Love in the City of Amsterdam...

I AMsterdam
Well well, look what I finally posted... my travel accounts of Amsterdam! Lol... Sorry for the enormous delay since my last Amsterdam post where I made a little attempt of giving a gist about Amsterdam, you know how busy I've been for the past 1 month with all the DIYs and PhD and the Xmas and the New Year? Now, I must admit I especially took my time since I didn't quite know how to tell you how much I've learned and loved this trip. I was there for three whole days and there was so much to see, and still a lot left to do. I could write all about my stay from start to finish, sunrise to sunset, but of course I will spare you the horror and not rant too much. Well, it is quite difficult to put in a few words how amazing Amsterdam is but I have tried my best and selected only the most favourite parts of my trip here in this post. There will be a few more posts following shortly in the next few days to come that would elaborate in details certain specific topics. But until then, here are my account of Amsterdam to you…

The places I visited!
Let's start with where to go:

Van Gogh Museum


First and foremost, my biggest most important attraction for this lovely city was the one and only Van Gogh Museum. Situated at the south side of the main city is the most coveted places of the Country that exhibits the wonders created my favourite artist of all time (right after my mom), Van Gogh. Naturally, the first thing I did the very first day was visit the Museum. It was truly magnificent and a chance of a lifetime to actually go and see all his creations in person. I was thrilled and bewildered like a wide-eyed child in a all-you-can-eat candy shop! There were all the paintings I had always wanted to see like the legendary painting of "Almond blossoms", "The Sunflowers", "The Potato Eaters", and the many many beautiful sceneries. However, there was no "Starry Night" and "The Chair". Unfortunately no photography was allowed inside except at a very few places. I didn't get to take pictures with the real masterpieces but we had plenty of imitation paintings to snap away a selfie with.


Sunflowers

The two imitation paintings of a field

The gift shop had some incredible novelty items that just inspires and inspires and inspires!

Van Gogh Vases

Novelty items in Almond Blossom theme

Amazing pottery… I want! I want! I want!

I was here for like 3 hours and never knew where the time flew!

Located very closely are three other great Museums namely the Rijksmuseum, the Stedelijk Museum and the Diamond Museum! Like I mentioned, I was here for three days but I had to choose among SOOOOOO many things to do and places to visit, I narrowed it down to about 7-8 activities in total. This time I have left the two major museums, the Rijks and the Stedelijk for my next visit. But I certainly did a little trip to the Diamond Museum, as you know what they say… "Diamonds are girls' best friends ;)!"

Coster Diamond Museum

 
Diamond Museum
Jewellers working on cutting the diamonds
Diamond prototypes
Diamond cutting tool
English crown
Real diamond crown
Perfume bottles
The diamond museum was small but quite informative. It tells all about how diamonds are formed, how they surface on the earth's crust, how people came about using them. India was the first to use these gems as jewellery and we were the first to master the skills of diamond cutting. There was a very long timeline on the history of diamonds all the way from about 3000 years ago in India, to its discovery by the western merchants in the18th century to the time when Amsterdam became the major hub of diamond trading in europe, to the present era of diamond mining and advanced techs to prepare them.

Canals


Next, here it was another spectacle to behold! The canals and the breathtaking view canal trip! It was 6PM by the time we booked and got on to the ferry/boat, so considering it was early November it was pretty dark by the time we started the trip, so the whole trip, although not as picturisque as it would have been during the day, it was still quite romantic. An hour long trip down the historic spidery web-like Amsterdam canals with a detailed info on the city by our guide was worth all the time and money... We ended the first day with a delicious oriental meal at the floating restaurant called Sea palace, located on the north of Amsterdam city a few yards from the central station.

Canal side

City of bikes and canals

Grand view
City of bikes
Tulip market Canal
Canal side
Reflections
Canals in to canals
Sea palace

Tulip market


This could easily be the next best place in town for a flower fiend like my mom and me. Tulips here, tulips there, either real or fake, flowers, flowers, flowers... Seriously, this place is soooo full of colours, I LOVE it! The tulip market is also one of the main attractions of Amsterdam where you could shop for fresh flowers, silk or wooden flowers, exotic rare flowers, gardening tools and gnomes.

Wooden clog money boxes and shoe shinners
Fresh flowers
Silk tulips
Wooden tulips
Venus fly trap
Pitcher plant
Little fruits
More wooden tulips
Little pumpkins

Delftware porcelain items 

Okay, I am sure you may have established by now how much I like blue and white porcelain, so when I saw these beautiful delftwares I couldn't believe how cool it was to visit the delftware hand-made stores and museum... Delftware generally denotes the beautiful blue and white pottery and tin-glazed porcelain originated from the city of Delft in Netherlands since 1500s. I wish I could buy them all or at least make them myself... Oh wait, may be I could make them myself... Let's DIY sometime soon ;)

Delft porcelain beads
Delft porcelain
Delft porcelain
Delft porcelain
Christmas decor
Christmas decor - windmill
Christmas tree decoratives

Torture museum


Right, this place was a bit nerve wreking at times and at times quite amusing seeing all the contraptions people came up with to torture, punish or just plain scare the living daylight out of the folks back in the medieval era...To be honest, a lot of the gears and tools that were depicted to be used during the medieval period were all hoaxes and were mostly used to scare the suposed blasphemous culprits and heretics who mostly comprised of nay sayers and people of different religions like jews and muslims who didn't believe in Christ. One such example of the most famous torturing device is the infamous Iron Maiden:

The Iron Maiden
The Iron Maiden
No, there is no solid proof or record to support that iron maiden  was ever used in the past. Also, the original iron maiden was a female shaped casket WITHOUT any spikes on the inside... The spikes were added much later by certain people for amusement of their dark imaginations, so that the mere sight of it would send shivers down the culprit's spine.

