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Amsterdam Buildings Shifting

Amsterdam Buildings Shifting

I came across a couple of men doing survey work in Amsterdam.  They were measuring the subsidence of Amsterdam buildings which can result in any building to tilt or pitch in any direction.  As you walk through this city you should take special attention to detect buildings that are not lined up correctly with buildings next door.

Building-Tilt

In the image above, you can see that the near building and next building are not lined up properly due to subsidence.

SurveyIn the image above, the near worker is using a survey transit to take site readings at the stick being held by the worker in the far right distance.  In the image below the worker is holding a bar code survey level rod, that rests upon a special bolt that is attached to the building.

Survey-Stick

The individual seen in the picture above places his survey level rod upon a bolt that is driven into the side of the building.

Wall-PinThe survey level rod is placed on top of the bolt in the image above.  Not every building has this bolt, just selected buildings.

Also, there is a mirror that is mounted on the building wall just above the survey stick.

MirrorAs you walk through Amsterdam, you might take note of gaps and tilting among some of the buildings.

For more information about this problem: http://earth.esa.int/fringe07/participants/559/pres_559_carocuenca.pdf

Amsterdam – Bad Experience With Tuliplu Umbrella

Amsterdam – Bad Experience With Tuliplu Umbrella

I had  a slightly broken umbrella while in Amsterdam.  I purchased a Tuliplu Falconetti by Impliva to replace the damaged one.  This Tuliplu umbrella is sold all over Amsterdam and surrounding areas.  This umbrella lasted less than a day.  In my opinion, the construction is cheap and of poor design.  I do not recommend that you waste your money on this item.

City Of Amsterdam Impressions.

City Of Amsterdam Impressions.

This was my first trip to Amsterdam.  I would like to share some impressions of things that stand out from my perspective because they sort of shout out at me how different this city appears to be from my experience living in Southern California:

  • The city is so different (obviously) in its physical construction:
    • Small tall buildings that stand next to the next building shoulder to shoulder, meaning that one building’s wall rests next to the next building with no air space in-between.
    • Every building has multiple floors.
    • Each building has a different look to it.
    • Not all but most buildings are slender, meaning they are taller than wide.
    • Canals.
    • The curbs are three inches or less and at times hard to discern from the rest of the walking and traffic surface so take care that you know you are on a sidewalk or not.
    • The traffic lanes for people, bicycles, motorcycles, trollies is at times a challenge to discern.
    • It is a guess of mine but I feel that their trades people are pretty darn good at what they do.  Our hotel construction inner spaces shows a level of craftsmanship that is quite good.
  • Vibrant.  If you have visited New York and never visited Amsterdam, let me tell you that this city is the opposite from sleepy.
  • People are interesting to look at:
    • They are all young looking.  This is no exaggeration!   My son who is 25 years of age made this observation within hours of arriving.
    • Most every person in Amsterdam is slender build.
    • The people of Amsterdam dress with fashion.  This is not to mean that they dress to impress but rather look like each just stepped out of a fashion magazine because this is what they do.
    • They love bicycles and rows upon rows of them line the streets and people ride them all over the city, even in the rain.
    • I am rather surprised at seeing young sleek, attractive women riding down street bicycle paths.  Because most all the women I see riding bicycles are slender, rather tall, light hair, and extremely attractive and easily could model for a magazine I get the impression that these women are being paid to give the city some sparkle.
  • The Amsterdam traffic is quite interesting to experience and a bit challenging at first to keep from getting hit.  There seems to be very few places one can park a vehicle.  Some of the streets are narrow and the side walks are very slender.  Parking a bicycle or scooter on some streets requires you put your vehicle on the sidewalk.  To get a better sense of this, view this short movie I made called Amsterdam Traffic.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9_ttkq22ig

Sorry but I had just purchased a Nikon D5300 a few weeks prior to taking this trip to Europe.  I made a long list of mistakes with this camera, so many I will put up a separate blog post of self shame.  One mistake you will hear in the audio is  a plastic tapping sound.  Like an idiot, I am holding the lens cap against the lens, not realizing it was tapping.
Daughter’s Top 3 Amsterdam Picks

Daughter’s Top 3 Amsterdam Picks

After more than two hours of research (Nov. 29, 2013) looking at about 15 hotels, my daughter came up with her top 3 choices.  We removed much of her research comments such as prices, reviews and any other information that is time dependent.  The comments below do not show our hidden requirements of location near the Dam and the central location close to sight seeing locations.

