From the time we awoke on our final morning on the Lena Maria, we have had weather. Rain, high blustery wind, some downpours to dodge, and rather cold. We feel so fortunate to have had such delightfully sunny days for our bike tour!
We have done a LOT of walking around town and seeing many sights. On each of the past three days we followed along with a Rick Steves audio tour: The Jordaan tour; City Central Tour; Red Light District tour.
Our current hotel is very basic and “cheap” with the shower and bath down the hall, and a very small room. And the steps up to our room is a slight challenge at the end of a full day of walking!
The tour of the Jordaan District took us once again by the Anne Frank house — with the endless waiting line.
Through the many streets as well as the Flower Market, our tour of the city included the Begijhof, a courtyard lined with houses around a church. Since 1346 is has sheltered women. The women who live here are Catholic who are not nuns as they have not taken the vows, but they live their lives dedicated to God. These are private homes where no photos are allowed.
On our third tour (today) we shared the sidewalk with a Heron. It seemed s/he may have been waiting for a regular breakfast or handout from a home where he stood staring at the window and door. S/he was not frightened by our appearance.
Before following our next walking tour we decided to take a canal boat tour. Francien, our bike tour leader had given us half price discount tickets and we took advantage of them. First though, I said it was time for tea and crumpet. We sat at the outdoor table and enjoyed our treats and, of course took advantage of a toilet break as they are few and far between!
THEN we had the tour of the Red Light District — The prostitute dstrict. We were taking our chances here as it has a high number of pickpockets, rowdy drunks, drug pushers and con artists!! Doing this walk early in the day seemed the right choice for us. As Rick Steves says … this district has something to offend everyone. Sex, drugs. And shameless commercialization of it all.
No photos allowed of the number of individual windows where a prostitiute, in her finest bra and panties, was enticing anyone interested to come in. Amsterdam was a port town located near the sea where sailors and business men liked sex and drugs. Sex trade has been a part of this city since the 1200s. In the 1980s the city designated the neighborhood a place where prostitiution was conducted legally. Photos are strictly forbidden of any of the women in the windows, so — one must use their imagination.
More walking tour continued after Red Light, and more of the city.