relaxing canal tour of medieval Amsterdam.
A common theme in Amsterdam is the tilt on the buildings. As a building owner was taxed based on the width of his building, they built UP. After the fires of 1421 and 1452, they were required to be brick. The problem came when you built a heavy brick building on a mud base. Wooden piles were driven into the mud. Over time, some piles rotted, some settled more, etc. – some buildings began to lean. Doors and floors were adjusted so they were level and operated, and sometimes the building leaned on the one next-door to stay upright.
We follow the sound of music to one of the shopping squares to find this popular dutch boy band serenading to the shoppers below. They are in the window on the first floor. Their music sounded good – the girls in the crowd were impressed. (From WIKI MainStreet is a Dutch boy band. The group consists of Nils Käller, Daan Zwierink, Owen Playfair and Rein van Duivenboden. The group gained fame by participating in the Junior Songfestival 2012 and quickly became popular in the Netherlands. Their fans are called Maniacs. http://mainstreetmusic.nl/)