Today I am going to take you on a photographic tour of Amsterdam as seen through the window of a canal boat (and on a mostly sunny day no less!). If you’re not familiar, the canals in Amsterdam (the Netherlands’ capital and largest city) were man-made, mostly during the 1600′s, and take up about 25% of the city’s space. Many of the wobbly-looking houses with interesting shapes you’ll see on the tour also date back that far. (We’ll also pass some of the even-more-wobbly 2,500 houseboats docked along the canals.) To me, a boat tour is the most picturesque (and lazy) way to see this incredible city.
But before we begin our tour, a little housekeeping…. As you may recall, I had said we were going to travel to 3 countries; as you also may recall, I broke my little toe a few weeks ago. It was originally our intention to go to Paris, Amsterdam and Brugge (it was also originally our intention to do this as a 2 week trip in December, but Italian immigration bureaucracy got in the way). After arriving at our hotel in Paris (with me hobbling still) at about midnight on the first day of our trip, it was obvious we had too much planned for such a short trip during which I couldn’t do much walking. While giving up the fabulous chocolate in Brugge was a tough call, both Paris and Amsterdam have much more to offer in the way of sights and food. And, as an added bonus, they both have hop-on, hop-off boat bus services that let you see the city and major sites from the comfort of a boat, with little walking required. So, I did some quick re-arranging, and with only minor financial consequences was able to alter the trip to stay in Paris and Amsterdam the entire time. Okay, whew, now that the explaining’s out of the way, on to the tour…
Canal Bus has three different lines traveling throughout various canals and you can get on any of them whenever you want for the duration of your pass. Between the three lines you can see most all of the main canals and disembark near most of the major sites (Van Gogh museum, Ann Frank House, and more). We took a long boat ride on our last day, happy to be in a well-heated boat (it had been about a high of 30 degrees the entire time in Amsterdam) and relieved to be off my toe for a day. We were actually the only passengers on the boat at the end of the day (the Captain called it our “private tour”), so we got to listen to music instead of hearing the pre-recorded tour tape for the third time that day! Without further ado, here is what Amsterdam looks like from the vantage of a canal boat:
Thanks for coming along on the tour! Stay tuned for upcoming posts about Dutch and French food, culture and art, as well as reflections on Italy….