Friday, November 4, 2011

Amsterdam, More than Sex, Drugs & Rock & Roll ... Part 3

Welcome back to Amsterdam, friends.  I have been having a wonderful time exploring while The Professor keeps doing his professorially thing.  Friday his work comes to an end and hopefully Saturday we can do some biking north of the city.  That is, if the threat of rain stays away!

When we first learned we were going to visit Amsterdam five or six years ago, the only thing we really knew or had heard about were of its coffee shops (where you can buy mild drugs like  marijuana) and the Red Light District (where prostitution is legal).  And like most Americans, we were amazed of this liberal attitude.

But as we have come to know a little bit more of this beautiful old city, it is so much more than that.  Come stroll with me again.


This area is called Museumplein or Museum Square due to the four museums located around the square:  The Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, the Stedelijk Museum and the Diamond Museum. 

 It is a beautiful park-like area and a great place to rest in between museum visits.

This is the central train station.  It is HUGE!  Way too much humanity in one place for me.

Right next to the Central Station is the largest futuristic science center in the Netherlands, housed in a ship like building.  I have yet to visit but hear it is an amazing world of science and technology.

Also next to the Central Station is parking.  Not quite like the parking in the states.  This parking is for bicycles.  How one finds their own is amazing to me!

One remarkable feature that has always amazed me from my very first visit was their public library.  Architecturally, it is gorgeous inside and out.

Many hang out on the front steps or tables available.   They even have a wonderful restaurant (with wine!) on the top floor that provides a great view of the city.

But it is what's inside that I find so remarkable!

It is the largest public library in Europe with over 10 floors, 1200 seats with 600 internet-connected computers.  And 2000 parking spaces for bicycles!  One of which I used while visiting the other day.

: : :

Other Landmarks

Multatuli was a Dutch writer and has been claimed as the most important Dutch writer of all time.

And then there is Westerkerk, one of the oldest churches built for the Protestant service and as such,  the largest church in the Netherlands.  The tower has inspired many Dutch songs and poems.  

And most well known to us is Anne Frank.  A tour of her home is a very moving experience.  I have not included a photo of the exterior since they have remade it in a contemporary encasing to protect the original home, so instead I give you a view of the buildings across the street. 

Chess is played all day long by regulars and visitors in Leidseplein (where we are staying).  Maybe some hope to become the next Max Euwe, a Dutch chess player and the fifth player to become World Chess Champion.  His statue is left of the frame.

Street Scenes

A canal ride is a must while in Amsterdam!

And driving, well I would rather walk or bike and avoid accidents like the one I witnessed above.

And afternoons?  Well, they should be spent like below!
Sipping coffee, or wine, and people watching.

Even cats enjoys people watching!

: : :

Inquiring Minds

Now, on another matter.  Many of you have asked how I got those cool painterly effects.  I used a program called Topaz Simplify which I purchased as a plug-in to Aperture.  Topaz makes a number of products and another one I like using for HDR is Topaz Adjust or Photomatix Pro which I also used on some of the photos as well.  It may not be to everyone's liking, but then, that's what makes life interesting!

The below photo was done with Topaz Simplify.

 Below, is the original. 
Nice, but I prefer some in that painterly mood.  

 Gotta run!
  I have exceeded your attention span surely by now!

Sorry for such a long post today.
But in a day or so, I'll do a wrap of Amsterdam.  Sigh!  So much to share.

Have a great day, friends!
I look forward to catching up with all you when we return.


grammie g said...

Hi renna...most inpressive I enjoyed it so much and so glad to be bad on line to visit with you!!
How different it is to be in another country where everything is done in a way that we are not can't imagine until seen in person..
Just a fantastic overview of the way of life in photo's nice...thanks!!
I to like the Topaz simplicity of the canal ! : }}


Anika said...

You paint such a pretty picture of Amsterdam. Looks like such a nice place to stay. Great shots!

{You're making me want to travel!! ;)}

MadSnapper said...

this is mind boggling just looking at the photos, what an amazing city. that library is mind blowing all by itself. i like the cat, the water taxi, the ship building, they really grabbed me. and the street shots are wild. you did fantastic taking us with you.

Kathryn Dyche said...

What a great tour guide, I feel like I'm there with you. Enjoyed the pics.

Daryl said...

Needless to say but I will, my Cincinnati post was much longer .. and oddly I think the original of the painterly photo was better and you know I love Topaz and that effect ..

Anonymous said...

I like the Topaz processing!!

This is a fabulous collection, thanks for sharing!!

Florida Farm Girl said...

Hi Reena -- I'd swoon if I got inside that library!! Sure wish our country valued libraries as much.

I'd be in my element with books and coffee and/or wine for the afternoon. I'd be happy to join you any old time.

biebkriebels said...

Thank you for the beautiful photo's! I am so glad you see the beauty of Amsterdam (my birth-town)as it is. You picked the right spots, the terraces where the people enjoy, the area Jordaan, the big library, we all are so proud of and even a car against the the tramway. Amsterdam has such a stupid reputation in foreign countries. Most of the people here dont't use drugs, it is a small part of Amsterdam with the prostituts which is always mentioned in the media. You are a real traveller who see the other sites.

Denise at Autumn Sky said...

I have really enjoyed your photos of Amsterdam. It looks like a very special place to visit, much different than my impressions also. The photo of the bicycle parking lot is very nice. Good job with all of them.

TexWisGirl said...

thanks for the beautiful tour. you could be on their tourism board. :) a city of people - of footwalking, bike-riding, canal-floating culture.

John @ Beans and I on the Loose said...

You are so fortunate to be able to tool around at your leisure in such a diverse city in a far away place. I like the shots of the people outside the cafes, but the kitty on the chairs is best.

Eat To Live said...

Thanks for the lovely stroll Reena, as always, very beautiful.

If I were there, I would want to to walk me to where the prostitutes are and let me have a looky see at them. Being from a hick town, I don't usually get to see things like that. LOL...

Sylvia K said...

I did love the time I spent in Amsterdam -- only a couple of days and I didn't see nearly as much as you have shared with us, but I did love it! Such a beautiful, wonderful city!! Your photos are superb as always, Reena! I'm so glad you've had such a great trip and thanks again for sharing it with us! Enjoy the remainder of your time there!! Have fun!


Hilary said...

Another fine collection, Reena. It looks like a must-visit city.

GailO said...

Serving coffee and wine at the library....I think they are on to something!! I am going to tell my daughter the librarian about that!

Thanks for the fabulous tour Reena!

Barbara said...

I'm so grateful for your tours!! I love to travel, but this is probably the closest I'll get!

Pat said...

Thank you for the lovely tour. Your photos are wonderful!

Ginny Hartzler said...

Oh my goodness!!!! I never thought I would say that I want to go to Amsterdam, but I do now!!! I had the same opinion of it that you did before you visited. The library is magnificent!!! And the Science Center that is boat shaped, I hope you go there before you leave!!! And what is that huge vehicle in the wreck? A bus? A trolley? A streetcar? It looks very modernistic! The ninth picture from the top, stunning! Is that the church steeple? Well, I could go on and on, but I have things to do. You have MADE MY DAY!!!!

Connie Smiley said...

Reena, such beauty comes from your camera, and I love visiting those places vicariously. Love what you've done with Topaz Simplify!

My Mind's Eye said...

Hi Reena...oh my gosh I was behind but now I'm caught up!! What absolutely love pictures. You could write a travel brochure for Amsterdam. I have a fellow blogger who lives in The Netherlands. I will have to send your your blog address.
Of course some of my favorite pictures were the ones with critters.
Hugs C

Anonymous said...

Enjoying every minute of your tour. Margie

trump said...

Wow you took some great pictures, and i can see that Amsterdam is a very modern and chic city. Richard

Debi said...

Thanks for giving us a real look at that area. Love the chess board outside and the library is amazing.

Country Girl said...

Loving this series and visiting another country through your eyes. That library - especially the inside - was my favorite part. Wow!!

theconstantwalker said...

Wonderful images Reena it'a a lovely city and you have done it proud.

Debbie said...

you could take a picture of a cardboard box and it would be gorgeous!!

jealous ;)

Caroline said...

I love Amsterdam! One of my very favorite cities in the world. You captured its beauty perfectly.

Michaele said...

I am speechless, yet I could comment on each and every photo! I would love to go here and see it all, but I would visit the science center first. I also absolutely love the photo editing! LOVE!

Unknown said...

I am just loving all your photos. And I am so glad your sharing them with us.. The more photos I see the more I really want to visit.

Hugs, Linda

Kathy said...

Thanks for a wonderful tour. I had a great time.

Anonymous said...

Amazing shots! What a great place Amsterdam is. That science centre is gorgeous!

Gillian Olson said...

Beautiful photos, looks as if you are having quite good weather. The "ship" building is very interesting.

Brigindo said...

Absolutely lovely. Now I have to add Amsterdam to my wish list.

The painting effect is amazing.

Completely Coastal said...

So many scenes you captured (beautifully) remind me of my home town Zurich. I never was that far up north in Europe. The bike parking is truly amazing. The spots, I'm sure are numbered.

Kjell T. Evensen said...

Amsterdam is a beautiful city with its architecture, restaurants, water ways, house boats, etc. I spend a lot of time there in the seventies and a couple of times in the nineties. And, yes, Topaz is a wonderful plugin to use.

Sharkbytes (TM) said...

Interesting city. Looks very crowded

Betty Manousos said...

what a great pictorial tour!
Such wonderful photos!

you're documenting the city quite perfectly!

i love your painterly mood and work!