Everybody to Amsterdam!
Today I am back from the Netherlands, a country where prostitution, homosexual marriages, light drugs and euthanasia are legal. Many will think that such things are weird, but let’s remember the fact that first industrial revolution took place in the Netherlands in the 15th century while the rest of Europe continued to be medieval. Probably, such scenario will be attractive for some other countries but definitely not Russia. Enough to state the fact that in “European capital” of Russia which is St.Petersburg gay-parade was seriously suppressed in November 2010 and not by authorities but by citizens.
Amsterdam, the Netherlands capital (a dam on Amstel river in translation) is famous for its great number of channels, more than in Venice and amounting to 1000. Having known the fact that many Dutch live in houses on water, we have also decided to book a small boat freighted in the dock. The dock of Amsterdam is a unique place not only for tourist boats but for hundreds of white swans. The captain of our boat is authentical Dutch, a man of few words and a kind one, running a small business on his own. The name of his boat is “Friesland” in the name of the northern Dutch province Friesland. By the way, it is completely wrong to name the country as Holland, because Holland is also a province together with Friesland. Anyway, if someone decides to visit Amsterdam, “Friesland” is highly recommended.
Of course, Amsterdam is known not only for its channels and clogs (wooden shoes, analogue of Russian traditional bast shoes). This city gave to this world such extraordinary personalities as Rembrandt and Vincent van Gogh, Christian Huygens, Spinosa, DJ’s Armin van Buuren and Paul van Dyk, football player Edwin van der Sar.
It is also highly recommended to visit Vincent Van Gogh museum, it impresses. It is better to buy audio tour, since with the help of it you could get acquainted with his art much better. For the 10 years of his artistic career, Van Gogh produced 1000 of paintings. It is a pity, he committed a suicide, since he believed that the talent left him. In this museum you might also see works of impressionists who influenced Van Gogh increasingly – Paul Cezanne, Claude Monet, Edouard Manet, Camille Pissarro, Paul Gauguin. For example, after his split with Paul Gauguin Vincent cut his ear off and got into the hospital for weeks. His paintings are different – light and heavy, dark and sunny, but each one possesses the idea which a master wanted to transfer to us. We’ve also found Rembrandt’s house in Amsterdam, however, since there was no exhibition, we didn’t come in.
The next museum that we have visited was the Sex Museum, a popular one among tourists, located on the main street of Amsterdam – Damrak. This year, the museum celebrates its 25th anniversary, that is why the Dutch Euros are covered with fancy advertisements. In this museum you could observe a number of private photos and films, some of them go back to the 18th century. In this museum one could see the history of erotic movie, history of Merylin Monroe, first woman who was posing naked for cameras in the 50th of the 20th century, the history of Mata Hari who was also Dutch!
One more museum of sex but in the open air is so called “red light district”. It doesn’t have a sign on any tourist map, since there are a number of streets where prostitutes work. Here, in Amsterdam all traditional perceptions of prostitution fail. They don’t stand here propping up buildings, they stand behind glassy doors enlightened with the red lamps. All the girls are beautiful of Slavic, African, Asian, European appearance. It is prohibited to picture them, of course, who would like to be downloaded on facebook so that relatives or friends might recognize…As famous Belgian singer Jacques Brel in his famous song “Amsterdam” mentioned:
Ils boivent à la santé
Des putains d’Amsterdam
De Hambourg ou d’ailleurs
Enfin ils boivent aux dames
Qui leur donnent leur joli corps
Qui leur donnent leur vertu
Pour une pièce en or
Next museum which we managed to visit was Diamonds Museum. It is well known that Flemish part of Europe is famous for diamonds. For example, Antwerp in Belgium is a world diamond center. Thus, in Amsterdam we had an excursion where we knew how diamonds are being polished. Hence, 50% – 70% of material is lost what is conditioning on its high price.
A few words now about mushrooms, cannabis, energizers. In Amsterdam one might buy whatever he/ she wants. One of the most spreading places is a “Coffee-shop”, a big net of small shops always full of people. Enlightened in green, they attract both tourists and citizens selling light types of drugs. If someone is interested in this topic, I would recommend to visit a floating flower market. There are a great variety of tulips as well as of sunflowers beloved by Van Gogh, but also cannabis seeds starting from 2 euro only. We decided to abstain from coffee-shops, however, and visited Chinese fast-food restaurant «Wok to Walk». That is a net of Chinese restaurants that I advise to all tourists, however, in Brussels it is better to go to a restaurant. Cocks prepare the dish you’ve selected for 5 minutes in front of you. Usually, there are noodles with meat (chicken, beef, pork) or mushrooms with spicy «Hot Asia» source.
Thus, 2 amazing days in Amsterdam ended up. On our way to Antwerp we met a southafrican who ate mushrooms right in the train. The trip was awesome!