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.

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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!

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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.