Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Sunday in Amsterdam

Yesterday, I was all day long in Amsterdam. Last year, I bought a card, the Museumskaart, which gives you free access to almost all the museums in the country. However, I am not very fond of museums and I did not go that often. Therefore, I tried to compensate for all these months of not visiting museums in the Netherlands, and I went to Amsterdam to visit as many places as possible.

The first I did once I arrived at the central station, I checked the front gate. Some weeks ago, I read in Kirai.com that Tokyo Station had been designed taking Amsterdam Station as a model. Actually, now I am pretty sure that is the case! Have a look! The first one is the one in Amsterdam, the second one is Tokyo Eki.

Afterwards, I headed towards NEMO, the science museum. When I arrived there, I found out I could not use my card there... so I decided to move to Sloterdijk Museum, a modern art museum nearby. I really enjoyed this visit! I think I quite like modern art. This photo shows the interesting building in which NEMO is.

And this is the view from the 11th floor of the builing housing Sloterdijk Museum.

Then, I went South, getting lost in the Red Light District. I wanted to see the Oude Kerk (old church), which was nice according to my guidebook. When I found it, it was closed. So, I checked a close place where I could go. By chance, I read in my book that there was one of the more enjoyable places in Amsterdam just a few blocks away. This place was a secret catholic church. When the prostestants defeated the catholic around the 17th century, catholics could not have churches any more. However, Dutch authorities were quite lax and they allowed catholic gatherings in churches provided nobody could tell it was a church from outside. Then, these people decided to join the penthouses of three house and they created a church there. This place is quite unique. You go into a normal Dutch house, start climbing the stairs (in Dutch houses it is literally climbing...) and in the 3rd floor, surprise! a church... I was quite taken aback... This is what it looks like.

Then, I went to the Oude Kerk and checked it out. In my opinion just another church... it was quite messy though... it had been made bigger little by little and it looks quite heterogenous now. This is the organ, quite beautiful...

After that, I came back to the city and went through one of the biggest contrasts Amsterdam shows. You go out of the church and you are in the middle of the Red Light District, with prostitutes and sex shops everywhere. Sometimes, Dutchies keep on surprising me! This is a country full of contrasts and sometimes, grotesque stuff...

I made for a place with less junkies and ended up in Dam Square. Here, a photo of the Obelisque and the Royal Palace, together with the Nieuw Kerk (New Church) on the right.

Then I continued walking along the streets full of shops parallel to the Amstel canal and checked some book stores. I ended up in Rembrandtsplein, so I decided to visit Rembrandt's house. I was surprised when I found out it is not in that square but a bit further away on the other side of the canal, near the Portuguese Synagogue. I visited the house and it was cool. I was happy I had visited it for free! There are no photos though, not allowed. Then I just came back walking to the Centraal Station and back to Leiden by train.

This photo is from the nice clock tower next to the Flower's Market.

At the end, I could visit 5 museums/places, saving around 30 euros. Maybe I will do the same next weekend!

No comments: