where in the world… (part 4)?

are viv + i?
hallo…” from amsterdam, netherlands!

definitely an interesting place… especially after the scenic, country-side feel we experienced while in southern france. amsterdam is well known for many things: it’s historic churches/buildings, great public transportations: trains, trams, buses + bicycles, windmills and beautiful canals… and probably equally known for their, er… ummm… well, open views (like hatred of google, recreational drug use + prostitution, just to name a few).

steve balmer's favorite t-shirt (had to censor the 'F' word for the younger viewers)...

I AM-sterdam-it!

viv had heard about their “special” brownies so we decided to take a stroll towards the dam square (yeah, i chuckled in disbelief when i first heard this square was actually called “dam square“). anyway, we ran across no shortage of “special” coffeeshops that offered these delectable delights. and in the immortal words of former president ‘slick willy‘: we ‘did not inhale‘. j/k…
viv nor i, partook in any of these delirium-inducing desserts… besides, there were PLENTY of other delicious pastries/treats to munch on… one of my favorites: stroopwafels (thanks for the heads-up on this one, julie)! 😀

"stroopwafels" - they are AWE-friggin-SOME (and i just found out trader joe's sells them... whee!)

we managed to visit many of their local cafes and eat some killer food. our favorite place was recommended by several of the locals:

viv + i having our hazelnut latte + cafe americano at tisfris cafe...

and our corresponding lunch, a roast beef + avocado samich, a sausage, cheese + tomato samich and the best tomato basil soup i've had!

dam square was dam nice. a mash-up of modern + medival sites and sounds. a bit too touristy for me though.

bikes, bikes and more bikes... heading towards "dam square".

oh so picturesque! i couldn't have staged it any better...

sunset (with a beautiful reflection) at the dam square...

sunset (that's the reflection of it in the building's window) at dam square...

when in amsterdam, do as the amsterdam-ians… we decided to rent a tandem bike and stroll around the city streets.

look how happy viv is to go biking in amsterdam!

and wouldn’t you know it? being rain-less (albeit a little cold) our entire stay in amsterdam, the day we decide to bike, it rains and is super windy! like a gentleman, i was in the front seat and took most of the rain and wind to my face… 😐

viv showing how bummed we were b/c the heavy rain + super wind/gust prematurely ended our biking adventure...😦

and what is a visit here if you don’t see the infamous ‘red-light district‘? it was quite a shock as viv and i walked and discovered our first bay of windows occupied by women right across the street from the ??? church. and as we strolled more, we found that no matter what street we turned into, we found ourselves facing more banks and banks of these windows.

the infamous red-light district...

it launched viv + i into a discussion about these women, their profession, how they got into this line of work and countless others. these women are someone’s daughters/sisters/and some… even mothers!
wanting to be a father (hopefully soon if the Lord’s willing!), i told viv how my heart was just crushed and deeply saddened by what we were witnessing. this led me to think of countless millions who are trafficked and sold into the sex-industry. it renewed our desire and commitment to the great organizations that are out there wanting to bring justice and liberation to those oppressed (http://www.ijm.org + http://www.thesoldproject.org just to name a few).
wasn’t expecting to get on a soap box, but i guess my heart needed to vomit this out. it is something viv + i will continue to wrestle,pray and dedicate our lives + resources to help make an impact for God’s kingdom and His people.

  • amsterdam.

places visited:

the view from our seat while we did the canal cruise for the day...

another beautiful amsterdam/canal shot...

flight itinerary:

  • amsterdam
  • gatwick london
  • back to -> marseille
  • back to ->paris
  • back to ->hong kong (total travel time = 27.45 hours… ugghhh)

tot ziens (for now)…

for more reading:

– where in the world… (part 1)