AMSTERDAM

AMSTERDAM

Sinclair felt a bullet whistle past her cheek as she increased her pace.

“How many of them?”

Shelby cast a glance behind her.

“Three. They’re gaining on us.”

“Run faster.”

Shelby and Sinclair sprinted down the narrow-cobbled street, and hurtled onto Prinsengracht. Tourists strolled beside the canal hand in hand. An ice cream vendor briskly dispensed cones to a long straggly queue. People sat outside the cafes, smoking and sipping coffee, enjoying the warmth of the sun. Sinclair grabbed Shelby’s hand as she spotted a canal boat leave its berth and begin to edge out onto the canal.

“Come on. We have to jump.”

From ‘The Tentacles of Deceit’, which continues after the conclusion of ‘Spies, Lies and Lesbians’.

The centre of Amsterdam is pedestrian friendly. The main hazard is avoiding cyclists who bomb along the cobble streets ringing their bells if you dare to get in their way!

Public transport is good, but I didn’t need it. I do recommend a hop on and off canal boat. Day tickets aren’t expensive, and it’s a great way to visit out of the way attractions.

This time I didn’t go to the Red Light District. If you like watching naked women sit in their windows waiting for customers, then it’s probably for you. The numerous sex shops have interesting displays in their windows. I’ll never forget seeing a two-foot-long dildo!!!!

If you want to get a legal high, then visit a coffee shop. They are located all over the city, and you can smell the cannabis on the street. Don’t get them confused with ordinary cafes.

I’ve been to the Van Gogh museum before, and it’s so worthwhile spending a morning here. The museum charts his life from his birth to his death.  I’ve always admired his painting, and have a couple of (reproductions) hanging on my walls. If you get there when the museum opens, then you’ll be able to see the paintings without being jostled by the crowds.

Other top Amsterdam attractions include the Rijksmuseum, and of course, Anne Frank’s house. Long queues seem to be the norm at any time of the year.

I took the hop on boat and walked a short distance to the Vertzetsmuseum. I hadn’t heard about it until I looked on Trip Advisor. For anyone interested in the Second World War, this small museum is fascinating. It tells of ordinary Dutch people’s lives under the German Occupation. It’s very interactive and has original objects and posters displayed.

The Jewish Historical Museum tells the tragic story of the Dutch Jews. In 1939 over 140,000 Jews lived in the Netherlands. When the Nazis invaded Holland in 1940, Jewish life changed overnight. Jews were forced to wear a yellow badge to single them out from the rest of the population. There is a video of a couple getting married. They look happy, but look closer. The bride has a yellow badge sown on her wedding dress. Deportations to the East commenced in 1942. Did the couple escape? I hope so, but it would appear unlikely. When the War ended in 1945, only 30,000 Jews had survived.

If you’re pressed for time, take a walking tour of Amsterdam. These are often free and the guides give amazing information. Don’t forget to tip them.

Jaye’s tip – book in advance online or visit the main attractions to avoid long queues especially in spring and summer.

Lezability factor – excellent. I didn’t go to lesbian bars or cafes, but it wasn’t difficult to meet lesbians. The first night I met a Danish woman in a restaurant and we began chatting. On day three a French woman sat at my table in a cafe. We started talking, and went out to dinner.


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