Day 6 - Farewell Amsterdam, Hello North Sea
What do you think of when you picture Amsterdam in your mind? The answer is probably different for every visitor. This is our second trip here, but in just a short time we have seen many sites ranging from world class museums, the elegant neo-gothic Central Station, a bustling business area to quiet hidden cobblestone streets lined with historic canal houses, shade trees, cafes, and bicycles. We've also seen the seedier side with coffee houses and women sitting in neon-lit windows, yet in each section, people are finding their own favorite niche of Amsterdam.
This morning we visited an interesting historic site- The Church of The Lord in the Attic. Back in the 1500s the church rulers decreed that Catholism could not be practiced, but if people found a way to worship out of public, a blind eye was turned. In 1663 this church was established at the top of an affluent canal house with room for 150 people.
The church was simply designed with an old wooden organ and two levels for balconies. Tiny pictures of ladybugs were hanging on little cabinet doors throughout the museum and we learned that these are for young children to open and discover little objects that they can manipulate to learn about life long ago. Once the practice of hidden churches was no longer needed, a group of people purchased it in the late 19th century to forever preserve it as a museum. Restoration is still ongoing today as there are plans to enlarge the museum while keeping the historic part intact.
We spent the early part of the afternoon on a bench overlooking the canals in a quiet neighborhood near our accommodation. Canal boats with visitors silently glide through the water under the narrow bridges and bicyclists ride by. Here there are no Lance Armstrong outfits. The bicycles are simple black bikes with pedal breaks and no helmets needed. This quiet peaceful setting is the image I like to picture in my mind of Amsterdam, a city that prides itself today on freedom, religion, and tolerance.
This evening we boarded a DFDS overnight ferry to Newcastle, England. We have sailed with them before and it's like a mini cruise. Dinner is buffet style and the tables are heaped with goodies such as delicious healthy salads, shellfish, and mousse for dessert. Out on deck all eyes were watching the west as the sun slowly sank into the sea. What a beautiful sight!