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This will be our last post on Amsterdam.  I am in our Paris apartment as I write this. Since Amsterdam, we’ve stayed in Chartres, France; visited Oradour-sur-Glane, the World War II martyr village; stayed in Sarlat in the Dordogne region of southwest France; and stayed in the Mediterranean resort of Cap D’Agde. Photos of those adventures to come, of course.

The beauty of Amsterdam

A canal scene, with mansions, near the Rijksmuseum.

A canal scene, with mansions, near the Rijksmuseum.

Canal bridges.

Canal bridges.

Birds in flight over a canal.

Birds in flight over a canal.

Lovely light.

Lovely light.

A Venice-like canal scene, in De Wallen, the red light district.

A Venice-like canal scene, in De Wallen, the red light district.

Other Amsterdam impressions

A rare sight. Most canal houses remain of traditional, not modern, design.

A rare sight. Most canal houses remain of traditional, not modern, design.

These sculptures decorate the entrance to a multi-level shopping mall.

These sculptures decorate the entrance to a multi-level shopping mall.

A giant chess board in a public square.

A giant chess board in a public square.

A traditional herring stand in front of an elaborately-decorated building. I meant to try the herring, Amsterdam style (slide it down the throat) but I never got around to it.

A traditional herring stand in front of an elaborately-decorated building. I meant to try the herring, Amsterdam style (slide it down the throat) but I never got around to it.

The boats

A luxury barge.

A luxury barge.

A boat named Amsterdam.

A boat named Amsterdam.

Find the real cat!

Find the real cat!

A sleek black boat.

A sleek black boat.

A decaying boat.

A decaying boat.

De Wallen, the Red Light District

De Wallen by night.

De Wallen by night.

Photos of the ladies in the windows are very strongly discouraged. I got this one surreptitiously, using a very long lens.

Photos of the ladies in the windows are very strongly discouraged, but I could not resist getting one shot. I took it surreptitiously, using a very long lens.

Lots of sex shops use the girl-in-window motif to display their products.

Lots of sex shops use the girl-in-window motif to display their products.

Two ladies window shop at De Wallen's Condomerie.

Two ladies window shop at De Wallen’s Condomerie.

Visitors assume everything in De Wallen is about sex. This shop sells regular record albums, CDs, and tapes. They found it necessary to put a "No Sex" sign over the door.

Visitors assume everything in De Wallen is about sex. This shop sells regular record albums, CDs, and tapes. They found it necessary to put a “No Sex” sign over the door.

The Oude Kerk

The Oude Kerk (Old Church) is ironically located in De Wallen, the red light district.

The Oude Kerk (Old Church) is ironically located in De Wallen, the Red Light District.

The Oude Kerk is rich with history and beauty.

The Oude Kerk is rich with history and beauty.

Stained glass windows in the Oude Kerk.

Stained glass windows in the Oude Kerk.

In another bit of irony, "XXX" is an old and official symbol representing Amsterdam.  It is eerywhere, even on city vehicles and manhole covers.

In another bit of irony, “XXX” is at the center of the Amsterdam coat of arms, created in 1419. The symbol is everywhere, even on city vehicles and manhole covers.

These reserved seats are each uniquely identified by the ladies who attended services in the church's ladies' chapel.

These reserved seats are each uniquely identified for the ladies who attended services in the church’s ladies’ chapel.

The carvings are on the bottom of the fold-down seats.

The carvings are on the bottom of the fold-down seats.

The symbolism of many of the carvings is enigmatic to modern eyes.

The symbolism of many of the carvings is enigmatic to modern eyes.

The Oude Kerk currently houses a modern art exhibit. Note the floor tiles -each marks the grave of a prominent parishioner.

The Oude Kerk was hosting a modern art exhibit. Note the floor tiles — each marks the grave of a prominent parishioner.

Self-portrait in one of the modern sculptures.

Self-portrait in one of the modern sculptures.

Open Mics

I had the pleasure of performing at a handful of open mics in Amsterdam.

Charlie performing at his first Amsterdam open mic.

Charlie performing at his first Amsterdam open mic. Photo by Max V.

My new friend Max, a major force in local music in Amsterdam. Max manages the Amsterdam Songwriters Guild open mics at the famous Backstage Hotel.

My new friend Max, a major force in local music in Amsterdam. Max manages the Amsterdam Songwriters Guild open mics at the famous Backstage Hotel.

At another open mic.

At another open mic.

My new friend Dzuana, who organizes the Amsterdam Songwriter's Circle open mics at Maloe Melo cafe.

My new friend Dzuana, who organizes the Amsterdam Songwriter’s Circle open mics at Maloe Melo cafe.

Talking to my new friend  and fellow musician Stewart, otherwise known as Writersday.

Talking to my new friend and fellow musician Stewart, otherwise known as Writersday.

Farewell Amsterdam!

A few pics of us in Amsterdam.

Sarah at a sidewalk cafe.

Sarah at a sidewalk cafe.

Charlie at a brown cafe, so called because of the walls covered by years of tobacco staining. No smoking inside anymore.

Charlie at a brown cafe, so called because of the walls covered by years of tobacco staining. No smoking inside anymore.

Sarah with our lovely Amsterdam host, Amrita.

Sarah with our lovely Amsterdam host, Amrita.

Charlie and Sarah at a brown cafe.

Charlie and Sarah at a brown cafe.

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