By this time, Victor and I are getting used to the public transportation system, we know exactly where we’re going once we leave our hostel, and we’re getting used to the weather (well, sort of).
Day 3 was spent mostly in Utrecht, a 30 minute train ride from Amsterdam. Many would call it mini-Amsterdam because of its similar architecture and canals. However, there are far less tourists and bikes in Utrecht. And, it is way easier to walk around. I highly recommend this day trip during the colder months since many other nature-y places are not so great at this time of year. Check out my post on Utrecht!
Red Light District
For a very different change of scene, Victor and I explored the Red Light District while it was still dusk. I wanted to see what the area looked like before nighttime engulfed the streets. By day, the Red Light District is incredibly charming. It’s an old part of the city and so has lots of history.
And of course by night, things look a little different. You start seeing the red neon lights turn on and women step into their windows. There was nothing provocative or shocking in what these women were doing. For the most part, they looked pretty bored because they knew their real clients were not around yet. Some of them messed around with the young male adults staring, which honestly made the women look awesome and the men pretty pathetic. No photos are allowed and I ended up getting pretty angry at those people who ignored the rule. It is extremely disrespectful. I mean, can’t you find what you want online anyway? Sheesh.
Apparently Victor knew someone (a friend of a friend) who paid for a service. I wanted to know more simply because I wanted some insight into this very mysterious world. He said that it was very mechanical and quick—nothing fancy or exciting. Makes sense to me! These women are running a business and paying for something does not mean paying for above and beyond what you paid for. I’m not sure what he was expecting… we all know real passion comes from both physical and emotional connections which is almost impossible with a complete stranger. But hey, thanks for supporting their business and livelihoods!
In de Wildeman
After going through the Red Light District, we talked it all over during our walk. Other parts of Amsterdam are pretty magical at this time of day, when dusk hovers over the horizon.
We decided to head to a bar to continue our long discussion. We chose In de Wildeman, a bar situated in a former distillery. They offer 200 types of bottled beer and 20 types of beer on tap. We had no idea what we were doing because there were soooo many options. We asked the bartender for help, and he was great!
The next morning we headed straight to the Rijksmuseum. It’s the Dutch national museum and contains many fine works of art from Van Gogh to Rembrandt to Veneer. Right out front are the huge iamsterdam letters, which you can see I was not too impressed (ha!).
The star of the show is Rembrandt, but there are many other amazing artists displaying their works here. One of my favourites is Girl in a Blue Dress by Johannes Cornelisz Verspronck.
Rembrandt’s most famous painting is housed here: The Night Watch. I was flabbergasted by how many humans were flocking around this painting. It reminded me of the Mona Lisa at the Louvre and Starry Night at the MoMA. The painting is particularly significant because Rembrandt was the first artist to paint a group portrait with the figures in action and telling a story. Just looking at it for even a moment, you can see all the activity occurring in this scene.
Our day was winding down quickly. Continuing our tradition of sandwich lunches, we went to Peperwortel. Its one of the best delis in town and they have benches outside enjoying the street view. A perfect ending to a perfect trip!
And so, we said goodbye to Amsterdam! I’ll be back soon. Now, stayed tuned for the last of the Azorean posts!