A Travellerspoint blog

Out and About in Amsterdam

Boats, Bikes and Beer!

View Foodie Feast through Coastal Europe on Where2FromHere's travel map.

After two days at sea we were really ready to get off the boat and explore another country. (Besides Beka needs another patch for her collection!) Due to all the hassles we experienced boarding the ship in Barcelona, Royal Caribbean gave us vouchers for a canal tour. So after a nice breakfast in the dining room, we disembarked from the ship, met our guide and climbed about the boat that took us through the canals of Amsterdam. These boats are low and sleek so they can navigate under the many bridges that cross the canals.



Here's a map of the canals of Amsterdam. The "X" marks the spot where the Royal Caribbean ship "Voyager" was docked. Our captain of the canal boat did an awesome job of navigating the bridges, some of which were extremely narrow, and she had to make some interesting maneuvers to turn some sharp corners with such a long boat.




There were house boats lining the edges of the canal everywhere. Some in much need of repair and others that were well maintained, decorated with flower boxes overflowing with tulips and other varieties of flowers.



You'll notice how all of the houses are very narrow. That's because they pay taxes based on the footage on the street.The wider houses of the wealthy are easily multi-million dollar houses. You can also see the beam that extends from the upper floor of the houses. Because they are so narrow, it would be difficult to carry large items up the narrow stairway so the beam is used to hoist items up from the outside. We also passed what are known as the "Dancing Houses" (upper right). Because Amsterdam is built on pilings, sometimes with age they begin to fail and the houses start to tilt. It costs a lot to fix the problem, so I guess they just hope the neighboring house will help to hold the structure upright.



We also floated past some very modern buildings - the green one was shaped like the bow of a boat, the white building is fondly called "the chair" and we also passed this replica of an old Dutch vessel.




Rabeka got her patch from the Netherlands after we left the canal boat. Then we were off to enjoy a quick bite to eat before heading to our next destination - The Heineken Experience! I bet you didn't know that Mrs. Heineken is the wealthiest woman in the world. We toured the original factory where this beer industry giant began to brew their product.



The original bottle did not have the red star on it that you see today. It was added to the label after Heineken earned the award at the Paris world fair. The tour itself was an interactive experience. At one point we were like the beer bottle going through the manufacturing process of being filled and capped off during the thrill ride. It ended with our chance to drink a couple of Heineken's best. My favorite was the newly launched



One thing we will always remember about our day in Amsterdam is the incredible number of bicyclists. They have a lane right next to the sidewalk reserved for bikes so you really need to look carefully before crossing the street - not so much for the cars but for the bicycles. Eric says "No wonder you don't see very many fat people in the Netherlands. Everybody is getting a lot of exercise." Our tour guide said they're the happiest people in the world. Maybe so.



Posted by Where2FromHere 16:57 Archived in Netherlands Tagged bridges canals amsterdam heineken bicycles

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Be the first to comment on this entry.

Comment with:

Comments left using a name and email address are moderated by the blog owner before showing.

Not published. Required
Leave this field empty

Characters remaining: