Sunday, 28 June 2015

The Old South - Amsterdam

A visit to the Old South, the Museum area in Amsterdam, is always a must.


Over the years we have worked out various ways of getting to that area of the city - all very interesting, and involving lots of canal admiring



Cleaning out the canals is serious business and we are always amazed at the number of bicycles that get dredged up

A quick stop at Rembrandtplein square, to say hello to the Nightwatch (you can see more about this here ).

Some of these canal houses are so meticulously neat and pretty


looking closer


The second boat on the left is a house - still in the process of being completed

The American Hotel, an Art Deco landmark in Leidseplein

fountain at the front

beautifully preserved building

with a gorgeous tower.

Then a walk through some of Vondelpark

Amsterdam's biggest park

and one that is used extensively

be it on foot, bicycle, rollerblades, or just for lying around in the sunshine

The beautifully restored Rijksmuseum. We did not visit this time, but you can see highlights of our visit last year here ,  here , here , and here

We walked through the 'tunnel' of the Rijksmuseum and reached Museumplein


and noticed that the pond is dominated by a new 'sculpture'

I can think of no other city that could carry kitsch with such aplomb

The fountain outside the Van Gogh shop

and another new addition: Bunny Parade



Museumplein is vast with the Rijksmuseum at one end and the Concertgebouw (Concert Hall) at the other, with the Van Gogh Museum and the Stedelijk (Museum of Modern Art) in between


Lots of new things here this time,

including these,

which Ken had just to try out.

the Concertgebouw in the distance


and we headed for the Stedelijk to see the Henri Matisse exhibition


After the exhibition we came to sit here, one of our favourite things to do - there is always so much going on here

which this time, included the Bunny Parade.

Friday, 26 June 2015

The Western Canal Ring, Amsterdam

The Western Canal Ring area in Amsterdam in a Unesco World Heritage Site: it's a real treat  wandering about, admiring the architecture or the many quirky shops that are to be found here.


We usually start from Dam Square, walk down Kalverstraat, the main shopping street, turn right, and these two buildings, one Art Nouveau, one Art Deco, are the landmark, the signal that we are about to enter this very special district in Amsterdam. We tend to walk along the Singel, one of the large canals, for a bit, then walk up one of the Negen Straatjes (Nine Streets) looking at the shops until we reach the Prinsengracht, the last canal of the ring, then down another of the Nine Streets, and so on and so forth.

Not sure what this building is, but we presume it must be a bank - very fortified

massive doors


The Negen Straatjes are a real delight - full of quirky little boutiques stocking antiques, vintage fashions, housewares and one-off speciality shops: the toothbrush shop exclusively sells just that

or plastic ducks in the Amsterdam Duck Store.
It's a real pleasure wandering around here - during our last two visits we have noticed signs of gentrification - the big designer brands seem to have started moving in here, and this undoubtedly will change the atmosphere of these streets
Hester Van Eeghen's handbag store has been here for years

but this time we noticed that she has opened a shoe shop as well - shoes with her trademark bright primary colours and inspired designs


everything well looked after


with the Dutch flair for simplicity and elegance 

including the pots of herbs in their paper bags in the window.

The contrast between the intimacy of the narrow quiet little streets

and the openness of the canals, is very pleasing


and when the weather is good every one is out - either on a boat or sitting in cafes

and there is an air of celebration all around.

As usual, the queue outside Anne Frank's House is very long

snaking around the block

We continue walking along the edge of the water 

crossing bridges

admiring the architecture

looking closer at some of the buildings


or even closer

and then it's time to join another of the 9 Streets for more window-shopping.

But the canals is what we like best