The first thing on our agenda that morning was a visit to the Anne Frank house, which had a line stretching around the corner, as a friend had warned me about. But, we had bought tickets the day before at the tourist office in Schipol airport, for a timed entry, and it was probably the best decision we made the entire trip -- out tickets allowed us entry through a separate door, and we didn't have to wait at all. Unfortunately, you can't take any photos inside the building, so I have nothing to show for it here. I found the visit to be really interesting, but I was suprised by how many people seemingly didn't, just breezing through it, hardly looking at anything.
We had lunch nearby (at the cozy cafe Roem, at Prinsengracht 126) and then headed to the Tulip Museum, just down the street. It was pretty small -- the front area was a gift shop, and the museum was in the back, with about five or six rooms. Overall, I liked it, but I think what I appreciated was the presentation, rather than the information presented. The first room, for example, was this small space with rows of wood cuts on either side, and some of the wood pieces featured little anecdotes or information about the history of tulips -- on one side, the information was about Turkey (the original home of the tulip), and on the other, it was about Amsterdam. There wasn't all that much going on, but I really liked the clever way the information was presented.
After that, we wandered around the area -- particularly around the Nine Streets -- to check out some of the Amsterdam's fun shops. While I can't say that I fell in love with the city or ever need to go again -- I liked it, we had fun, but it didn't capture my heart -- I was impressed by the spirit of creativity that seems to pervade Amsterdam. At the very least, that translates into some great, unique shops.
Left: Light fixture at Pancakes! in the Nine Streets area Middle: Red Light District's Condomerie window display Right: The graphics on the wall outside the Tulip Museum's toilets.
We wandered into DR Wonen (where I bought a votive holder styled as an Amsterdam house), The Otherist, some of the bookstores, and then Kitsch Kitchen and Nieuw Amsterdam outside of the Nine Streets area. We also ended up, later, in De Bijenkorf, the huge department store in Dam Square, where, incidentally, they had begun setting up a huge carnival.
After that, we continued to stroll and ended up back in the Red Light district, though it wasn't terribly active yet. I mentioned in the last post how much the area disturbed me, but I did think it had some of the best eateries in town.