Amsterdam, Netherlands (Holland)

About the Photo Above: View Leaving Train Station
As you walk out the doors of the central train station, this is the sight that greets you. There is a central bridge crossing the canal pictured and on the left and right you can see stunning buildings, trams and brightly colored boats.

Beautiful Canals
Amsterdam is built on a series of canals in a half circle pattern. Almost every street had a curved canal and you’d almost always see tourist boats slowly going up and down the canals. Many are also filled with parked house boats which appear to be converted from boats once used for shipping which have been converted to living spaces. As you can see by the map at the right, there are lots and lots of canals.

My friends have encouraged me many many times to try smoking pot, but to be honest, it’s pretty low on my list of things that interest me. Mostly I just don’t want the smoke in my lungs. Maybe some day I’ll have a magic cookie or brownie. Anyway, as I wandered the streets in Amsterdam, I would often smell that distinct odor of burning marijuana. I guess maybe it is not such a big thing now that several states in the US are going legal.

Red Lights
Prostitution is legal in Amsterdam. I’m not sure why everyone makes this such a big deal; perhaps because prostitution in much of the USA is illegal. I think many Americans don’t realize that in more than half the countries of the world, some form of prostitution is legal. In Berlin you can see hooker dressed in latex fetish gear standing on street corners. Maybe this is more prevalent in Amsterdam because the city makes it into a tourist attraction rather than just a part of everyday living like it is in other countries.

I didn’t see many of the old style windmills in Amsterdam or on the bus while traveling through the Netherlands. There are a handful of them in Amsterdam, but mostly for tourist attractions. In reality Amsterdam and the Netherlands don’t use windmills anymore than the rest of the world. That said, in Europe in general I’ve seen a lot of the new, modern wind power turbines. Outside of the large wind farm in Texas, I’ve seen more wind turbines in Europe than anywhere else.

Visiting a Friend
I was fortunate enough while traveling in Peru to have met Wendy from Amsterdam. I told her I would visit her this year while in Amsterdam and I was able to follow through with this promise. I spent three days couchsurfing and sleeping in the attic of her wonderful apartment on one of the small islands in central Amsterdam.

Rain and Relaxation
While in Amsterdam it rained most of my three days there. I was able to venture out two of the mornings in light drizzle and moments where the rain stopped.

My European Travel Map
Want to see where I’ve been in Europe and where I am now? Check out my map of European travels).


  • Hostels: $20-30/night. Once again, I was lucky enough to couchsurf with a friend 😀
  • Food: Costs of food in Amsterdam are similar to the USA
  • Transportation: I rode the bus several times for about $3 per ride

Converted Boat House

From what I saw, it appears most of the boat houses I saw had once been used for commercial shipping or fishing boats. I think most might have been used for shipping then enclosed to make them into personal residences. This one is decorated with plants and flowers.



Amsterdam is connected by a series of canals with romantic bridges everywhere. It is like a more modern version of Venice, Italy.

Wide Streets

The streets that cross bridges and run perpendicular to the canals are generally wider. They are filled with a variety of buildings in different architectural styles. Running through many of them are electric powered trams and buses.

Narrow Streets

Generally speaking, the streets that run parallel to the circular canals are narrower than those that cross at right angles.

Sex Museum

I never went in as I’m told this is definitely a tourist trap and there wasn’t many interesting things to see. The sex museum is on the main street near the red light district and attracts conservative tourists who want to gawk at things in the red light district.

Central Station

This is the central train station taken from the bridge crossing a canal immediately in front of the big building. Just across the bridge are the local bus and trams as well as a variety of tourist boats.

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