Radisson Blu Hotel, Amsterdam:  Free Wifi; 6 min. walking distance from Dam Square; 17 min. walk from Anne Frank House.

Hotel Estherea  (on canal) Has internet (wired) in room, when booking, we can get a discount on breakfast.  Cancelations are free of charge up to 24 hours before arrival.  “Special gifts” available if staying more than 3 nights. 4 night gift is a custom canal cruise.  6 min. from Dam Square; 10 min. from Anne Frank House

Inntel Hotel Amsterdam Centre
No Free Wireless internet in room.  ?6 min. walking distance from Dam Square; 13 min. walk from Anne Frank House

November 29, 2013 we booked a stay at Hotel Estherea.

My Daughter’s Spread Sheet Research For Amsterdam

My Daughter’s Spread Sheet Research For Amsterdam

The spread sheet below was done by my daughter, November 29, 2013.  The data in the table may very well become less accurate as time moves on.  We offer this data only as an example of one method for deciding upon a place to stay in a foreign country.  Not stated in the data sheet is the fact that we did some reading about Amsterdam and found that there are certain city sections that we wish to be close to.  I strongly recommend that you do the same.  First, look to see the sights that interest you and you just might decide to stay at a hotel that is within walking distance.

The Amsterdam Hotel spread sheet below is an example of how complicated finding just the right hotel in Amsterdam can be.  The fields shown along the top will probably not be as important to you.  For example, we have one party member that has a walking problem so we need a hotel elevator.  We also want to know how close the hotel is to the attractions we wish to visit so we added distances.  I have removed the hotel cost from this sheet as they would be out of date by the time you read this post.  The ratings are from the Internet web sites and is subjective.  I really recommend that you read the reviews that are posted and you can detect that there are some pretty tough individuals that are hard to please.

 

Amsterdam_Research_Data

Need Advice For Visiting First Part Of Tip: Amsterdam?

Need Advice For Visiting First Part Of Tip: Amsterdam?

A group of 8 adults will be visiting Amsterdam, May 2014.  We need hotel, restaurant, and points of interest ideas in Amsterdam.  We would love to stay 4 days in a hotel by a canal.  We need 4 rooms.  If you have a recommendation to make, please share with us.  Send an e-mail to captain.mclaren@gmail.com

We plan on sharing our reviews of everything about the trip including travel, hotel, restaurant, and places we visit and make reviews in this web site.

Following is what we have discovered so far during the planning for this trip (End of November 2013):

  • Flights into Amsterdam typically arrive early in the morning.  Hotel rooms do not offer up their rooms until about 3pm.  Hotels charge about $40 to $50 for early book in.  Our AAA travel agent said that this is a money maker for the hotels.  My daughter came up with this solution.  Because we need 4 rooms, only pay for one room early book in and everyone store luggage and freshen up during the early hours using this single room.
  • Tip from my son: Use Firefox browser and go to File > New Private Window.  This method should keep the web site booking companies form seeing your interest in any particular hotel and raising the rates if you visit a page frequently.
  • Our top recommended trip web sites for Amsterdam:
    • Booking.com.   I just love the Amsterdam map with all the hotel pins.  I can zoom in and out.  When I pass my computer mouse over any map pin, I get a quick look at price.   We want to stay in the “Canal Belt”, 16 and 17th century waterways and Booking.com worked for me:
      • Singel
      • Herengracht
      • Keizersgracht
      • Prinsengracht
    • Kayak.com does a good job of presenting all your choices.
  • After using a good web site search and finding your top three or more hotel picks, then go to the hotel web sites directly and see if you can get any better deals.  In the United States, this almost always works but we have never been to Europe before.  Here are the  reasons why we like to compare web vacation web sites and hotel web sites.  The booking web site has to make a profit.  Some times the rooms are located in less desirable locations.  Some times the hotel can offer better prices, secret offers or perks.  My daughter discovered that some hotels give better rates for AAA, senior citizens and advanced purchase by visiting the hotel web sites directly.  When you go to any hotel web site examine it carefully as some money saving promotions are another page or two away from the home page.
  • We have been very impressed with AAA travel agents.  We have booked our flights and tour in November 2013.
  • Look into getting a credit card with an imbedded chip and rewards.  AAA is not offering a Visa card with some pretty nifty rewards.  Europe is not credit card magnetic strip friendly.  We applied and got accepted for AAA Member Reward Visa cards.  The rub is that you must ask for the chip.  We had to ask Bank of America for the chip after we received the cards without it; quite annoying.