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Adorable Chick

HIGHLIGHTS OF EUROPE diary : Day 5 - 19th April 2016

The Canal city, Amsterdam, is the capital of the Netherlands. The city is also known for its beautiful houses with gabled roofs, its bike culture, the red light area & beer among the many others to be mentioned. It is possible to travel a 100kms only through canals, within the city. The entire city stands metre above sea level. At least 11 million poles are used to support this city structure. The narrow residences narrate their own history. The 'house tax' in ancient times was levied as per its width, causing the people to keep their houses as narrow as possible.

The least we could do was to capture the essence of this city, by including it in our itinerary. We boarded a train from Brussels Nord that morning at 7:40 am to Midi. The direct THALYS train from Brussels Midi helped us reach Amsterdam central by 9:40 am. The tickets were part of the Eurail pass. However, we had to pay additionally for seat reservations.

On the quay outside Amsterdam Central stood the GVB ferry on river IJ. The free ferry helped us cross river IJ to get to Amsterdam North. The visual landmark of the northern area, the EYE film museum, built in the shape of an eye, greeted us from right across the quay at the banks. The museum is also a cultural institution that is committed to preserving, presenting and promoting cinematography and films. Its internal exhibits include close to 40000 films & a collection of photos, soundtracks, historical documents, and technical equipment, related to Local & International cinema. The building holds its permanent exhibition at the basement and a temporary exhibition on the upper floors.

Tidy Desk

A separate building in the center, has a film restoration facility. The temporary exhibitions include guided tours, fun activities & workshops and are held in the form of cultural programs, with different themes each time. We were thrilled to see BAHUBALI (Indian blockbuster) being screened in one such auditorium, of the building. We visited the permanent exhibition in the basement level. We also came across a wall, that splashed out various colours on sensing our hand movements each time. It was a good fun to play with colours. After the museum visit, we loitered around the northern area for a while before we took the return ferry to the main land.

We walked around the city exploring streets, buildings and a few shops. Shopping turned out to be the highlight. A few souvenirs, gifts, purses, shoes, bags, we had the time of our lives.

The "cycling city" lived up to its name with hundreds of cycles parked in many corners, along streets. The murals on the mosaic walls of a tunnel leading to the city, from the Central station were out of this world. We walked towards the Dam Square in the centre of the city. The square, has the Royal Palace standing on its western side. A local fun fair occupied the entire area. A Giant wheel blocked the full view of the Palace. Nevertheless, we were able to capture the central, Baroque domed structure adorning the top of its facade. The erstwhile post office building, now a shopping complex known as the MAGNA PLAZA, is well known for its unique red bricked architecture.

It is a monumental building situated behind the Royal Palace. The other buildings we admired were the Amsterdam Museum, the Madame Tussauds building, The Bus Van Berlage, to name a few. We found a decent place to settle down and have our home cooked lunch. It didn't take a long time.