As promised, another post about our short visit to the city of Amsterdam, this one focused on the cruise boat through the canals we decided to take! We paid €16 per person, directly at Damrak pier, but later we saw the same tour for €13 per person, in agencies. The tour takes an hour, circular, leaves Damrak and returns to the same place and has audioguide in 19 different languages, being Portuguese obviously one of them. It is covered, but all in glass, which is good for those who want to take pictures – it has windows that can be opened, even better – and also for when it rains, which was the case when we did the tour.
We left Damrak, turned right past the church of Saint Nikolas, patron saint of the city, to the Waalseilandgracht (gracht means canal), where we began to see the first boat houses, which nowadays already pay taxes to the city of Amsterdam since they already share the sewage, sanitation and electricity network, unlike in the past. We continued along the Oudeschans and Zwanenburgwal canals, past the Waterloo market and the opera, on the Amstel River, the widest “canal” in the city, to immediately enter the narrower Herengracht, one of those that surround the city. It was here that I discovered that the best place to sit would be on the left side of the boat, because only those sitting on that side could photograph the seven aligned bow bridges of the Reguliersgracht.
In the Herengracht we passed through parts of the city where the houses were so expensive that no one could live there except the Prime Minister, as that was where his official residence was located, the audioguide made us notice the façades of the various buildings, its endings of various shapes and the common hook to all, the only way to raise furniture to the upper floors, since the stairs would be too steep. In another part of the city, the grounds were all 6 meters wide, so the houses could not be wider than this (unless you bought two adjoining grounds but you still had to pretend they were two separate buildings).
We also learned the reason for so many crooked buildings in Amsterdam. This city is all built on wooden stakes, the problem is when the tide goes down a lot and these stakes stay exposed to the air for long periods, causing the wood to rot. So little by little they are replacing the wooden stakes for concrete ones, an undertaking that shouldn’t be easy at all!
We briefly glimpsed the Singel canal, sailed the Westertoegang, under the railway, to get to the Ij, the canal (I do not know if I can call it canal) that connects to the sea and where we started to see the modern city, starting with the Eye Film Museum, the station and the concert hall. We left the Ij by Oosterdoksdoorgang canal to continue with the modernity of Amsterdam: the Nemo Science Museum and the Openbare Library. Then we went back to the Damrak, where the cruise ended!