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Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands
May 10, 2011
From journal Amsterdam the capital of Holland
Mexico City, Mexico
May 28, 2003
Taking a boat cruise of the canals of Amsterdam seems to be the ultimate
tourist experience. It is fun, a great way to see the city, and I’ve taken one
on every single trip I’ve made to this city. Both the night and day cruises
are worth it but if time or money is limited take a late afternoon cruise that
ends in the dark and you can get both experiences squeezed into one.
There are several companies vying for your custom with most located in close
proximity to the Central Station. Prices and routes are basically the same but I
have always been more satisfied with the blue boats of Holland International -
now part of TUI - than with others. Boats have see-through roofs, which
apparently fog up fast when it is rainy. Commentary on virtually all boats is
via pre-recorded tape in several languages - Dutch, English, German, French, and
Spanish. This is of course great if you understand all five - no need for note
taking or guidebooks, you’ll know the history of Amsterdam by heart at the end
of the tour.
The tour takes around an hour and includes a trip through the harbor and of
course various canals. Highlights include seeing the Magere Brug - a
narrow double-leave drawbridge across the River Amstel, and to see the gables of
the stately homes in the wealthier areas. Another highlight is the point where
you can see seven round arch bridges spanning a narrow canal. This is best seen
at night when lights light up the curves of the bridges.
Depending on the route you may also pass by the Anne Frank Museum where there
always seems to be a queue and the Westerkerk with the glittering crown of
Emperor Maximilian at the top of the steeple.
An interesting alternative to a boat tour is to take the Museumboat - this
boat covers most of the same route from the Central Station but allows you to
get off at five points along the way: Anne Frank Museum, Museum quarter (Rijks
and Van Gogh Museums), Bloemenmarkt (Flower market), Waterlooplein and Maritime
Museum. A day ticket allows for unlimited trips. The journey will take much
longer than the tram but will be more interesting.