Exploring Amsterdam

August 15, 2016

By Tab Byrum

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On Sunday, July 31st our traveling companions, the Potts family, returned home to Oklahoma and Michael and I moved on to the Dutch capital city of Amsterdam. I’ve always wanted to go to Amsterdam, when I was a little boy that was the only foreign city that I knew anyone had visited. My dad was stationed in Germany in the 1950’s and he and his buddies traveled to Amsterdam on their leaves, he had told me about visiting the canal city and we had pictures he had taken. Amsterdam is a beautiful city, it definitely feels smaller than London and everything is very compact and for that reason, all the buildings, new and old, go UP. City Central is wonderful and of course,  you can wander up and down the streets along the canals for hours, literally losing yourself in the architecture and flowers. Today many of the beautiful old buildings along the canals are homes to businesses and not people, it’s gotten to be so expensive to own and keep up these amazing old houses. There are cruises you can take along the canals and explore the city and they point out all the sites along the way. We had wonderful food throughout the city, Michael tried several different kinds of beer and I experimented with Rosé wines. Of course, pastries are plentiful and a day didn’t go by that we didn’t have some kind of good Dutch candy or chocolate. All this week I’ll share our adventures in Amsterdam with you and the day trips we took to other cities and the surrounding countryside. To kick things off here’s a look at Amsterdam through our camera lens, Enjoy!!!

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The streets are very narrow in Amsterdam, as they are in many European cities. I love in this picture how you can see the buildings leaning to the side and forward. We were told this happens many times because the pilings the buildings were originally built have since rotted away and the buildings have “settled in” in this way. 

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As you can see the buildings all go up, space is at a premium, especially in the center of the city. For the most part, the buildings have stayed the same, except you can see that many of them have had new windows installed.

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I took this picture just because I love this house, I love its shape, its color and everything about it. If you look just to the right of the tower you can see a yellow and white striped awning folded out over the window, then if you look at all the other windows you can see they also have awnings folded up against the house, ready to be dropped if needed. After we saw this I began to notice awnings on lots of homes and businesses.

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On the morning we headed to the Rijksmuseum we saw this little guy pulling his boat at full speed through the reflecting pool in front of the museum, he was having a ball. 

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This allee of trees was not far from our hotel and was actually where the tram dropped us off, you can see that some leaves have started falling in Amsterdam. The temp most days was in the low 70’s and some days it didn’t get out of the 60’s and was lightly misting. HEAVEN!!!

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Amsterdam has a major bicycle oriented culture, a Dutch friend of mine had told me this but I had no idea until I saw for myself. The people ride bikes of all ages, types, and colors, this old bike was just waiting for its owner to return and move on. We saw people riding to work every morning wearing suits and ties, dresses and skirts and there are special bicycle lanes that the cars stay out of as well as pedestrians. 

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There are also a lot of houseboats on the canals of Amsterdam and many of them are for rent, I would love to rent one sometime on a visit. It’s very expensive to live on a houseboat, though, you still have property taxes as well as the cost of hooking up to sewer and power.

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Sophia Loren was everywhere!!!! There are so many awesome little restaurants and bistros scattered throughout the city, we ate in an Argentinian Steakhouse, a Thai restaurant, an Indonesian restaurant as well as wonderful pubs and bars. 

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The way food is displayed in shop windows in Europe is amazing, you walk along and see a wonderful display in a fish shop, then a bakery, then a butcher shop, and of course the pastries all look amazing. 

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This was a window display in the Red Light District, we had to check it out. 

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Another amazing houseboat on the Amsterdam Canals. This home was huge and the outside had been completely redone to give it a very contemporary feel. 

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Some of our companions on the canal cruise we took. 

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I love how the homes and buildings have all the different toppers, one thing they all have is beam sticking out the front of the house at the highest point. A pulley is attached to this beam so that furniture and other large things can be hoisted up the outside of the house and brought in windows, the stairways in the buildings are too small to carry large pieces up and down. 

Check back all week for more pictures and stories from our Dutch adventure, tomorrow I’ll take you in the Rijksmuseum and show you the amazing art and treasures within its walls. Have a great Monday!!!

All words and images
are my own.

By on .


  • Sharon Cullison

    Now I have to go to Amsterdam Why Sophia?

    • Tab Byrum

      It’s a gorgeous and very fun city. I’m not sure why Sophia Loren, but I saw several pictures of her in shop windows and photos from her movies hanging in restaurants and shops. Guess she’s just very popular in Amsterdam.

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