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AMSTERDAM

The smell of marihuana 

I’m 100 % convinced that those bunches of young people didn’t come to Amsterdam for Van Gogh museum, Rembrandt or Ann Frank house, but for something much deeper. They came here to feel freedom, tolerance and the unique atmosphere. When I was searching for the things to do and see in Amsterdam, I came across the same suggestion: go to the coffee shop, try the highest quality stuff and sit at one of the canals. Impression? Priceless, unforgettable…. Even though it may be a good idea for some, I think Amsterdam has much more to offer than coffee shops filled with space cookies.  

Undoubtedly this city is different than any other I’ve visited so far. It’s vibrant, cosmopolitan and modern. Maybe that’s the reason Amsterdam attracts almost 8 million tourists yearly, placing the same the capital city of Netherlands on the fifth place of the most popular and visited cities in Europe.  

I think every single person visiting capital city of the Netherlands has his/her own opinion. I severely recommend visiting Amsterdam, just to see the diversity, the beautiful canals, 2100 bridges in the city centre and more than 80 tiny islands.  

Leaning houses, hooks on buildings 

Every city hides interesting story, so does Amsterdam. It is a city partially built 5 and half meters below sea level being at the same time one of the wealthiest European city.  

Here is why. First of all, there were plenty of diamonds makers coming from Antwerp. Secondly, during the World War II when neighbours were frightened, Amsterdam was making money by doing weapon and gunpowder. And third merchandise trade. Amsterdam as the city connected with water raised some good sailors. The city is known from a fair trade, people who had enough money didn’t want more for themselves as it is now. Opposite, they gave half of money to the lowest classes, to the poorest in the city. Maybe as a result nowadays we don’t see that many homeless there. The key to success that helped with expanding the buying and selling business were hooks and the leaning houses. When wandering between canals, stop for a moment and look up. Houses so diverse from their exterior have something in common.  Every single house is equipped with a hook, which was used to pull merchandise from the ship. Even though hooks are no longer used, they stayed. I think as a glimpse of history. What about the leaning houses? For me a brilliant and smart idea to build houses with a forward incline. Thanks to that window glass and building façade remained un-smashed during the goods transportation. What is more, you could notice that houses also bend from one side to the other, from left to right. This time it was unplanned. The explanation is simple. Every house in Amsterdam was built on the foundations of wooden stilts, with time it began to rot changing its shape and fulfilling with water. That is why houses at the river bank are tilted, but owing to that city is more attractive and exciting for tourists. 

Cycling 

Cycling, like in no other place across the planet, is the most popular kind of transportation in Amsterdam. I don’t think we can call cycling a sport there, considering eternal existing traffic jam on Amsterdam’s street, it is just the fastest way to commute. Beware of two wheels monsters, they are everywhere. Don’t even try to step onto cycle path, you risk your own safety. It seems like Amsterdam don’t care about their bikes, the older the better is a principle. You can find bikes thrown far and wide, piles locked to lanterns or bridges, even more left without supervision. Not surprising that yearly 20 000 to 30 000 bikes are caught from canal; they are being recycled and sold again on the streets of Holland. Ask a young, Dutch teenager for a reason of throwing bikes into canals, you will hear that he was drunk and this is what a drunk city dweller of Amsterdam does. Another fact is that an average inhabitant of capital city has up to four bikes during their stay. Old bikes are not only thrown to canals but they are often “borrowed”. Once you let somebody have your bike temporarily, forget about it. This is a moment you go to a bike shop for a new one plus a good locker. 

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