In April of 2009, I traveled to Israel with my buddy Markos for Orthodox Christian Easter. Because we couldn't get a direct flight from SFO to Tel Aviv (of course), we got a 9 hour layover in Amsterdam, Netherlands. There are far worse places in the world to be stuck for 9 hours, believe me. This was my second time in Amsterdam (I spent several days there in 2004 during my 3-month European backpacking trek), but it was Markos' first and so far only time in the city. We planned ahead to make the most of it = here are some trip photos.
Prins Hendrikkade, seen from Centraal Station (after arriving from Schiphol Airport).
The Oude Kerk, surrounded by the Red Light District (De Wallen).
An area near the Red Light District (De Wallen).
Inside the Oude Kerk.
Markos investigating the exhibit in the Oude Kerk.
Exterior of the Oude Kerk.
Nieuwmarkt, I think (near the Waag).
The Waag, built in 1488.
The clock tower.
Canals and bicycles, two of the most famous things in the city.
We went to the Van Gogh Museum, which I had been in back in 2004; however, we were pleasantly surprised to find out there was an extra special exhibition of Vincent's most famous works from many of the world's top museums. Case in point, it's not every day that "Starry Night" leaves New York's Museum of Modern Art (there were probably very angry tourists in NYC that week...).
Markos and I were very wise (for once) and purchased advance tickets to both the Van Gogh Museum AND the Rijksmuseum (seen in the background). Note the line to get in the Van Gogh Museum, which we were able to bypass with our advance tickets. Google Translate wasn't really en vogue at the time (or I was ignorant), so I had to figure out the Dutch ticket website using my rudimentary linguistic skills... the trouble was more than worth it.
The Rijksmuseum, which was STILL undergoing its renovations that I had first seen in 2004. Basically, the museum's collections were consolidated, meaning only the highlights were on view. That didn't stop the line, however (which we were once again able to bypass, for the most part).
Hendrick Avercamp's "Winter Landscape"
Jan Vermeer's "Woman Holding a Balance"
Canal near Museumplein
Tulips and other flowers were in season.
Gigantic ferris wheel, Dam Square
Outdoor cafe on a bridge
The brown building looks like it's going to fall.
Quintessential Amsterdam architecture.
Markos was enjoying himself.
Westerkerk, near Anne Frank's House (which we didn't have time to go into, given the line and lack of advance tickets). Shortly after this we had to head back to Schiphol for our KLM flight to Tel Aviv.
Coming up next = Israel, 2009. Stay tuned.