We got to talking with another couple who told us about the side of Amsterdam which is rarely seen by the hordes of tourists who roam the red light district and the inner canals all the time; through the bustle of cafes and coffee shops and attractions.
So, in what is apparently typical Autumn weather here in Holland, we set off to explore the section of Amsterdam which lies to the West of the Centraal Station.
Here, older houses lean at various angles as they settle further on piers which may need very expensive replacement. At the top of each house, a beam protrudes with a hook for setting up a pulley for loading goods and furniture into different levels of the house due to the fact that internal stairs tend to be very steep and the treads very narrow. It’s also not unusual for these houses to have two doors: one quite narrow and servicing the less desirable lower floors of the house where the windows are also smaller. The wider door then provides access to the upper floors. with their bigger windows.
We soon find ourselves on the small islands created by the canals in the Westelijke Eilande area.
Here there is none of the frenetic activity that surrounds the canals on the other side of the station. Former warehouses have been converted to housing and new buildings sit comfortable alongside those that have been here for centuries.
Wandering further through the rain, we eventually find ourselves back outside Centraal station where a multi level bike parking station provides storage for thousands of bikes which provide a backdrop for Lynette as she shelters under a large umbrella.
Then, it’s back into the shelter of Centraal and one of the many bars and restaurants that form the lower level, looking out across the very well used cycleway that connects to the Noord ferry and, via a dedicated pedestrian and cycle tunnel, with the cycleways that head off into the city.
A bit of drying out and a drink and then we’re back in the train; home to Hoorn.