Day 4: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Yesterday we were able to see a lot of different sites in Amsterdam, even though it rained throughout the morning. Since we weren’t able to see much the first day, we were able to see most places I wanted to go to today.

The first place we went to was Our Lord in the Attic. Since we got there before 10 am, we had to wait in a brief line for the house to open. The house is a bourgeois canal house and is a popular site to visit because of the concealed Catholic Church in the attic that was originally built in 1663. Included in the price of admission was an audio box, which you would then tap on the audio tour boxes throughout the house to hear the history and background of the rooms. The main site to see in the house is the Catholic Church in the attic, which is a huge three-story room. At various points in time there would be about 150 people who would enter the house to go to Church. A priest even lived in the house as well to conduct mass. One thing to note is there are a lot of stairs and steep stairwells, which may be difficult for anyone with mobility issues to walk. There is actually 2 originally staircases still in the house as well. The house took around 45-minutes to tour since some rooms were currently undergoing restoration.

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Next we headed to the Red Light District to walk around a bit. Since it was before 11 am there weren’t many people around, but there were some girls already in the windows waiting for clients. This was an interesting area to walk around in the morning since it wasn’t packed. The next street over to the Red Light District is Amsterdam’s Chinatown, which we didn’t spend much time at.

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One thing I was interested in going to was the Red Light Secrets Museum of Prostitution. Some reviews I found online beforehand were very positive about the museum, while others had mixed thoughts. I actually found the museum to be very informative about the history of the Red Light District and prostitution. The museum did not just put a positive or fun spin on prostitution, but also focused on the seedy and negative side to it as well. There was a dedicated memorial inside to the girls who have been murdered in Amsterdam since 1956 while working as prostitutes. Additionally, there was information about the sex trafficking aspect to the industry as well in Amsterdam. The museum does not take long to go through, but I really enjoyed it and the information provided.

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After spending time in the Red Light District we headed to Central Station to take the tram to Rembrandtplein. Since it was early afternoon we grabbed a drink at a huge Starbucks at Rembrandtplein. One thing to note is Starbucks in the Netherlands does not take United States Starbucks cards, unlike other European countries. I did try a new drink I’d never seen before at Starbucks, the Mango Passion Fruit Frappuccino. This was a delicious and tasted more like a smoothie, I wish we had it back in the United State since it was refreshing. After finishing up at Starbucks we briefly looked around Rembrandtplein. It looked like there was a lot of cool restaurants and cafes in the area.

From Rembrandtplein we headed to Wilet-Holthuysen Museum, which is just a street over. Wilet-Holthuysen Museum is located on the Herengracht canal. This is considered a former grand canal house and one of the few remaining ones in Amsterdam that is opened as a museum. The house is also one of the only fully furnished canal side patrician houses as well and has a large collection of items from the Dutch Golden Age. A couple rooms on the top floor of the house are dedicated to exhibits while the rest of the house is furnished rooms. Some of the furnished rooms include the dining room, kitchen, pantry, bedroom, antique room, and ladies sitting room. One of the really striking features to the museum is the manicured garden behind the house. This was an interesting afternoon to spend and look at what life was like in a grand canal house in Amsterdam.

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We ended the day by having dinner at an Indonesian restaurant. This was probably my favorite meal in Amsterdam. We ate at Aneka Rasa, which was probably about a 10-minute walk from the hotel and near the Red Light District. When we first sat down we were brought shrimp crackers to dip in a peanut sauce, which was slightly different from the Thai version I am used to. The peanut sauce was delicious and had a slight ginger flavor to it. We ordered a family style meal that came with a sampling of about 12 different items. The flavors varied on the dishes and were heavily influenced by coconut and peanut sauce. The meal included veal, chicken, and a meat dish. Two of my favorite items were the chicken skewers with peanut sauce and the green beans in a coconut sauce. The meal was delicious and I would definitely eat here again the next time I’m in Amsterdam.22119_10155512412560324_2247529288871799973_n

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