Amsterdam History Museum
While I was beginning to grow tired of museums by now, I decided to go to the Amsterdam History Museum anyway.
I arrived early, and had to wait a few minutes for the museum to open, but when I want inside I wasn’t sorry, the museum featured quite a few very interesting pictures, films, models and digital presentations portraying the history and development of Amsterdam.
Of particular interest were the animated film showing the development of the city and the waterways around it through the centuries, and the models of ships and shipyards built ans used during the citie’s golden age in the 17th century.
Going for a tour and having “Shawarma” instead
Since the tour thought the red-light district was so successful, I wanted to go on the free tour provided by the New Europe company as well, therefore I had to cut my visit to the museum short, and go to Damarak street to grab something to eat on my way to the tourist information office where the tour was to begin.
Going up and down Damarak street, the only thing I could see that looked like a food stand where one could take the food and walk was selling only bags of French-fries which did not seem anything like a well composed meal to me.
Eventually I also found a shop selling Shawarma and other middle-eastern foods and decided to go for it.
There were few odd things making this Shawarma stand different then any I`ve seen before:
- There was no selection of salads to put in the Shawarma, the recipe was fixed.
- The guy behind the counter didn’t cut the Shawarma off the spinning piece of meat, instead he warmed up some pre-cut Shawarma he had in a container.
- He didn’t know what a “Lafa” was, instead they called it a “roll”.
- I had to specifically ask him to put Chumus in of he wouldn’t have.
- The was some red sauce put in that had some kind of Mexican taste to it.
Buttom line, what I got didn`t taste anything like the Shawarma I know, but it was good enough to eat.
Unfortunately, I was a little late arriving at the tourist information office, and probably managed to just miss the group departing.
The journey to the windmill
Since I didn’t go on the tour I suddenly had an empty afternoon on my hands, I decided it was time to go see a windmill.
The journey to the windmill turned out to be a long one, first, I had to take the number 1 tram line to Meer en Vaart, from there I had to take the 192 bus line (After some head scratching about the side of the road on which I should stand and a long wait) to Langsom.
Sine my journey took my far outside the tourist area I got a glimpse at the modern pards of Amsterdam which I am sad to say do not look as pretty and appealing as the old city.
The windmill museum
The windmill was located in a rather desolate place, while there were buildings and shops around, there were`nt many people walking about, there also seemed to be no one inside the windmill and nothing indicating that this is a museum other then a sign indicating that visitors can go up using the elevator.
Not wanting to have my long journey go to waste, I entered the windmill and wondered around the upper floors, when I came back down to the first floor I was met by an elder man and a woman who slightly embarrassed me by asking how did I get in and if I knew that I needed to pay to enter the museum.
I answered that I would be happy to pay, and thy said that since I had already been inside I don`t have to but if I did I could have a guide, handing then my I-Amsterdam card, I told them I would be happy to have a guide.
when I asked to a guide, I was assuming they were gonna give me a little booklet describing the museum, like the ones I got in all the other museums I been to, instead the man told me he was going to fetch him, and I realized the guide was actually a person…
The guide was very nice and informative and gave a fascinating lecture about the history of water management in the Netherlands and the operation of windmills, while showing me all parts of the windmill including the various mechanisms in the lower and upper floors I couldn’t access on my own.
When I left the museum and after wondering a little around the area and taking pictures, I learned that I had about 15 minutes till the next bus arrived, since I was a little hungry, I bought myself at a little stand near the bus station what I later learned was a classical Dutch meal consisting of a fried fish covered in breadcrumbs.
The Sex Museum
The Sex Museum was recommend to me by one of my friends, I must say, it seemed to me it could more aptly be named “The Porno Museum” since it essentially contained a large collection of pornographic materials (some dating back a few centuries), and while describing the development of sex through the ages, it essentially described the development of porn.
All in all I found the museum to be rather childish and not very impressive. Further hampering my limited joy of the museum were the group of British teenagers that were wondering about staring at the pictures a giggling to themselves…
I suppose back in the day the museum with its “dark room” presenting pictures of the most strange and extreme forms of sex (Sado-Masochism, etc.) was quite a sensation, but now days, with the Internet making this kind of stuff accessible ant the click of a button for those who want it, I find the museum rather dull.
Musicians in the rain
When I emerged from the sex museum I was rather frustrated and gloomy, and the rain that began falling did not help to improve my mood. Walking up and down the Damarak street where the museum was located, I couldn’t find a place that seemed to suit what I had in mind as the kind of place I wanted to go into to have my dinner.
Eventually I decided to leave Damarak and go to Laidseplain which was known as a recreation area and had the additional benefit of being very near to my hotel.
As I disembarked from the Tram with which I traveled, and rain grew a little harder and I went to stand near the entrance of one of the restaurants in the area which was sheltered from the rain. As I was standing there, a group of musicians settled nearby and began playing some very quick, dramatic and beautiful classical music. Son enough a large crowd gathered around to watch them play.
Eventually, those players seemed to not only warm up my heart with their music, but also chase the rain away, as by the time I left the restaurant entrance, the raid seem to have stopped.
Meal at the pub
To have my dinner I eventually picked what seemed to be a rather new pub near Leidseplain, the barman that served me was very nice and friendly, the music was ok, the food (Grilled chicken and mashed potatoes) was good and the place quickly filled with young and happy Amstemmers.
Despite all that, as I was sitting there on the bar I couldn’t help but have a lonely feeling sink into my heart as couldn’t really talk to anyone or understand what they were saying. For the first time during this trip I missed home, and felt sorry that I wasn’t sharing it with anyone.