Amsterdam, The Netherlands
This will be my last entry from Amsterdam as I'm off to Rome for the next week. Here are a few photos taken earlier today.
If you'd like to see more of my photos from Amsterdam, they're here.
I just learned Toronto is Amsterdam's twin city. I had no idea...
There's little in Amsterdam to commemorate this bond, but I did walk across the Torontobrug earlier today. The Torontobrug (Bridge No. 350) is a link across the Amstel river between Amsteldijk and Weesperzijde. It has this plaque that references David Crombie, our mayor in 1974.
Fun fact: Toronto has a bridge called the Amsterdam Bridge with a similar plaque. The Amsterdam Bridge is a cable footbridge that crosses over the Simcoe Street Slip from York Quay to Rees Street Slip.
I love walking big European cities. The architecture is always beautiful and there's never a shortage of things to see and do. Drop me down in Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam or Dublin and let me walk!
There is one negative thing about walking big European cities. It's often very difficult to find a free public washroom. The picture I took below is an example of a public washroom in Amsterdam. They wanted a Euro to enter.
In Toronto, we take free public washrooms for granted. Paid toilets are everywhere in Europe and they're shitty...
Visiting Amsterdam for the third time in 15 months, it's all so familiar. I took a stroll to the Anne Frank House today and this red and green canal boat was directly across the canal.
On my last day in Amsterdam before heading for Dublin, I visited the Heineken Experience. My thinking was that I could enjoy the Heineken Experience one day before visiting the Guinness Storehouse and effectively compare the two.
This brewery started brewing Heineken back in 1867 and was recently renovated to this museum tour with plenty of information about how they make their beer and the history of the company, as well as a pretty cool ride where you become the beer.
Following that ride, there's a tasting where you score your first glass of Heineken and at the end there's two more larger glasses waiting for you in a beer drenched pseudo club. I must admit, that's one tasty beer, and the entire experience was a lot of fun.
I'll write about the Guiness Storehouse next and tell you there which tour I preferred.
Bicycling is a key part of Dutch culture and the intersection design on Amsterdam streets reflects this progression. As a Torontonian who loves to bike our streets, I'm completely envious.
Here's a pic I snapped of a typical intersection in The Netherlands.
Instead of trying to explain how it works, I found this fantastic video that explains all much better than I ever could. Watch this:
Makes sense, doesn't it? Is there any chance Toronto would implement something like this? Lest we forget what our mayor once said.
I can't support bike lanes. Roads are built for buses, cars, and trucks. My heart bleeds when someone gets killed, but it's their own fault at the end of the day.
I know I've been boring you lately with entries about my stay in Amsterdam, but here's one more for the road. These are photos I've taken this past week but haven't yet posted.
It's been a fantastic visit, and I can't wait to return next month, but I do miss Toronto.
If you want to see all my Amsterdam pics on Flickr, click here.
Tell someone you're going to Amsterdam and they inevitably bring up two things: weed and the Red Light District. I paid a couple of visits to the Red Light District, not to participate but just to see what it was all about.
One of the main streets was under construction, but I think I got the gyst.
Establishments galore promised "live fucking" and assorted pornographic and prostitution offerings, and when you walk the narrow alleys connecting the main streets, women in windows with red curtains are openly advertising their wares and attempting to make you an offer you can't refuse. I refused, continuing my life-long streak of never having paid for it.
Here are a few pics I took. All in all, the Red Light District is rather underwhelming, but you can't visit Amsterdam without checking it out.
I've made a few trips to Vondelpark in Amsterdam, a beautiful public park in the west end. As one who has spent a lot of time in Toronto's High Park, I naturally compare the Vondelpark to High Park, and they're quite similar in appearance and vibe.
One thing Vondelpark has that High Park doesn't is totally exposed urinals for men. They're throughout the park, and people use them. That's something you don't see in Toronto.
The Vondelpark also has better water fountains. These fountains are clean and high enough that people fill their water bottles up with them. I'd love to see these in High Park.
Another difference between the Vondelpark and High Park is that people openly drink beer and smoke weed in Vondelpark without fear of harassment from police. It's a total 'live and let live' philosophy.
Here are some more shots I took of Vondelpark in Amsterdam on this sunny 22° day. The last two pics were taken earlier in the week.
This morning, I decided to have a bowl of Special K. No, that's not a street name for hash here in Amsterdam, that's the cereal from Kellogg's I often enjoy in Toronto.
It seems Amsterdam's Special K isn't the same as the Special K we have in
North America Canada.
For the record, I prefer our Special K.
1 2 Next
Want more Toronto Mike blog entries? Visit the archives.