Amsterdam is charming. It's built over canals, like Venice (one of its nicknames is "Venice of the North"--do you think they call Venice "Amsterdam of the South"?), but the canals are more narrow. Our hotel was near the Singel canal, which is the oldest canal in the city.
Amsterdam is a medieval city, but most of the buildings in the part of town we stayed in date from the 16th and 17th centuries. It's a small city, but heavily populated--I took most of these pictures in the morning, before the crowds came out onto the streets.
Still, someone was up--I've tagged this next one "Got Milk?"
But the coolest thing about the Singel canal--to me, anyway--was that it leads to the Amsterdam Flower Market, which is several blocks long and built out over the canal. This is the back side, from across the canal--with the front side painted on.
Notice the tops of the tall buildings (probably former warehouses)--I'll talk more about those in a minute.
Some gorgeous sunflowers:
Crocosmia and chocolate cosmos:
I very carefully took a picture of the bulb package next to this plant--but I didn't get the species name in the frame, so I don't know what it is! I assume it's some kind of lily--the cultivar is called "Gloriosa Rothschildiana":
Carniverous plants were very popular, especially pitcher plants:
There are very strict regulations about which bulbs may be brought back into the U.S., and they're not the most interesting ones. And that's all I have to say about that.
Here's a close-up. It's a little crane--when these were warehouses (they seem to be apartments now), barges would come down the canals, moor next to the building, and the cranes would haul the goods up into the warehouse. Salix could be a tour guide.
We saw other sites--and sights! This is a statue of Multatuli, pen name of Eduard Dekker, a famous satirist and critic of Dutch colonialism in the East Indies (Indonesia):
Of course, Amsterdam is also famous for its coffeeshops, where you can in fact get coffee (they can't sell alcohol in them anymore). But that's not the main attraction (and the cafes are a, umm, less edgy place to get your cappucino). I loved the names of the coffeehouses, like Amnesia. Or Grey Area. Or this one, the Grasshopper: