Monday 25 November 2013

Amsterdam, Netherlands II: Some things about Amsterdam

Besides canals, I'm sure you know that Amsterdam is known for their bicycles and you see them EVERYWHERE. The walking guide told us that the canals in Amsterdam are made up of mud, water and bicycles. They fish out hundreds of bicycles out of the canals every year. I don't find that hard to believe, seeing that there are tons of bicycles chained next to canals. And according to him, there was a tradition in some universities where freshmen threw bicycles into the canals for celebration??

Do you notice anything (three things actually) about the houses? I'll give you a minute to ponder. Firstly, houses in Amsterdam are all very narrow but tall, the rent/tax/something depends on the width of the houses so people tend to make it as narrow as possible. We visited the narrowest house in Amsterdam, do you see it? ;) The poor owner though, his house became a tourist attraction and many even knocked on his door to ask be shown the interior. Secondly, it's the hooks at the top (I think the first picture gave this one away). Almost all, if not all, of the houses in Amsterdam have these hooks which makes one wonder about their purpose. Someone wanted to trick me and told me that they were used to hang meat in the winter so that the owners don't have to put it in a fridge. *skeptical look* Well, the real reason for those hooks is that because the houses are so narrow, it's very hard to get furniture up to the upper floors. Thus, they would pulley the furniture up and bring them in through the windows. Pretty innovative don't you think? Thirdly, do you realise that the houses are tilting forward? It has something to do with the second point. That's right! It's tilted forward so that the furniture don't smash into the windows while swinging. And lastly (well this is a small point which I don't know if it's apparent in the photos), the houses are all built by different designers and architects so that explains why their designs are varied and they don't line up nicely beside one another. There are gaps in between houses and also some houses are leaning a little to the side. It's pretty cute how they are so un-uniformed.

Vending machine burgers! There are other snacks inside too. I didn't try it though because the guide said that there's a running joke about these burgers. Since there are so many flocks of pigeons in Amsterdam, people joke that the burgers are made of pigeon meat. :S

It's pretty common to see chairs in cafes facing the streets instead of each other throughout Europe. But the first picture is pretty funny, the first row of chairs are without tables! So do people literally just sit there and people watch?

"Coffee shop" in Amsterdam around every corner. No, you can't find lattes, Americanos nor cappuccinos here. These places sell weed. And in case you're wondering if I tried it, no. The smell gives me a headache, or maybe a light-headed feeling which I did not like. I was rather happy to leave Amsterdam to escape from the smell. Oops.

There's this special type of fries that is quite popular in Amsterdam. The fries are nothing new, it's the sauce that came with it. The one I had tasted like a peanut and curry mix with mayonnaise and onion. Worth a try if you're in Amsterdam!

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