To Market, To Market . . .

IMG_0369Despite the cold weather, the market was incredibly lively! This photo was taken towards the beginning of the market.

One of the perks of Amsterdam is all of the local markets that are held throughout the week. If you ever find yourself in the city on a tight budget or just wanna kick around for a little while, markets are a fabulous option because they are free! Well, they are free if you don’t buy anything, but a lot of times you can find inexpensive clothing and food which is great. On our third day in Amsterdam, since the weather decided to cooperate, we started our day off at a local open-air market.IMG_0371 You can see the mix of clothing, fresh produce and cheeses that the market had to offer.IMG_0378Fresh seafood at the market.

Although we had eaten a light breakfast back at the hostel, the waffles at the market were too tempting to pass up, so we all decided to pitch in and share one amongst the five of us. It was certainly a nice sweet treat to warm us up and give us a sugar boost of energy!IMG_0373A rather indulgent chocolate and caramel waffle sure to satisfy any sweet tooth! Sooo sugary, but so good.IMG_0375Emily, Katelyn and Alex taking the first few bites of the waffle.

I think the general consensus was that we could all go for a second round, but we had all eaten so many sweet things during this trip already. I think if I stayed in the city longer than a week, all of my teeth would be full of cavities  ha ha. I really enjoyed how busy the market was, which seems like an odd thing to say, but if you know me, you know that I don’t like being in public places (mostly restaurants) when I’m the only one around. The relaxed pace of the city allowed us to explore without feeling super rushed, and believe me we all took our sweet time walking the length of the market. It was incredible to see how many vendors there were!IMG_0382Some beautiful flowers for sale. Although, these seemed on the pricier side compared to the other things for sale at this market, but I think it might have been the season. On a side note, the woman selling them was rather cold and a bit rude, maybe she had a bad day because everyone else was really friendly.IMG_0383Yay we made it to the end of the market! (And found this sculpture of frites. Yum!)

After visiting the market, we decided to do some wandering around the city and eventually made it over to the notorious red light district. I loved how walkable Amsterdam was making it easy to view the city and mix of architecture at our leisure. We ended up in a touristy part of town near a canal and I got to snap a photo of the iconic red doors on the windows that seem to be sprinkled all over the city.IMG_0388

On our way towards the red light district we walked through a really cute part of town that was quite peaceful.IMG_0389One of he many bridges around town.IMG_0392A cute street on the other side of the bridge. One thing that I loved about the city was how festive it looked with all of the different holiday lights!IMG_0393A cafe near the bridge.IMG_0403Look, yet another bridge because there weren’t enough of these here. But it’s no ordinary bridge, it’s decorated with love locks! IMG_0405View from the foot bridge. It’s so quaint and picturesque.

Following our walk, we made our way over to the red light district which was a contrast to the atmosphere of the quiet neighborhood as you’d expect. It was quite a scene over in that part of town. According to a gentleman that had given us directions of how to get there, a bunch of drunk guys had gotten a bit out of control while watching the football game at a local pub, so extra police had been called in for reinforcement. As always in popular areas, you have to keep your belongings tight to you because pick-pockets are ravenous for unsuspecting tourists carrying their valuables in easy access places. Walking into the red light district was quite the experience to say the least. We were greeted by a large crowd of guys cheering for their mate who had just exited one of the brothels. It was a little bizarre being one of the few women walking through the area and I almost felt as though I had traveled back to a different time. I mean it’s not everyday that you witness an area with legal prostitution. For obvious reasons, you weren’t allowed to take pictures in the area as far as I know, but basically the streets were lined with windows that women could stand in and showcase their bodies at passers-by. This experience walking through this part of town made me think a lot about the idea of legal prostitution and whether it is a negative or positive thing. One of the reasons that it became legalized in the first place was to try to regulate it better and prevent sex trafficking, but at the same time putting the female workers in windows puts a new spin on the objectification of women. It definitely is a complex and controversial subject to tackle, and visiting the red light district made me interested in learning a bit more about its history because I don’t know enough about the topic to form an educated opinion. There is actually a documentary about twins that worked as prostitutes in the red light district for several years titled Meet the Fokkens, which I think would be really interesting to watch to get the perspective from women who have lived their lives in this profession. Well, that concludes day three in Amsterdam. The last installment of my Amsterdam adventures should be posted soon!

Until next time,

Lainey xoxo

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