Christmas in Amsterdam

Zwanenburgwal

View from the Stadhuis across the canal to Zwanenburgwal

Click on any image to see a larger (1500 x 1000 pixel) version!

As regular visitors of this site know, our family has established a somewhat irregular tradition of spending part of the holiday season in major cities; after New York in 1999, London in 2002, and Rome in 2004, we chose Amsterdam for the 2008 edition of the series. We found a spectacular deal on the truly amazing Grand Hotel Amrâth Amsterdam, located in the historic Scheepvaarthuis, the former head office for the major Dutch shipping companies. We arrived in the evening of Friday, December 26 and began our stay with an Italian dinner and a walk through the city center. We had been warned that we would in all likelihood encounter rain every day; in fact, we didn't get any. Though it was rather cold, we had blue skies and sun during our entire stay. We spent most of Saturday exploring the city on foot, walking along the many beautiful canals, and visiting a large variety of bakeries and pasty shops to warm up. To those interested in tracing our footsteps based on the photos below, we can propose a printable Map of Amsterdam, a scan of the one we received from the hotel.


The Grand Hotel Amrâth Amsterdam The secod floor hallway

The Grand Hotel Amrâth Amsterdam

The second floor hallway


One of our rooms Stained glass stairway ceiling

One of our rooms

Stained glass stairway ceiling


Looking down the 'Geldersekade' Along the 'Herengracht'

View down the Geldersekade

Along the Herengracht


Along the 'Prinsengracht' By the 'Egelantiersgracht'

Along the Prinsengracht

By the Egelantiersgracht


Amsterdam 'Deux Chevaux' Grey heron

Amsterdam Deux Chevaux

Grey heron


'Prinsengracht' and 'Westerkerk' Along the 'Herengracht'

Prinsengracht and Westerkerk

Along the Herengracht

On Saturday evening, we met our cousin Monique and her two daughters Celina and Stephanie for an early scrumptious dinner at a nice and cozy restaurant where Monique had made reservations. Afterwards, we walked back to our hotel where we had fun taking lots of photos. While the images on this page were taken by both Daniel and David, the following four rows also contain pictures by Celina and Stephanie. We had a wonderful time together; we will definitely try to get together a little more often: the last meeting took place in California more than 18 years ago when Stephanie was just one year old!


Monique Celina

Monique

Celina


Stephanie David

Stephanie

David


Stephanie David

Fun viewing photos

Eric


Stephanie Daniel

Stephanie

Daniel


Celina Vicki

Celina

Vicki


Stephanie and Celina Monique

Stephanie and Celina

Monique

On Sunday, we explored more of the city, still on foot. One amazing thing about Amsterdam is how crooked certain houses are, how they either lean forward or to the side. Since the time one could spend outdoors was rather limited because of the cold, we had to look for something to do indoors. We originally wanted to visit the Rembrandthuis, but as it was closed, we opted for the NEMO Science and Technology Center, a truly fascinating place with tons of hands-on activities for kids of all ages -- and their parents! That evening, we chose to have dinner at the hotel restaurant and for once didn't venture outside later.


The 'Waag' in the morning sun Amstel and 'Rokin'

The Waag in the morning sun

Amstel and Rokin


Leaning House 'Groenburgwal' and 'Zuiderkerk'

Leaning House

Groenburgwal and Zuiderkerk


Along tbe'Raamgracht' The 'Rembrandthuis'

Along the Raamgracht

The Rembrandthuis


Keeping warm 'Montelbaanstoren'

Keeping warm

Montelbaanstoren


The NEMO Science and Technology Center Daniel

NEMO Science and Technology Center

Daniel


Looking towards the station Amsterdam's main station

Looking towards the station

The main train station

Monday was the day of the obligatory canal excursion by boat. This is an excellent and reasonably priced way to see Amsterdam and to get some photo opportunities not available any other way. The tour took us from the Amstel through most of the Herengracht and into the harbor. In late afternoon, we took a stroll through De Wallen, Amsterdam's famous red light district. Yes, the prostitutes really present themselves in windows, and we were amazed to see how old some of them were. However, taking pictures of those windows is very much frowned-upon, and we didn't even attempt a sneak shot as it would have seemed unkind to do so.


Our excursion boat Inside the 'Prinses Catharina Amalia'

Our excursion boat

Inside the Prinses Catharina Amalia


Taking the previous shot David and Eric

Taking the previous shot

David and Eric


David Eric and the new hat

David

Eric and the new hat


Vicki and Daniel The 'Magere Brug'

Vicki and Daniel

The Magere Brug


Bridge across the 'Nieuwe Herengracht' Through the locks into the harbor

Bridge across the Nieuwe Herengracht

Through the locks into the harbor


The Shell Tower Our hotel through the windshield!

The Shell Tower

Our hotel through the windshield!


Along the... ...'Oudezijds Voorburgwal' and...

Along the...

...Oudezijds Voorburgwal and...


...'Oudezijds Achterburgwal' 'Rechtboomsloot'

...Oudezijds Achterburgwal

Rechtboomsloot

On Tuesday morning, we had a great breakfast at a place called Kwekkeboom on Reguliersbreestraat 36; we mention this only in the event that you should find yourself in Amsterdam looking for a delicious (though somewhat decadent) breakfast. If so, you cannot go wrong with a cappuccino at Kwekkeboom, accompanied by one of their apple tarts topped with nuts and a couple of Oliebollen with raisins. We also visited the Kalvertoren Shopping Mall on Kalverstraat before making our way back to the hotel where we had left our luggage.



'Grimburgwal' Looking down 'Damrak'

Grimburgwal

Looking down Damrak


Royal Palace 'Kalverstraat'

Royal Palace

Kalverstraat


'Kalvertoren' Shopping Mall The 'Stadhuis' and 'Muziektheater'

Kalvertoren Shopping Mall

The Stadhuis and Muziektheater


A last walk through 'De Wallen' and... ...a last glimpse down 'Geldersekade'

A last walk through De Wallen and...

...a last glimpse down Geldersekade

On Tuesday afternoon, we flew back to Nice via Zurich; all too soon, our Amsterdam trip had come to an end. We all like the city and will definitely be back; for now, we are already thinking of where the next installment of the Christmas series might take us.





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