Amsterdam Flower Market & Canal Tour

flower market cut flowers-forget me not_1
A visit to the Amsterdam Flower Market is worth your time especially if you are looking to purchase any variety of bulbs for your garden back home or if you are interested in Canibis starter kits.

pot kits

pot seeds

canabis lolipops

Of course the kids wanted lollipops the minute they spotted them… only 5 Euros for 6!

 The market host vendors of cut flowers, stunning mixed bouquets and 100’s of varieties to buy and mix-match yourself.

flower market bouquet

flower market cut flowers

But the bulk of the market is dedicated to Holland’s bulb business and while tulips are certainly the most famous I think the Amarylis stole the show. The size of these bulbs were impressive- I once purchased a giant double white amaryllis from a specialty “boutique” grower I lived near. It was beautiful. I remember the bulb seemed bigger than any of the discount kits (that include pots and soil) you can purchase at christmas time. This bulb was expensive- may 20 bucks?! These bulbs make that one look like a wee-baby-amyrilis bulb. In the photo below I set a 2 euro cent on the bulb to give it some perspective (its a little larger than a quarter) I know its hard to get an idea about how big these suckers are but trust me. AND the price…. 4.50! maybe 25% the cost I paid for the wee-one.

giant amarylis bulbs

incredible bulbs and incredible prices!

Giant Alliums are impactful but also expensive… not at the flower market- you can buy 3 for 5 Euro, normally you could order these 3 for 25-30$. A good price for 100 mixed quality bulbs would be at least 30$ in Amsterdam… less than 7.00 Euro! Oh how I wish I had a garden.

flower market 2

venus fly trapThe only souvenir we brought home is Axels new pet, a venus flytrap. It is growing in the window ledge and has 5 leaves now. It might just come in handy during the summer because we have no screen and no air-conditioning and the house flys are abundant (thanks to the cow manuer being sprayed all over the fields).

canal tour at train station

Next stop was the canal tour which is touted to be a must-do whilst visiting Amsterdam.

canal boat2

There are lots of different tour operators but the prices seemed to be consistent.

_axel is a beautful child3

Axel could almost reach up and steer the boat from his seat in front.

canal boat

We boarded a full boat and chose a seat up front- unfortunately the trick is (TIP) make sure you get a seat that the windows open up for good photo opportunities– sadly ours did not. I spent the whole tour trying to shoot photos over the guy behind me’s shoulder and he was not overly cooperative. All in all the tour leaves room for improvement, the recorded “guild” was hard to hear and its always tricky trying to time a tour with a recording. It’s a super touristy attraction and a nice chance to rest and see some beautiful examples of the typical architecture. 

love high contrast

I love high contrast trim and Amsterdam did not disappoint.

love high contrast and unique architecture

hooks on houses for moving in

Notice the big hooks on the tops of the buildings, these are used to hoist furniture up to the windows instead of trying to bring it up through narrow staircases. They are on all the houses in Amsterdam but also often seen in many larger European cities with narrow multistory houses. 

LOVE!!! archetecture for canal house_1I loved this row of houses, from the uber-traditional to the more modern designs, all playing together nicely side by side. And speaking of modern, along the harbor amsterdam’s new EYE is a architectural landmark, inside is a large cinema and eateries.

amsterdam eye_ cool architecture

amsterdam architectureHotels and Condo’s along the harbor are also home to great examples of big modern statement to the cities progressive ideals.

advertising on your houseboat helps pay rent

The most fascinating part of the canal tour was the house boats docked one after the other along the canals. There are a limited number of “slips” and none to be added so if you want to live on a houseboat in the city you practically have to wait for someone to die. I loved how some of the boats used there prime tourist real-estate to sell advertising space… we did not visit the cheese museum, it somehow felt wrong, disloyal to our host country Switzerland. But I could really see my self living in the Netherlands… at least April- October.