I was gushing over the charm of the canal near our apartment rental in Amsterdam’s centrum when we first arrived, when my daughter commented that there will be no shortage of picturesque canal scenes throughout the city. And rightfully so! My hubby trolled the Internet for an apartment that would allow us to soak in the 400 year old waterway system that was borne of the Dutch Golden Age and its people’s wonderful foresight.
We spent most of our stay exploring the city’s center on foot, crossing many of its 1500 bridges and little neighborhood hubs. We ate in many cafes, visited their museums and Rembrandt’s home, sampled their beer and cheese. We even walked one evening along their famous “red light district.” Now that was something of a revelation.
I was quite impressed that the names for the canals, streets, and areas have remained pretty much the same over the centuries. What great respect for heritage and history, unlike some places I have visited, where street and square names have changed depending on who an incumbent official was obsequiously sucking up to. (Or, it may be that the people want to stamp out a previous oppressive regime).
Wherever we went, people were friendly and most spoke English. Thank goodness! The Dutch language is said to be West Germanic and I have yet to venture into this family of languages. I did recognize some familiar words that have similarities to English words, although when I listen to native speakers say them, they don’t sound like the English equivalent. I guess it has to do with the various rules on how this letter changes if it’s preceded by that letter, etc.
All in all, it was an enjoyable short few days. Is it worth coming back to? Yes! Totally! It’s a walkable city. So civilized and organized in more ways than other first world countries we know. Their food is interesting and I did not feel as though I had to sacrifice my healthy eating needs to appreciate their cuisine.