Most of the prisoners punished were accused on being from different religion hence, heretics, a lot of them were punished becasue they spoke against the king or the church, majority of the women punished were accused of withcraft and speaking blasphemously. The punishments were gruesome indeed but there were also several horrifying contraptions that were infact made to only scare rather than used for actual punishment. In all the Torture museum was quite an interesting place to see and  wonder how cruel and horrifying the history could be and how imaginative the ancestors were with their punishments.

The shaming mask
The spiky seat

Dam Square


Several yards to the north from the Torture museum is the town square called The Dam, the council hall of the city. It is quite beautiful and majestic, and is right next to the Amsterdam Madame Tussauds' wax museum. It's quite a historic place and a major landmark of the city. Opposite to the Dam is the erected memorial to the dead. To its left is the Madame Tussauds' museum and to its right (and behind) is the Cathedral. Well, if you aren't keen on visiting the hall or the museum itself then it is just a jolly place to hang out and relax I'd say.

The Dam
The Dam dome
Memorial to the dead

The Dam
Lamp post by the cathedral behind the Dam
The Dam from behind


Body World


http://bodyworlds.nl/en/
The dancers*

 *Well, photography was not allowed inside so you'll have to do with this one picture I took from the internet...

So, I heard about this "wonderland" a long time ago when I was 15-16 years old and ever since I have been so interested to go to one of their exhibitions that no way could I miss my chance to visit the Body World at Amsterdam. It's a museum sort of place where they exhibit actual preserved human bodies disected, sliced, and/or skinned to show the full anatomy individually or as a whole, like how it would be inside a normal body. Well initially I was worried how these bodies were preserved but then I read in the exhibition that they are all transformed into models by a tehnique called plastination where they are literally almost turned to plastic models. The exhibition generally shows how a human body moves, how the muscles contract or relax with actions such as riding a horse, while playing football, while dancing or just making love. Read all about it in wiki here. They also display each and every internal organs both healthy and diseased to show the various effects of smoking (Eesh! I will never ever touch cigarettes... This just makes me more adament!!!). The effects of brain diceases, tumours and cancers... Such an amazing place especially for medical students and GCSE biology enthusiasts.


Red light District 

 

The museum of the oldest profession
Red light district was quite an interesting place to walk through. Well, since I was alone I couldn't quite risk to go during or after sun down, when the district actually comes to life. I just wanted to see it on my own how it was, you know, out of curiosity. I would say, it's quite an environment. There are MANY sex shops you can pop in, the Red Light Secrets museum to learn all about the oldest profession and if you are in to it, go into one of the parlours. I just stuck to walking down the lanes by the canal. It was at times unsettling, and at times quite hilarious... well, it cannot be explained in words... RLD is like I said an interesting place to see to watch and know a lot about people, not the sex workers but the people who come and visit these shops... Well, not sure I will be visiting it again but yeah, I would definitely suggest a trip down the district :)

Canal by the red light district

Well, that ends the major parts of my touristic adventures. There were other cool stuffs too that I absolutely enjoyed doing like visiting the Amsterdam Dungeon where we relive (in a comical way) the medieval times and experience the brutality of medieval dungeons as our actors/guides take us through the interactive journey into the deep. I am now excited to visit the London Dungeon too and see the recreation of the horrors that was supposedly carried out 1000 years ago!  

And while you are there, do not forget to get some souvenirs for family too like I did...



 Souvenirs



Here are some items I absolutely had to buy (and so should you) as a token to remember this amazing journey. As you can see, I bought, yes you are right, lots of delftwares including the exclusive dutch tulip vase with multi necks, a delft spoon, a pair delft clogs, a set of wooden clog keychains for my friends and my favourite, a book of Van Gogh's arts.


L-R: A set of wooden clog keychains, a pair delft clogs, dutch tulip vase, a book of Van Gogh's arts and a delft spoon.

I also bought this cool souvenir that I spotted at the airport: delicious dutch cheese packed with a cute pair of kissing couple by the famous landmarks of Netherlands - the windmill.

Cheese and windmill
More delft souvenirs for family and friends:

Delftwares
Wooden clog keyrings
Now, I know I have not mentioned cannabis in my post at all, well that is because I didn't get the chance to try them this time. I did try, however, the amazing cheeses and stroopwafels (dutch waffles). Mmmm, stoopwafels and a cup of coffee... Oh! I can eat them ALLLLL DAY! Soooooo yummy! Do remember to try them out!

Stroopwafel and cheese
Well, that ends my accounts of Amsterdam trip. Now looking forward to my Chile trip... and lot more trips to come including different continents ;) Till then,

Altijd liefde...



Love always,

aJBcj