Sunday, June 03, 2007

Amsterdam III - Gables

It just wouldn’t be right to leave Amsterdam without a few more pictures.
I stayed at a smoky, but quiet, hotel in the Southern Canal Belt. Every morning started with a quiet stroll along Reguliergracht, culminating with a look down the canal at the 15 bridges that cross it. Often, tourists rent pedal boats to tour the canals (look toward the mid-left to see one).

The ornate detailing and variety of canal house gables was amazing. To my surprise, it was rare to see a straight building – most were leaning towards the canals or supported by their neighbors. Certainly never to pass a survey in the States!

But, grandeur didn’t stop at the door. Often restored to their 17th century glory these old houses remain jaw-droppingly beautiful – dining room of the Geelvinch Hinlopen Huis, now a business centre (left); garden room in the Museum Van Loon (right).

Through a tiny and unadorned doorway one might stumble into an hofjes or almshouse. The Beijnhof is a typical almshouse built in the 14th century for the Begijntes many of whom were unmarried or widowed women. Rent was paid by caring for the sick or educating the poor and the residents were required to follow three rules – no hens, no dogs, no men. Its hard to believe this quiet oasis is still inhabited by Begijntes less than 20 feet from Amsterdam’s biggest shopping street.

No trip is complete without at least on ‘kirk.’ It is said that genuine Jordaaners were born within earshot of the Westerkerk. Incidentally, Anne Frank took refuge next door.

Finally, for SCH… Blissfully pink tulips.

If you’d like more information, to hear more stories, or see more pictures drop me a note.

No comments: