... the tales of two sisters

Dana lives in Seattle, and Tracie lives in Germany. We are businesswomen, writers and humorists. We write about life, dating, and today's modern women.

Wanderlust in Amsterdam: Canals and Bikes –You Better Look Both Ways!

The Anne Frank House is located right across from the Prinsengracht Canal which is where the canal cruise I intended to take was located. I had perfectly timed the tours so that I had 20 minutes to wait after the first tour until boarding, so I went next door downstairs to a little cafe. Inside the cafe, books and t-shirts with the likeness of Anne Frank are for sale. 

Before I knew it, it was time to board. By the way, the Prinsengracht Canal is the fourth and longest of the main canals in Amsterdam.

Once boarded, I see that there are about 20 or so fellow passengers scattered here and there on colorful comfy cushioned pillows. The lone ranger in me sought a spot with some distance away from the others–I mean we should be social distancing anyway, right? (My excuse.) I sit down, scoot back, take off my shoes, put my feet up and extend my legs and exhale. No windows, no walls. Air. Sun. Happy people. Flower baskets bursting blooms. The visual is beautiful in every direction–left and right. I get a cocktail, (this is probably not the cruise your grandma recommended!) and the moment we set off into the waterway, I am certain we are leaving from the mooring known as Marvellousness and Divine! 

Along our way, the captain and host filled us in on interesting points about Amsterdam. 

*The Dutch East India company launched the world’s first stock exchange–for trading purposes what with all the waterways.

*Relaxing and chilling are primarily done along the banks of the canals, that’s just what the natives do. It’s lovely to see. 

*Another fascinating, truly fascinating thing is the lack of barriers where the cars park alongside the canals–there are NO barriers! In the event your car should accidentally topple over the edge of the bank into the water which is about 3 meters or about 10 feet deep, you should get out of your car and stand on its roof–then the police will come and rescue you and the case will be an insurance issue and you won’t get fined. Zoom in on the picture with the cars.

*Back in the day, a skilled person advertised their particular skill by erecting a figurine representing their specialization or line of work. Zoom in on the picture with the curved brick bank. To the right of the yellow sign on the house, you’ll see a feathered creature in an alcove. What do you suppose, this person did for a living?

*This photo shows the spot where one can see seven of the bridges line up–a favorite of photographers the world over. Known as The Seven Bridges. Über enchanting when darkness settles. Zoom in–focus on the left side of the picture.

*Amsterdam is known for having crooked houses; there are many theories about why they exist; some think this is a result of the rotting of the wooden poles and the sinking of houses when an upper floor is added.

*On many homes there are hooks erected into the roofs. This is so that people can hoist their belongings up to the desired floor–which would otherwise be impossible to do in the many narrow, winding stairwells. See the picture of the three adjacent houses–look up towards the sky.

*You pay taxes according to the size of your house and the number of stairs that lead up to your doorway from the street.

*I’m just gonna tell you: you have to seriously get out of the way for the bike riders.  I seriously learned to diligently look left and right with the anticipation of an oncoming cyclist–in fact, it became an instinct. The Dutch rode out of the womb on bikes. They are seriously no joke expert riders, they do not ride casually. They’ve got places to go and things to do and they get there. It’s thrilling just to sit at an outdoor cafe and watch them swooping around and flying inside and outside of traffic. Apropos bike riders: my next and final post on Amsterdam will be about my Sex Worker Guided Amsterdam Red Light District Walking Tour. My guide Felicia told me and the two others in our group that she got knocked down twice by bike riders–BUT THAT’S NOT ALL SHE TOLD US! You won’t want to miss out on this!

It’s Hump Day everybody. We’re halfway there!