18 November 2010

I AMsterdam

Last weekend, Leah and I snuck off to Amsterdam to escape the increasingly undesirable weather of Copenhagen.  Our friend Marion, who we met on exchange in Hong Kong, was our hostess with the mostess.  She provided us with bikes, mattresses and very generous hospitality...all this across the street from Anne Frank's House!

After arriving on Friday night, we danced all night at the Sugar Factory's Voodoo Party.  I felt like a kid again when I entered the club; there were rows of colourful costumes to hire (for free) and numerous queues to get your face painted in neon colours (pictured).

On Saturday we walked around the city and I fell in love with it.  The streets were already decorated with Christmas lights and there was a cosy feel to the city.  There are canals everywhere (pictured) and it started to feel like we were walking around in circles.  Every street and canal look the same!  We stumbled upon some nice cafes and 'coffee shops' and also did some shopping at some flea markets.

The most unusual thing I witnessed in Amsterdam was the arrival of Sinterklass (Santa!) on the main street.  He was welcomed by a roar of children's cheers as hundreds of his 'black' helpers (pictured) paraded through the streets, handing out candy and biscuits.  His helpers were actually Caucasian people who had painted their faces completely black.  Leah and I found this to be controversial, as we thought it could be interpreted as portraying black people as slaves.  Marion explained that the helpers were black because they'd help Sinterklass by sliding chimneys to deliver presents, thus becoming 'sooty' or black.

Other places we explored included the red light district, Van Gogh's Museum, the flower markets (pictured), the Jordaan neighbourhood, the Begijnhof houses (pictured), Anne Frank's House and Marion's rooftop (pictured).  There is too much to summarise here so hopefully the pictures will do justice.


Holiday Amsterdam said...

I'm going to celebrate queensday in Amsterdam!.
Had such an amazing experience last year; loved the flower market and the red light district.
Luckily enough I found myself a cute place too through holiday amsterdam
Not too expensive either, can't wait to get back, here I come queensday 2012!

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