The Flower market or Bloemenmarkt has been held on the Singel Canal, on floating barges, since 1862. It's open from Monday to Saturday from 9am to 5,30pm and on Sundays from 11am to 5,30pm.
Here you can find tulips of every colour but also a lot of other plants and flowers, as well as souvenirs. The Cannabis starter kits were a surprise, but then marijuana is highly tolerated and even available in "Coffee shops" in many forms.
I didn't buy any bulbs as I would be unable to bring them to Australia who has strict rules on plants and seeds.
As you can see in this next photo, on the left side of the canal, there are mountains of bikes chained to the railings as well as a boat to store bicycles just like a parking garage.
At Central Station it's 10 times worse...don't know how anyone finds their bike at the end of their working day!
|Singel Canal with the back of the stall of the Flower Market seen on the right and a boat for bicycle parking|
|Bulbs, flowers and souvenirs|
|Cannabis starter kits next to Bonsais|
Here, you'll also find the Christmas Palace shop, which is open the whole year around where you can find a huge selection of Christmas decorations. The Christmas music playing all year long would drive me crazy though!
|It was only 304 days till Christmas...|
The Munttoren - Coin Tower, stands in Muntplein Square, where the Singel canal meets the Amstel River, near the Flower Market and the eastern end of Kalverstraat.
We picked our bikes and rode into Kalverstraat, or should I say walked with our bikes, as this is a very busy pedestrian only shopping street. Kalverstraat has the highest shop rentals in Holland per square metre!
|A cheese shop in Kalverstraat|
We stopped for lunch at a Spanish Tapas restaurant. The food was good and the Spanish waitresses were friendly. Across from it was a Headshop selling smoking paraphernalia.
Opposite the square is the National Monument to the war.
To the right of the Palace is the Niewe Kerk (New Church), a 600 year old building no longer used as a church, now only used as an exhibition space, for organ recitals and royal wedding ceremonies.
|The Royal Palace on Dam Square|
|National War Monument on Dam Square|
|Niewe Kerk, with a "living statue" in the Dam Square|
Just south of Kalverstraat (Kalver street) is the Spui, where you can find a free attraction - a quiet oasis in the middle of the city - Begijnhof, (Bee-guy-n-hof) opening daily from 8am to 5pm. It's worthwhile a visit!
A sign at the entrance requests visitors to be quiet and not take photos in respect to the residents, but I saw everyone taking photos, so I also took some.
From the street it looks just like any other building, so be on the lookout for the American bookshop, and go through the wooden door next to it - Begijnhof 30.
|30 Begijnhot, Spui|
|Lovely corridor leading to the courtyard and houses|
The courtyard houses about 47 well kept houses built around a garden, during the 14th century. The houses were inhabited by a Catholic order of unmarried or widowed women - the Beguines - who cared for the elderly and lived a religious life without taking monastic vows.
Inside there is also a small Chapel, Begijnhof Kapel, where the Beguines were forced to worship after their Gothic church was taken by the Calvinists. Another church in the courtyard is the Engelse Kerk (English Church) built in 1392, which now serves the Presbyterian community.
House nr. 34 is thought to date from around 1465 and is considered the oldest preserved wooden house in the country.
|The garden surrounded by the houses|
|The English Church to the left on the corner|
|House 34 - the wooden house from the 15th century, is the black one|
This visit done, it was time to ride our bikes home after a full day of sightseeing.
This is the "artwork" outside the tram station close to where my daughter lives - Rietlandpark - 3 wooden tables on top of each other.
Monday 23 February 2015