Amsterdam travels part 2

Friday morning we made a slight boo-boo of visiting a photography museum. The mistake wasn’t the museum but mainly the exhibitions they had on that day.

We went to FOAM and paid €20 for us both to go in. For the first exhibition we were warned of violent and graphic images. Good start. There were images from the Congo war, with bodies in the streets of all ages. It was quite depressing. The next exhibition was based on women prostitutes in Iran in the 1970s, the write up was interesting but it didn’t feel right looking at the photographs. We then wandered into a room with images of old buildings on fire – at this point we left, feeling a little disturbed and €20 poorer. Not really my kind of photography.

We then made up for this by going to a lovely cafe called Singel 404 to sample some proper Dutch food, well I did, Alan not so much. 

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I had a broodje with melted brie, smoked chicken, sun-dried tomatoes and avocado. It was amazing, so much flavour and so much of it.

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Alan had nachos, which were also really good and a little different to what we’re used to at home.

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With our bellies full we were ready for our visit to the Van Gogh museum. Again you can’t take photos in here, but it was one of my highlights. Van Gogh has such defining brush strokes that when you look at his paintings you can almost imagine his thought process. I love the blue and cream blossom piece (I’ve forgotten it’s name), so much so we bought our own mini print.

There is a lot to see and walls of information about how he came to be an artist. They don’t mention the cutting off of the ear though which, after his work, is what he is probably most known for.

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We left after a couple of hours and went in search of dinner. I did some googling and found a popular thai restaurant in the Jordaan area. We walked everywhere in Amsterdam mainly as we were strapped for cash but also so we didn’t miss anything. We were always taking snaps along the way. We found it the best way of seeing the city.

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The Thai restaurant was called Kinnaree and the food was heavenly. We had a free appetiser of some description, which tasted amazing.

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We shared a selection of starters and a green prawn curry and chicken with cashew nuts for mains.

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Our final trip of the day I learnt how Alan has the ability to turn his head almost 360 degrees. It’s amazing. He showed me whilst we were walking through the Red Light District.

I wasn’t too shocked by this area as there are naughty shops everywhere in Amsterdam, even the gift shops. They have blue and white china salt and pepper shakers in the shape of willies… Tempted to bring back as a gift but thought better of it.

Again you can’t take photographs around here otherwise your camera may get thrown in a canal by the security. Women pay about €150 a day to stand in the windows, it’s apparently great for business. We also learnt that some of the women are in fact men. It’s a real eye opener, literally for Alan, that it’s got to be seen. As I couldn’t catch any photos of the Red Light District, here’s an image from just one of the many ‘unique’ shop windows.

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There are many others like this, just think 50 Shades of Grey.

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For our final day in Amsterdam we’d booked a three hour city tour, just to make sure we could tick off all the sights. We were taken out of the centre into the more rural areas which was really nice to see. It also included a photo-stop at an old windmill.

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Apparently people could buy these back in the day for only €2.50 on the agreement that tourists could come and take pictures and it would be open to the public for the whole of May to go in and have a snoop.

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The tour was really fascinating, you learn a lot more about the city from a local rather than reading about it in guidebooks.

After the tour we grabbed some lunch and did a bit of shopping. Amsterdam is great for shopping, if I’d known beforehand I would have taken more money with me! I dragged Alan around a few shops before we headed back to the hotel to grab our bags and continue onto the airport.

Amsterdam you were tiring, a little cold, very relaxed but oh so beautiful.

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