Sunday, April 26, 2015

Amster...dam! Part I

The trip to Europe was a great a way for me to preview places I've never been before that perhaps I'd like to visit again on my own someday, and our first stop, Amsterdam, was definitely one of them. This particular destination is legendary, but not for its churches, monuments, museums, or even its famous canals.  No, it's the legalized marijuana and the notorious Red Light district that brings many people to this progressive European city...but that's a decidedly adult reason to visit Amsterdam. Since mine was a school trip with 41 tenth graders, there wasn't going to be any of that.  Still, Amsterdam was hella cool and a place I definitely would like to visit again.


As would be with all of the places we visited in Europe, our jaunt into Amsterdam in the Netherlands was fast and furious, and since we arrived from an overnight flight around 10 in the morning, we were off and running straight away.  Rather than recap the action of the two days we spent in and around the city, I'd like to share some observations I made of this cool place...

Amsterdam, the City and the Sights, Part 1

Immediately upon arriving in Amsterdam, you know you are in Europe.  With trolley cars speeding down the center of the streets, people on bikes everywhere, the shops, the bakeries and other tempting eateries, and of course the architecture, you just know you're not in America anymore.  I loved it!

Amsterdam Centraal

The first cool place we saw, which was surely the heart of the city, was the Amsterdam Centraal Train Station.  Built in 1889, this Neo-Renaissance building is as stunning as it is busy.  The main hub of the city serves over a quarter of a million passengers each day and is the final destination for many bus lines and trolleys.  


Up the road a bit from the train station was our first destination and the central location for most of the sights we'd be visiting that first day, the Rijksmuseum, which is the national museum of the Netherlands.  The building houses over 8,000 works of art in a gorgeously architectured structure set amongst a huge reflecting pool (another week or so it would've been full of blooming tulips!) and at the center of several museums and the famous Iamsterdam sign (check out the picture above).  We spent most of the day in this beautiful area and it's surely somewhere I'd like to see again.  

Well I hope you've enjoyed this first little tidbit on my trip to Europe.  Stay tuned for some more on Amsterdam and the rest of the places and things I experienced in the Old Country...  

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