Falling through the ice

This lady wanted to join her friend on the ice, but she should have done so by way of the boat.  The ice at the very edge near the stairs just wasn’t strong enough.

Oddly enough, after she got out she acted like she wasn’t even cold.  She and her friend walked off at a normal pace…

If that had happened to me, I would have gone straight to Cafe Papeneiland — which is at the same corner (Brouwersgracht/Prinsengracht — one of Amsterdam’s most picturesque spots).

In fact, after taking this picture I went there myself, and enjoyed a cup of good-quality coffee along with a huge piece of fresh-baked apple pie which — to my surprise — came with a very generous dollop of freshly-whipped cream.

The Canals of Amsterdam

Originally the canals of Amsterdam had several functions:

• they allowed for goods to be delivered from the harbor (and the markets at Dam square and Nieuwmarkt) to storage facilities and stores throughout thecity.

• they were used as defence moats

• they served to guide the water of the Amstel River through its former delta.

Nowadays its most popular use is recreation.

Taking a canal tour is one of Amsterdam’s top tourist attractions.

Swimming in the canals is discouraged — if not outright prohibited. People do fall in, though. Those who live to tell about it are always taken to a hospital for a tetanus shot.

Note that many of the houseboats lining the canals are not yet hooked up to the city’s sewer system.

Tourboats at Rokin, Amsterdam

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Rederij P. Kooij is one of several popular tour boat companies in Amsterdam, providing trips through the city’s canals.

Kooij is situated in the Rokin, or what’s left of it. This water used to run from the river Amstel to Dam Square. Remember, Amsterdam = Dam in the river Amstel. At the time, the water came up to the buildings at the back of the Kalverstraat (to the left, but not seen in this picture).

Tour guides often claim the name Rokin is a reference to the word ‘rak’ — which means straight canal or straight river.

But that is not how Rokin got its name.

In the 16th century, the houses in the Kalverstraat near Dam square were to be shortened — a procedure at that time referred to, in Dutch, as ‘inrukken’ (krimp or withdraw). The street thus created was at first called Ruck-in, later Rock-in, and most recently Rokin.

In 1936, 2/3 of Rokin — the part between tour company Kooij in this picture and Dam square further north — was filled in.

The yellow contraption in the picture is a piece of equipment used in the building of a new metro subway line — yet another assault on the city by clueless politicians trying to find ever more creative ways to spend taxpayer money while screwing up the city.