Posted by: rkrueger1 | June 7, 2010

Amsterdam

Amsterdam is the capital and largest city of the Netherlands. The name comes from Amstellerdam, from its origins meaning “a dam in the river Amstel”. The city’s canal system was not created by fault. The three inner canals were built for residential purposes, while the fourth outer canal was used for military defense purposes and water control. Amsterdam’s architectural history and cultural trends contribute to its successful tourism-driven economy.

Each country I travel to provides different cultural systems. Amsterdam is one of the largest bicycle-cultures of the world and is also the city’s main form of transportation . Bicycles have the priority over pedestrians and vehicles. I had a few near misses from motorized scooters. They don’t stop for anybody. The tram and metro systems are very similar to those of Prague. I used these modes of transportation to maneuver throughout the city.

My visit consisted of countless hours of walking, which led me to the famous Rijksmuseum, Vondel Park, the red light district and various other locations.

Rijksmuseum

The Rijksmusem, meaning “National Museum” in Dutch, has a rich collection of painting from the dutch golden age. Some famous artists include Rembrant, Frans Hals, and Jan Steen. Rembrant’s renowned painting “Night Watch” was quite a thrill to view. This painting, created in 1642, depicted the company on the move. Night Watch was the most viewed painting at the museum.

Vondelpark

Vondelpark is one of the largest tourist spots in Amsterdam. Thousands of people gather everyday to eat, drink, and sleep outside in the grass fields. The park had a very relaxed atmosphere.

Red Light District

De Wallen, the most well known redlight district in Amsterdam, is a major tourist attraction. Known to have everything that involves sex, this area was entertaining, although I did not participate in the “activities”. Along with the redlight district, the coffee shops are a popular attraction. With over 250 throughout the city, the general vibe of the city was relaxed. Controlled use does not seem to cause any issues.

As stated in previous posts, learning is the key goal from traveling. What I have taken away from my visit to Amsterdam comes from my observations. I watched other travelers exploring the city while reflecting upon myself. Most of the tourists were much older than I. “Why?” is the question I ask myself. Why does most work their entire life, then eventually, if ever, hope to travel the world. Both can be accomplished at the same time.

I took notice of one couple I saw slowly walking through the streets,  65 years of age approximately. I overheard them speaking to each other of how beautiful Amsterdam is. I assumed it was their first time visiting. “Wow, I missed all of this,” would be the thoughts I’d have at that age. The couple cannot experience all that the city offers. Life is too short to ignore the endless possibilities that are available.

I will not restrict myself… Opportunities are waiting to be found. It won’t be found behind a desk. Those who seek will find.

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